What Buyers Can Expect
Part of having a good experience is knowing what to expect. The following guidelines represent what is typical, but make sure to read the policies posted on a seller's page and to ask about anything unclear because each seller's policies can vary.
We recommend first reading Inquiry Best Practices. This article picks up where that one left off.
- 90% of inquiries receive a response in 24 hours. However, some sellers are occasionally unresponsive which is why we recommend inquiring to a couple of sellers at once.
- If you don't hear back in a day or two, check your messages on our site in case the notification got blocked by your spam filter.
- Some sellers will provide more detailed answers to your questions than others. We recommend that you evaluate their response based its completeness and timeliness rather than its length. However, if this is an important consideration to you then feel free to find another seller whose service better fits your values.
- You should expect that the item is available if it's still listed. However, in practice there is sometimes lag time between when an item is sold and it's de-listed. If you hear back that it's sold, consider it an opportunity to buy instead from a different seller who is more carefully maintaining their inventory.
Price and Negotiation
- Sellers want to be competitive, and it is reasonable to inform them if there is a similar item which is significantly lower in price. However, please do so without the expectation that they will price match. There are many factors built into price such as quality, customer service and brand name. A smaller breeder may not be able to match the rock bottom price of a larger company, but that does not mean their price is unwarranted.
- Many sellers are not interested in trades. This can be indicated in their store policies.
- See Inquiry Best Practices for more tips on making an offer.
- Most sellers will not hold an animal until they have received payment or at least received a non-refundable deposit. This means it's possible that the animal you inquire about could get sold while you are exchanging messages with them. While this feels unfair, please understand that inquiries can last multiple days and often do not lead to a sale. For this reason, it's impractical for them to hold an animal anytime someone asks about it.
- Sellers will accept certain kinds of payment and not others. They may request payment with PayPal Friends & Family. It does not mean they are going to rip you off, but it does limit your options for recourse so use judiciously. The best protection is by buying from sellers of known reputation.
- Payment Plans typically work like a layaway. The buyer makes an initial deposit and pays the balance within an agreed upon amount of time. The animal is not shipped until payment is received in full. This benefits the buyer in having the animal held for them. A non-refundable deposit is non-refundable, meaning that it will be forfeited if the balance is not paid in full by the deadline.
- Sellers are less likely to provide a discount if you are asking for a payment plan, since they are already providing an additional service free of charge.
- Shipping is unavoidably expensive because overnight delivery is required to ensure the well-being of the animal. Rates on overnight shipping for baby ball pythons are typically $50-$70 for domestic shipments depending on the distance. Some sellers have better rates due to shipping a larger volume of animals. Smaller sellers don't have this ability.
- Some sellers provide flat shipping rates for the entire continental US. Others may include this amount in their price and call it free shipping. This is nice because it saves a step of having them compute shipping costs for you.
- You will need to arrange a time with the seller when you can be present to receive the animal. This will usually be in the morning between 10 and 12am.
- Some sellers will ship to hubs instead in order to keep the package in a climate controlled facility. This is something to discuss with the seller before purchasing. Their policies may not allow otherwise.
- Overnight shipments are typically sent only on Monday-Thursday so that they can be received in one business day.
- Learn more in our article on How to Ship Live Reptiles.
- Cold or hot weather can definitely affect shipping, but exact policies will vary between sellers. If you are in a rush and it's in an extreme season of the year, make sure to ask about expected shipping times before purchasing.
- Our shipping guide has more information about shipping best practices. Remember that both you and the seller are motivated to get the animal to you, but it is their responsibility to see that it arrives safely.
- Just because one seller is willing to ship during low temperatures does not mean it is advisable or that other sellers should do the same. The weather must be acceptable at both destinations and at hubs in between.
- Make sure that you have read all policies which are listed on their store page. By purchasing from the seller, you are agreeing to these terms. You should ask about policies and guarantees which are not described.
- Most breeders will only guarantee a live arrival and after that the animal's health is up to you. Understand that they have no control over the environment your providing. Some may guarantee health for a week or more.
- Things can go awry. Sometimes this is the fault of the other party and sometimes it's not. In any case, if problems arise, it's in your best interests not to become abusive and rude. Give them a chance to make things right. If there's a disagreement about how things should be handled, be clear and firm but being rude only increases the chances that they will dig into their position.
- After making a purchase, you can leave a Rating to share your experience with the Reptile community. If you don't receive a message with a link, visit your messages page, find the inquiry, click the reply button, and then click 'Rate This'.
- Your new baby has arrived, but it has undergone a very stressful journey and adding to that is a new environment which is quite unlike the one it was used to. If you've given it an ideal habitat, it will still take at least a few days for it to relax.
- Animals that are stressed will often not eat. This is one of the few signals it can give you about its environment.
- Handling your animal at this time will only add to its stress. As difficult as it may sound, we recommend that you avoid handling until it is feeding normally.
- Contrary to what most people think, a glass terrarium is often not the best habitat for your reptile, at least initially. Opaque walls and smaller spaces can help them feel more hidden and safer.
- Check our Resources page for husbandry articles. You can also ask your seller for their recommendations.
- Expect that you will need a source of prey. For Ball Pythons this is likely a rat or mouse. It's easiest to feed them what they are accustomed to, but they may be converted from live to frozen. Live means a trip to the store weekly, but frozen means you can order in bulk and keep in your freezer.
- Remember that this is a live animal that will continue to need ongoing care, even if you have lost interest in it.
Ordering a live animal online is a more complex process than going down the street to the pet store, but the rewards are numerous. Animals sold by pet store chains are often poorly cared for, come in less variety, are overpriced, and are sold by less knowledgeable individuals. MorphMarket provides you with the ultimate network of exotic reptile breeders across the world, ranging from serious hobbyists to full time professionals.