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Old 02-26-2009, 03:43 AM   #1
Victor Rivera at Reptiles Plus is Untrustworthy!

Hi. My name is Brian R. Hamilton. In late December, I came across the website and saw that they had a few species of snakes that I was interested in purchasing. I called Mr. Victor Rivera on the phone on Saturday December 20th and talked to him regarding a pair of Red-Tailed Green Ratsnakes and a pair of eastern Coachwhips. He told me that all these snakes were healthy, feeding regularly, and ready to ship out. I asked Mr. Rivera about his shipping methods to make sure that he properly packed reptiles for shipping in cold weather. He assured me that he has been shipping reptiles for a long time and packed them in insulated boxes with heat packs and shipped ONLY using Next Day air...usually with Fed Ex or UPS, and occasionally the USPS. On the Reptiles Plus website, it also clearly states Mr. Rivera's shipping policies as ONLY shipping Next Day Air and Live Arrival is guaranteed. It also states that delays due to the shipper are not his responsibility. After being assured that Mr. Rivera knew how to ship live reptiles and that he guaranteed that they would get to my home quickly and in good health, I ordered the 4 snakes from him. He told me that they would ship out on Monday December 22nd, and would arrive at my house by noon on Tuesday December 23rd.
The snakes ended up not arriving until Wednesday December 24th. They arrived through the USPS. The snakes arrived loosely packed in a plastic deli-cup in a thin-walled Express box with NO insulation or packing whatsoever. The first thing I noticed was that the two coachwhips were missing. The 2 Red-Tailed Green ratsnakes were barely alive and their eyes were packed with mites. I contacted Victor Rivera IMMEDIATELY upon receiving this package and notified him of how they appeared. I also took photos of the box and snakes for reference. Mr. Rivera insisted that he used Next Day Air and the delay in shipping was due to the holiday shipping rush. Upon closer examination of the shipping label on the box, it clearly shows that Mr. Rivera chose 2-Day shipping instead of Next Day like he and his shipping policy declared. It is also clearly written on the label that the scheduled date of arrival at my house was on the 24th, and NOT the 23rd like Victor said.
One of the ratsnakes died later that evening and the other died the next day. Victor did later refund my money for the missing Coachwhips (Im kind of confused as to why he didnt tell me they werent available until after the box arrived, but I was too upset about the ratsnakes to argue that with him as well). Victor insisted that the shipping was not his fault and I would need to take the issue up with the USPS. I ended up visiting my local Postmaster and explaining the situation to him. He told me that Mr. Rivera was not legally allowed to ship live reptiles with the USPS and that no claim could be made because the animals were illegally shipped. I relayed the information to Mr. Rivera and he told me that he would make a claim at his Post Office to get my money back. I again visited my Post Office to inquire about the status of this claim. It turns out that Victor NEVER made a claim, even though he said that he did. This turns out to be one of the many lies that Victor fabricates throughout this transaction. I told Victor this information and he refused to acknowledge that he didnt properly ship the snakes. He also made it clear that under no circumstances was he responsible and he would not refund my money or give me store credit. After that he ceased communication with me.
Around the beginning of January, I contacted the West Florida Better Business Bureau and gave them the information I had about Mr. Rivera. They attempted to contact him about 6 times and he would not respond to their calls or emails. This week, after many failed attempts, the BBB acknowledged that they would record this in their files about Victor's business. Funny enough, Victor finally then responded to my claims by stating that delays by the shipper are not his responsibility. After receiving this reply from Victor, I again contacted him last night through email and sent him a photo of the shipping label as proof that he did not abide by his own shipping policies. He responded by saying "sorry, but even if you try that, I still am not responsible because the temperature is below 40degrees." Now it seems this time, he said the reason he wouldnt refund my money was because the temperature was below 40 degrees on the day of shipping and he is not responsible. He also stated that he told me this "over and over again" when in fact, he NEVER mentioned this once. This minor detail is also mysteriously absent from his shipping policies on his website as well. It turns out that Mr. Rivera is now inventing new policies as he sees fit to weasel his way out of his responsibilities. According to this statement from Victor, it sounds like when the temperature is below 40, he can cut costs on shipping by using 2-day instead? I dont understand this guy at all. From my experience with him, he is a complete liar and fraud. He lied about his shipping methods, lied about his health guarantee, and lied about making a claim on my behalf with the USPS. On top of all that, he isnt even a decent enough individual to apologize and admit that he made a mistake. I dont care so much about the money that I lost, than of the fact that this guy is a complete fraud who deceived me into buying from him. I should have done my research much better before buying from him.
Anyway, I am attaching a photo of the shipping label of the package that he sent me that clearly shows "2-Day shipping" instead of next day. You can visit his website at: to view his shipping policies to see that he states he only ships next day. Im also attaching a photo of the extremely irresponsible packing job that Victor did with these snakes. Im also posting a copy of all of my email conversations with Victor Rivera below this post, including the last email I received from him today. You can see from these emails that he does not ever mention the 40 degree weather exclusion. In fact, he blames the USPS for most all of the emails except the last one. Between the photos and emails, its clear to see that Mr. Rivera is a liar, and also does not stand up for his mistakes. He simply changes his story as he sees fit to get out of refunding my money. If you decide to purchase from Reptiles Plus....BEWARE!!! Thanks. Brian R. Hamilton

