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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 10-31-2016, 01:33 PM   #1
Need advice on dead snake situation

Hey guys,

I wasn't sure where to put this, as I'm not quite ready to start a Bad Guy thread...I'm still hoping for an amicable outcome.

I had inquired about some Aspidelaps lubricus cowlesi babies that a friend of mine had for sale. I decided to buy a female and my business partner would buy a male. I paid for mine upfront via Paypal, and chose my animal. I had some concerns about switching from live food to frozen/thawed, but the seller assured me my snake was eating well and I didn't mind feeding her live at first. When I picked her up at the show, he told me she'd converted to frozen/thawed.
Both she and the male were in shed. I took them home, along with several other purchases my partner and I had made, and set them up in our facility, isolated so as not to establish quarantine. Both shed in a few days and were offered food. The male ate but the female refused. I tried live and she refused that too. I informed the seller and we discussed her setup and he didn't think I had to worry. He said it could be an environmental clue with winter approaching. I kept him informed, and I found the female dead last night.

I informed the seller, and was immediately hit with him questioning every aspect of my husbandry and knowledge. He claimed that since we'd bought six snakes that day, I likely "upset the balance in the room like putting too many fish in an aquarium causes ammonia buildup." Then he decided it must have been mites. I do not have mites in my collection and the snake in question had been examined. The only way she'd have mites was if they came from him, but he said "my snakes are all guaranteed 100% mite and disease-free." So nice try there. We talked on the phone and he said there were too many red flags that he had noticed and that a mutual friend had pointed out to him, so he didn't feel he's at all responsible. He told me he has photos and videos of her eating, so something must have happened to her since she left his care, and IF he decides to offer any sort of partial refund it'll be out of the goodness of his heart as a favor to a good friend and not because he feels at all responsible. The other two snakes received from him are doing fine and eating happily and were kept in identical conditions.

I'm in a tough spot here. I had considered this person a friend. I do not think he gave me a snake he knew was ill or not healthy. It was two months old, and sometimes neonates crash or fail to thrive. I feel that since I discussed her care and setup with him, set the animal up as advised, and informed him of her refusal to eat from the first attempt, it is not completely my fault. I've been keeping snakes for a decade at this point, venomous for 5 or 6, and lizards and other reptiles all of my life. I'm not a newbie, and I did not appreciate being spoken to as though I know nothing.

I also understand that it's been 2 weeks, and that anything can happen in two weeks. I think that it would be fair to split the difference and ask for half my money refunded or put as credit towards another snake. I don't think he did anything intentionally wrong, but I did not either. And I think his handling of the situation is poor and unprofessional.

I'm welcome to any advice.
Old 10-31-2016, 01:34 PM   #2
The seller also suggested that the stress of transporting her during shed may have weakened her immune system or stressed her too much. If he feels that way, why was she given to me in shed?
Old 10-31-2016, 02:23 PM   #3
From what I have seen so far here, and from the fact that I've seen you around for years and you are experienced, I do not think the death was your fault. Just like in human babies, sometimes these critters are born with illnesses or defects that are not outwardly apparent.
Given your experience and the fact that the seller was a friend, I do not think the post mortem cross examination you received was necessary. Especially as you kept the seller informed of what was going on and you say you were specifically told not to worry about the setup.
My condolences on the death of your baby snake
Old 10-31-2016, 02:59 PM   #4
Thank you Lucille. I do not feel that I am outwardly at fault either. I do not think the seller did anything wrong in the care or sale of the snake either. It was an expense for me, but I also understand that money is tight for the seller as well. After this, I don't think I can consider him a friend anymore. I certainly would not treat a friend the way he is treating me, and anyone who would is not someone I want to be friends with.

Do you think I'm justified in pursuing this via my credit card if he doesn't want to work out a resolution with me?
Old 10-31-2016, 03:10 PM   #5
Perhaps between this thread and notifying your credit card company, you could initiate a BOI thread, inviting him to post his perspective. If there were other factors such as a specified TOS, or if these are unusually difficult snakes, that would be the place to discuss them.
I am not familiar with the cost of these particular snakes, but they would have to be extremely pricey for him to throw away this friendship and your willingness to meet him halfway; and your delicacy and diplomacy in starting here, asking for input.
Old 10-31-2016, 03:37 PM   #6
I'm not sure if he's a member here, but if I cannot get anywhere with talking to him, I will initiate a BOI post and he's welcome to join and state his side here. I did not get a specified TOS, other than that he guaranteed his snakes "mite-free and all around disease-free, 100% guaranteed."
Being as I had considered it a friends deal, I hadn't thought to press him for more defined terms. I had thought that I would be treated with the same level of consideration and diplomacy that I would treat him. I was sadly mistaken it seems.

Thank you for your input and quick replies. I appreciate it.. I feel terrible that the snake died, and also that I have lost a friendship...although one could argue it wasn't a true friendship to begin with I suppose.
Old 10-31-2016, 03:38 PM   #7
Aspidelaps are not known to be difficult- they are considered quite hardy from what I understand of them. I did get a very good deal on her, and I'm trying to take that into consideration as well.
Old 10-31-2016, 04:20 PM   #8
Sometimes they just die. Did the seller have a TOS? 'mite free and healthy' when arrived, does that extend to the life of the animal? I assume not. Personally I wouldn't pursue via a credit card claim, you did receive the animal you paid for. Does the seller owe you anything? I would think not after 2 weeks but it would be a very nice gesture if they offered you another as a replacement since it died so quickly, or a discount but unless an extended health guarantee is in the TOS, I don't think they 'owe' it. I'm trying to look at this without the friendship and just as a business transaction. Of course, this is just my little opinion.

edit - just saw your note that there was no TOS
Old 10-31-2016, 04:27 PM   #9
Thanks April. I guess without any TOS it is tough to say. This seller has not produced babies before this year, so I don't think he had thought to make any TOS, since he is not an established seller. As far as I'm concerned, I did not get the snake I paid for- I paid for a healthy, feeding snake, and got one that did not feed no matter what it was offered and died very quickly. If the snake were simply off feed due to settling in or the seasonal change, it shouldn't have died that quickly.

I do hate to go through the trouble of chargebacks, and don't want to act rashly. The seller's response to me ruffled my feathers, as I consider myself known within the local venomous community and my mentor has a very good reputation.

I do appreciate the opinions and input though. I am still thinking about what to do, if anything.
Old 11-01-2016, 12:24 PM   #10
I talked with the seller at length last night again, and I think we are going to be able to work it out. Neither of us feels completely at fault, and I can agree...I don't think there was anything outwardly wrong with the snake that he would have known about but I also don't think I did anything that could have contributed to its demise.
He agreed a 50% refund was fair, and I mentioned that if it's easier for him, he can give me one of his neonates from a different, less expensive, specie that I also like. I think we are going to go that route so that he doesn't have to come up with money he doesn't have and I won't be left with nothing.
I do think the way he initially handled it was harsh, but this is his first time breeding and selling babies, and I know it can be tough to handle when one dies.

Thank you Lucille and April for your opinions and advice; I greatly appreciate it and am glad that it looks like there will be a resolution we both can be ok with without me having to launch a BOI post.

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