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5 Sketchy Things I Did While Selling Exotic Reptiles


– I've been selling reptiles online
(tranquil ambient music) for a solid few years now and shipping them off to people
all over the United States. And looking back, there's the occasional
thing where I'm like, yeah, that was kind of sketchy. So I thought today, for some reason, it'll be a good idea to
share the five top things that I thought of when it comes to, yeah, some secrets I've done
about selling reptiles. Now just how sketchy or bad are they? Well, you can be the judge.

I don't think they're horrible but I'm sure the comment
section will fill me in if I am misguided. The first one, in my
notes, I said, loopholes, I feel like the word
loophole is a bit strong. I'm gonna, hold on,
synonyms for loopholes. There were some
discrepancies that I dodged? No, that's even worse. Means of evasion. Okay, these are all too, you know, I'm just gonna
say the word loophole.

I don't think it's really loophole, but we worked our way around some things so that we could still
work with and sell reptiles that were actually
illegal to own and sell. In the United States, the states while they are united, kind of, they each have their own laws. For example, in Georgia,
corn snakes are illegal. It's very random. It's just, if you're in Georgia, you can't own a corn snake. Yeah, whatever. So the easiest example to describe to you would be diamondback terrapins,
which are illegal to possess or own in the state of North
Carolina without a permit. But we were still able to help people out when they would say, hey, I've
got a diamondback terrapin, can you please take it in for me? 'Cause I can't keep it anymore.

We could still make it work, you pay us thew rehoming
fee and we'll take it. But when I say we, that
includes our partners because instead of shipping
it to us in North Carolina, they would ship it to
someone else on our behalf that lives in another state where selling Diamondback
terrapins was illegal but owning them was not. The Diamondback Terrapin never entered the state in North Carolina, and never even got
close to North Carolina, it got from one state
where it was illegal to own to another state where
it was legal to own, we can list it on our site as usual, that person's caring for it
and doing everything we need. And then once we find a new owner for it, that person would ship it to
the new owner on our behalf. And we would occasionally
compensate these people for helping us out with various things.

So it was kind of a
win, win, win situation. The person that couldn't keep
the animal was helped out, the animal got to a great home and someone that wanted
a diamondback terrapin and could own it legally got to own their diamondback terrapin. And we were able to do it all from the state where
it was illegal to own but I never even saw the turtle. So I don't think that's too bad. What do you think? Is not even that sketchy. Number two, on the site, it clearly says, we do not
accept returns of reptiles. If you buy a reptile, it's all on you. We're not taking it back. In reality, we actually
did accept returns, okay. Now most reptiles sites, if you look, they're gonna say no returns, you can't send the animal back. If you pay for it and we send
it to you, it's all yours. It's all your problem,
we're not doing nothing, but we still help out people that bought animals from
us four plus years ago.

We're still there for them,
we still answer questions. And if they want to return it, we actually do accept the returns, okay. Another reason we say
we don't accept returns is 'cause we need buyers to
be like, I am keeping this, this is my problem. It's my responsibility,
there's no 30 day return period where I can keep it for 29 days and then ship it back and
then get a refund or whatever, because we need people that are certain they're gonna do what they can. However people still mess up and they actually can't keep it. Now, some people accept returns. I think that's kind of crazy. If you think of an Amazon, like I love Amazon's return system. I use it occasionally, but if you return something to Amazon, it's probably just gonna get thrown away. We can't throw away live animals. So if it gets sent back to us, we have to deal with
whatever that owner did, if they say did a poor job or something or so thing went bad,
that's our problem now, and then we have to send
it out to a new person, then maybe that person returns it.

And then we're, we don't wanna
ship animals too many times. Like even though I believe
shipping reptiles is okay, I don't wanna have to ship 'em six times 'cause people keep returning the animals. However, if someone contacts
us and they explain, I need to return it. I just lost my job, I
can no longer afford it. I don't have time. And I don't always agree
with their reasons, sometimes they're like, I
don't like its attitude, I don't like its personality. If someone clearly has an
animal that in their ownership where they're unhappy with it that's not gonna be good for the animal, and one of the promises
that we want to uphold to the people that send us
animals and we're rehoming for, is that we're gonna get
them into a good home. So even if that home seemed good, if it turns out it's not good, we'll do what we can to get it back.

