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General Business Discussions This is a general purpose forum open to business related topics concerning Reptiles and Amphibians that are neither appropriate for the Board of Inquiry, nor sales, purchase, or trade solicitations.

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Old 07-22-2007, 03:52 PM   #1
Bad Customer Service?

I was recently the victim of what I consider to be bad customer service. I would like opinions on the situation, please. I will leave names and specifics out...Here's the situation:

I email a breeder with the intention of being put on a wait list for a pair of snakes that have been advertised on his site for over six months. He tells me they may be spoken for, but I can put down a deposit in case a pair becomes available. Great, I email and say what percent deposit and how would he like to be paid. In the next email he says, "I've been meaning to update the prices on the expected offspring page. I put 2007 prices on the site in late 2006, and I meant to change the [names ommitted] to $3000/pair. I know that's a bit of a jump, so I understand if this changes your mind on wanting to put down a deposit. If you want to go ahead and reserve a pair..." Well, the price increase was 50% (from 2k to 3k).

I now this person has every right to ask what he wants and when he wants, but is this good business practice? I strongly believe it is not. I could never do that to my customers. I believe that the current advertised price should be honored, especially when you've already agreed to make a deposit and said price. What do you guys think?
Old 07-22-2007, 04:14 PM   #2
Clay Davenport
I don't consider this to be bad customer service, mainly because until money has been paid you are not a customer.
I personally do not advertise animals until they have hatched and are ready to be sold. What it appears to me that happened is that he advertised a price that he predicted the market would dictate, but he was wrong and chose to change his prices according to the actual market value. Granted he should have updated his price list accordingly but since you had not committed to the deal by actually making the deposit, he was still within his rights to change the price.

Aside from that though, I can't see putting down any deposit unless the snakes are available. The fact he will accept a deposit on snakes that may be spoken for bothers me more than the changing the price, and I can't understand why you as a buyer would be willing to send money for a deposit on snakes that might already be sold to someone else.
Old 07-22-2007, 04:59 PM   #3

Thanks for the response. I disagree with your position though. As I stated in my first post, I understand he has a right to change his price. That isn't the issue. Maybe I have a higher expectation of customer service. It is just good business practice to honor an advertised price. I had already agreed to give him a deposit on the advertised price. To say, oh BTW, I want 50% more is not a way to treat a potential customer. If the price had already changed on his website and I complained that it was cheaper earlier in the year and wanted the previous price, then the situation would be entirely different. Think about if that happened in a retail store. It's as if I went to the cashier at a store and they said, "Sorry, but that item has now been marked up by 50%. We just haven't gotten around to changing the price tag." That wouldn't fly at a reputable retail business. This is more than about what a person can charge. It's more about the timing and treatment of your customers, potential or otherwise.

Another example: I go to a booth at a show and say I want that snake that you have marked for $200. The dealer then says, "Oh that one. Well I just saw someone sell the same snake for $300, so now that's what I want." Yah he can do that, but come on. That's just greedy and NOT good customer service. The proper thing to do would sell that snake for $200 and then remark the others for the higher price, if that's what he wants to do.

As far as the deposit on a possibly unavailable snake, well, sometimes you have to do that in order to reserve a rare snake to put yourself at the front of the line. He is unsure as to the availability, because one female has not laid yet...
Old 07-22-2007, 05:06 PM   #4
Miss Tuniwha
I agree. Although it is their personal choice to change the price at will, and sell for what they want to sell for, I dont think it is fair to wait till someone shows interested and go.. Ohh.. I bet I can get more for it.

I would be frustrated also. But unfortunately tis the way it seems to go these days. *sigh*
Old 07-22-2007, 05:24 PM   #5
IMO, if he was going to increase the price, you should have been made aware at first contact...not after you agree to send a deposit (at his request). It almost sounds as if production wasn't meeting demand.

Another thought: advertising 6 months in advance? I know you said it was his site, but still.
Old 07-23-2007, 08:16 AM   #6
Clay Davenport
My opinion is somewhat biased because I can relate to trying to keep an updated website along with maintaining a collection and the other day to day time requirements everyone has.
I'm as guilty as they come for not updating in a timely manner, especially the for sale section of the website. But this is why I wouldn't advertise anything in advance. I'm usually guilty of the opposite, not getting them advertised for weeks after they are ready for sale.

I do agree with Harald, he should have made mention of the intended price differential at the first contact. However, this is a no harm situation. While his actions have left a bad taste in your mouth for him as a seller, you weren't financially harmed in any way.
I understand your frustration, and would feel the same way if I were in that position, but I'd accept it and move on.

