Inquiry Best PracticesHow to Buy.
- Complete your User Profile. This provides benefits including faster responses since the sellers will already have your zipcode in order to compute shipping costs.
- There's nothing wrong with window shopping, but try to secure funds and approval from wife, mom, husband, etc., before making an offer. Sellers expect that if they accept your offer, you will be ready to purchase.
- The other reason to be prepared to act is that most sellers will not hold an animal until they have received payment or at least received a non-refundable deposit.
- Read the entire ad and inquiry page as well as the store's policies at the bottom of the ad. Here you will find many of your questions already answered on topics including shipping costs, negotiable prices, trades, payment plans, refund policies, and other guarantees.
- Do your research on the seller. Sellers vary significantly in their quality of customer service and policies. We have published detailed recommendations on how to go about this.
- It's a good idea to send inquiries to a few vendors at a time in your selection process. On the other hand, please don't send 20 inquiries in one sitting if you're looking to buy 1 animal.
- Send an inquiry that communicates genuine interest in this animal. If it looks like your message has been copy/pasted to 20 breeders in one sitting, they're likely to respond with minimal effort.
- If you have filled out your User Profile with zipcode, the seller will have the information they need to compute shipping costs. Otherwise you'll need to include your zipcode.
- Assume that the animal is available and ask your next question such as, "How can I purchase this animal?"
- If you require a payment plan, make sure to ask about this in your first message.
- If the seller's ad doesn't say "No Offers", feel free to make one. However, offers considerably lower than the asking price may not receive a response even if "that's all that you have".
- What constitutes a low offer depends on the seller and the item, but many sellers will not consider offers for less than 25% off the asking price for a single item, including any shipping discounts.
- For example, asking for 15% off plus free shipping on a $200 item that is $50 to ship, is like asking for $80 off $200 which is a 40% discount. For this reason it's simpler to ask for only a discount or for free shipping, rather than both.
- A good way to achieve larger discounts is by purchasing multiple items from the same seller at once. This may reduce shipping costs as well.
- Feel free to mention if you're a first time owner. Some sellers might shy away from it, but it will reveal who is more likely to support you in your first time experience.
- If something seems wrong about the ad, definitely ask. While listing errors are rare, they sometimes happen and can be inconvenient to address after an animal is shipped. For example, if the ad is tagged with a trait that the photo doesn't support and the ad title or description doesn't mention, you should confirm.
- Asking for an updated photo is reasonable, however some legitimate sellers may not accommodate. At that point it's up to you in whether their reputation is strong enough to cover your concerns.
- Even if you choose not to move forward with a seller, it's courteous to reply once with a quick note such as "Thank you, I'll let you know if I decide to move forward." This at least lets the seller know their response was received.
- If you don't hear back in a day or two, you should check your messages on our site in case the notification got blocked by your spam filter.
Continue reading in our follow-up article on What Buyers Can Expect.