Most of the time we get
them to pay for the shipping and they do not get a refund. So even though it's a return, well, if you bought a
$200 snake, $50 shipping, you're gonna ultimately pay $300 for not owning the snake
'cause you bought it paid for shipping and then
paid for shipping back. Now there's been, I think a couple times where we cover the shipping, but we did not give them a refund. It is what it is. We don't have a return policy,
but we have accepted returns. Now it's not even too many times, at most maybe like 10
animals have been returned. Some in person, where we
actually able to meet them and take it back, others were online and
they got shipped back.

But ultimately selling 500 animals, I'd say that's pretty good, if
we did have a return policy, I'm guessing it would've
been, I don't know, five, maybe even 10% 'cause like, well, it's a risk free guarantee. If I don't like the
animal, I can return it. And then there's people impulse buy more and buying animals they're unsure about. So I am going to support
this, I will die on this hill, we should not have a return policy, but we should still take the returns. And I think most people would
probably agree with that. Number three. In multiple terms, and
what I'm about to say is going to instantaneously sound sketchy and that's because we
would do inhouse financing, which you know, that
can be a little scammy, a little suspicious sometimes.

And maybe you're buying a car and it's a little bit of a weird place and they want you to
finance it through them, but you can't find the APR on the page. It can be iffy. And we did have legally binding contracts where if you were like,
I want this $500 animal, I don't wanna pay 500 up front. We'd be like, cool, no problem. Pay us 125 a month for four months. And what was, I can't remember what, we actually did charge
them like an interest. I think it was like, it was kind of crazy, it was like 10% interest or something. So over the next few months,
you're gonna pay us 550, it says it in this contract, we would write up contracts
using free templates and we'd send them off
and they sent them back and they were in fact signed contracts.

But here's the thing, it was very sketchy, not for the buyer, but for us 'cause how it worked is
you pay the first month and we go ahead and ship you the animal, you have the animal, we
don't have your money. We're just hoping that you send the money. If you didn't send us the money, we wouldn't have done anything honestly. You just got like a free animal. Ultimately, yes, could we
have gone to small claims? Yes, could we have won? I think we would of, but are we really gonna go
through the effort of going, let's say the person's
in California wearing NC, we have to sue them over the $350 animal. We're just not going to, it's just not worth
the time or the effort. And we were just taking a risk every single time we did this financing. It's not like PayPal financing where they will actually get their money no matter what it takes, we
wouldn't have done anything.

So if you financed with us, you
could have actually not paid and we wouldn't sold you in the future, but we weren't gonna go after you. We were completely bluffing if we said that you're gonna go to court because you're not paying for your animal. Now we did have many people pay late, sometimes people were a day late, sometimes people were
three to four weeks late but ultimately everyone that we financed paid their full balances, except for one person
who I still remember. And I think they did a typo
because they still owe me $1. I thought about if I should
contact them for that dollar, but I decided, you know what, I'm going to do the gracious deed of covering that $1 for you and not taking you to court over $1. I wouldn't do this
again, but it worked out and everyone paid and I
appreciate your honesty and we did not have mal intent with it, it was honestly just to
make it easier for you and to make sales more
efficient and more quick. And it was cool because
all the buyers were good, we had good intentions and it worked out, they got their animal
for the promised amount, and they paid it and we were all happy.

So it worked for me. I probably won't do it again though. Number four. Each animal on our malt scale
has its own unique description to perfectly describe that animal. But I've sold over a 100 ball pythons, I've sold over a 100 leopard gecko, I've sold over 50 cresty geckos. And even though each
reptile is very individual and has its own personality, if I get a ball python today, it's pretty much guaranteed
to have the personality of one of the other a 100 ball pythons I've sold in the past couple years. Sometimes I reuse this
descriptions of animals and I just scroll through and
find a similar ball python and I copy it and I paste
it into the new one, but it's accurate. It's a sweet, charismatic leopard gecko that likes being handled
and has a great temperament and eats well and likes dubia roaches. And it's all accurate with
the new leopard gecko, why not just take that old
description and use it again? If it's gonna be the exact same, why waste the time to type
it with different wording? If I was feeling a little frisky, sometimes I'd use some
different additives, instead of sweet, the gecko was nice, and instead of grumpy, the
ball python was defensive you know, and make them all a bit unique, but ultimately yes, sometimes I did copy
and paste descriptions.