As for my statement on putting a deposit on potentially unavailable animals, the way I read your original post I was under the impression that this was not a potential clutch, but a pair of animals he had for sale that someone else has possibly spoken for.
Old 07-23-2007, 08:34 AM   #7
I'm the same way, Clay. I started revisions to my site months ago - did the bulk of it in one night, and haven't touched it since. I have decided to make a number of animals available, but haven't listed most of them on my site. And available babies? LOL, I'm lucky if I get them added to my site before they are 4 months old, let alone advertising in advance. Then again, I don't produce huge quantities of animals, and know my luck better than to count on anything before I see it sitting there. Advance orders and deposits on anticipated animals are a fact of life for some people.
I think that the situation was likely a supply vs demand issue, or a matter of misjudging the market (which may or may not be the same thing). I also understand your frustration/resentment at not getting the advertised pricing...but as Clay mentioned, you are none the worse for the experience. Instead of putting a deposit on a possibility, you can continue your search.
Best of luck
Old 07-23-2007, 08:42 AM   #8
Originally Posted by Clay Davenport
As for my statement on putting a deposit on potentially unavailable animals, the way I read your original post I was under the impression that this was not a potential clutch, but a pair of animals he had for sale that someone else has possibly spoken for.
here is the initial statement:
I email a breeder with the intention of being put on a wait list for a pair of snakes that have been advertised on his site for over six months. He tells me they may be spoken for, but I can put down a deposit in case a pair becomes available.
My guess is that they were advertised as anticipated offspring, were produced, but possibly purchased (possibly not hatched yet but with tentative deposits - ie the waiting list you were initially anticipating), and you were given the option of placing a deposit in the hope that enough would be produced or otherwise acquired. Is that close to the situation?
Old 07-23-2007, 09:03 AM   #9
IMO what the breeder did was wrong.

A website is IMO a breeders price tag. There is no other way for them to advertise their price to most the general public. The only other way to find out how much something they are offering is for the breeder to put (Call for current prices). When ever I read CFCP I go to the next breeder. Of course a breeder can put (Estimated) but that doesn't sit right with me either.

It's not your fault, he should of told you from the start, I believe all my snakes are spoken for but if I have any extras or whatever you will be next in line. (This is where he or she adds the prices have changed) If not he or she needs to honor the prices he is offering on his website. It's not your fault he or she is lazy. I don't care how busy a breeder is, this is his or her business and you should always find that extra 5 minutes to change your website to the correct pricing.

I've gone to LOWES, BEST BUY and a few other places where they didn't have the correct prices listed and without argument I pointed it out and they honored the advertised price. (Of course they took the 2 minutes and changed the price like this breeder should do)

Nothing can be done IMO to force him to honor his prices he had listed but I would stay away. I just expect people to do the right thing as I would do and do. I don't rip people off, I stand behind my business deals and I try to make sure all my transactions go smoothly with great communication. If I am wrong I admit it and do the right thing. I ask the same from the person I am doing business with.

Do the right thing and people will come back to see you. Give them the thought you are shady and they wont. Always do the right thing! The breeder should honor the prices he has posted and change it after you if he wants.

I went to the gas station the other day, they were changing the board (Raising the price) but still honored the cheaper price till they were done changing the board. (I got gas just in time) The breeder should honor his posted prices!

Now if he doesn't have any snakes then... If he does and says he doesn't just so he doesn't have to honor his prices is just wrong but you probably can't prove it but in that case stay away!
Old 07-23-2007, 10:44 PM   #10
Thanks for all the replies! I think this is a good topic for discussion because, just as Miss Tuniwha eluded to, good customer service is hard to come by these days.
I do have an update on the situation...After I contacted him through email and expressed my displeasure with what he had done and that I was going to buy elsewhere, he apologized and felt embarassed about it. He gave me an explanation of why he did that, which I told him I understood, but agreed that the manner and timing were inappropriate. He's offered to honor the original price and offered to cover the shipping. I believe he was sincere and I have decided to go ahead with the transaction.
I believe it shows a lot for someone to admit an error and apologize for it. I believe he did the right thing. The particular snakes he is offering are very rare, and he would have had no problem selling them to somebody else for the higher price. He obviously understood that there was more to this situation than the price of the snakes. Now let's just hope he doesn't pull a fast one and sell to someone else at the higher price and tell me he didn't have any become available...

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