So if you go through all
the animals that we've sold, you'll probably find some
matching descriptions and somehow nobody's ever noticed this but maybe it's 'cause
they actually don't care. 'cause ultimately each animal I sold, the personality was
accurate to the description. So I always made sure they were right, but some of 'em were the exact same, I'm just gonna be honest, okay. And number or five. While I considered it in the past, we ultimately do not let
people repurchase animals that they send to us.

And people have mixed emotions about this when I mention this, because let's say you send an animal to us and then a month later
you're like, you know what? That was a mistake, I
want the animal back. One person did this and they
actually had a good enclosure. They actually, if they
were a different person, they would have been approved, but ultimately after deliberation, we decided not to send
people back their animals. And after this first one,
it just became the policy, if you send us an animal, there's no chance of you getting them back because even though if
the enclosure was good and the setup was good,
some of these people were just really bad at
caring for the animal where if it clearly came in underweight or overweight or had a respiratory
infection or had mites, we can't really trust them
with this animal again.

Our promise to the person rehoming is we're gonna get it to a home
that's good for the animal. And if that person wasn't
good for the animal, it's not gonna go back to that person. Also, a lot of these people
are simply too neurotic to be comfortable. Like say they were rehoming the animal, I'm like, I'm gonna rehome,
actually I'm not gonna re, actually I need to get
rid of it, actually, ah, I think I'm gonna keep it. I don't have time for it. No, I think I can make
time, I don't have money, I think I can make more money. And then they're finally
like, you know what? I'm gonna send it, they send it and then
they do the same thing. Ah, I don't wanna send it, I want it back. Well, no, you're just gonna send it back to us a month later, it's
kind of obvious that you're, if you're that on the fence about it, it's just best for everyone's
sake, just don't, it's here.

It's gonna stay here until
we find it a new owner. And that's just how it's been since, ultimately even less people have tried to rebuy their own animal compared to people that have
tried to return animals. So say we had less than 10 returns, we had, I think less than
five people try to repurchase. It was like three, maybe four, like between three and six people. So at the grand scheme of things, it was a very small group of people but it was still very stressful and something that really
took a lot of thought to make sure we were
making the right decision. But that, what was that number? That was indeed number five. So yeah, quick rundown, if an animal, if we couldn't keep it
legally that wouldn't stop us from making sure we could still
legally work with the animal and get into a good home. Even though our policy
said absolutely no returns, and we still accept returns, it's kind of just what we gotta do. If you don't wanna pay for a
very expensive animal upfront, even though we don't do it now,
we used to let you finance.

And actually now, Wix, which is the site I used
to like sell animals, they actually do have PayPal
financing, so you can do that. It's not me. I get paid upfront. PayPal sends me the full amount and it's between you and
PayPal if you stop paying. So don't think that you
can do the financing now, it does not pay, 'cause
it's not me, it's PayPal and PayPal will probably come after you. But I think their APR is zero
and we actually charged you. So there's that. Animals, they're unique, but yes, sometimes I'd
reuse the descriptions and information for the same, it was always updated
pictures, I'll give you that. Anytime, even if I reused the
listing and the description, I would take new pictures
of the new animal to make sure you get the
one that you're looking at. And yeah, if you send us an
animal, you can't take it back. And sometimes people try to work their way around to get past, if we've declined them in the past, they really want that animal, they try to buy it under a different name.

Well guess what? Your name isn't the only
way we know who you are. You have a digital
fingerprint, your credit card, and your debit card have
digital fingerprints, they're linked. If you use a credit card under your name, we still know who you are, okay. We can't see your full number but we can acquire enough information to know that you're trying
to buy an animal again and trying to be someone else. So yeah, it doesn't work. You can't do that. But that's that, what do you think? Were they not that bad? Should I have not done some of these? Looking back, I would just
not even bother with animals I can't keep legally, just,
there's enough other animals. I'm not even touching that again. Not doing in house financing. I will still accept returns if I have to. I'll still use descriptions
and I still will continue to not let people rebuy their animals. So ultimately, that's
my thoughts on it now but I'm curious to hear yours.

And I'm curious if you want a
plushy before they sell out. As of recording this, there are 30, I think 29 left and then they're gone. I'm keeping a fee for
myself, but that'll be it. And it'll be a little while
before there's more plushies because they take a long time to make. But thanks so much to
everyone that bought one and there's a couple animals
on our malt scales right now if you wanna check 'em out. But that'll be it for this video. (upbeat ambient music)
I'm Alex and thanks for watching..

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