Re: Shipping LabelWednesday, February 25, 2009 12:01 PM
From: "Victor Rivera" <>Add sender to Contacts To:
sorry even if you try that. the temp was below 40 we do not have a live arrival guarantee at those temps. we explained this to you over and over again.

----- Original Message ----
From: Brian R. Hamilton <>
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 12:23:46 AM
Subject: Shipping Label

Hi Victor. I just saw you posted a reply to my complaint to the BBB in Florida. In response to your claim that delays by the shipper are not your responsibility, I am attaching a photo of the shipping label of the package you mailed me. Please take notice that the shipping method you chose was "2-Day Shipping" and NOT next day. It also clearly shows that the expected date of arrival was the 24th of December, which is a day after the date that you told me it would arrive. You violated your shipping procedure and the reason that it took 2 days to receive it was YOUR fault, not the fault of the USPS. I am also sending this photo to the BBB so they know that I am not making up my side of the story.
Please do not continue to deny that this is your responsibility. You received a copy of this shipping label on the day that you mailed it out. It clearly shows that the package was being shipped using 2-day shipping. This is your responsibility, not the fault of the USPS.
Please be a responsible business owner and own up to your mistakes.
Thanks. BRIAN

Re: USPS RefundsWednesday, December 31, 2008 9:57 PM
From: "Victor Rivera" <>Add sender to Contacts To:

i am sorry but we did ship your package on time that day. if usps process your package late like they did then they are responsible. we are not liable for shipping delays and the live arrival guarantee only applies if you get the package on time. not when its delayed by the shipper in this case usps. now i called them and started the process and they will get back to me on this in about 30 days according to what they told me.

----- Original Message ----
From: Brian R. Hamilton <>
To: Victor Rivera <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 7:11:51 PM
Subject: Re: USPS Refunds

Victor, I did some more research into the shipment (shipment#EH443329259US) that was sent to me. It appears that this package wasnt accepted at the Post Office until 5:10pm and was shipped out as 2nd day shipping. That would make next day shipping impossible. Therefore, it seems that USPS is not liable for the damage to these are. Filing a claim for shipping will not likely be successful.
I have shared this experience with several other reptile shippers that I am familiar with and they all feel that your shipping method, particularly at this time of year, is negligent. In my many years of receiving and shipping reptiles, Ive only had one incident in which a snake died, and it most likely wasnt due to shipping.
Professionally shipped reptiles ALWAYS include insulation in the packing for instances like this.
I also see on your website that live arrival is guaranteed. You also stated to me on the phone that you ONLY ship reptiles OVERNIGHT in insulated boxes. Do you honor this? Sure they were "alive" when they arrived, but already half dead.
Anyway, at this point I feel that you should own up to the responsibility and either refund my money or allow me to choose $120 worth of reptiles from your store. Personally I feel cheated from this transaction. Please let me know if you are willing to make this right.
Thanks. BRIAN

--- On Tue, 12/30/08, Victor Rivera <> wrote:

> From: Victor Rivera <>
> Subject: Re: USPS Refunds
> To:
> Date: Tuesday, December 30, 2008, 9:56 AM
> ok i will file the claim asap thanks
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Brian R. Hamilton <>
> To: Victor Rivera <>
> Sent: Monday, December 29, 2008 11:53:48 PM
> Subject: USPS Refunds
> Hi again Victor. Did you have any luck with the USPS? I
> asked my post office here today about the situation. They
> said that all overnight packages are automatically insured
> for $100 against loss or damage. Overnight packages are
> also guaranteed to be there the next day, unless stated
> otherwise, or your shipping cost will be refunded. So,
> according to what they told me, I should be in line for at
> least a $100.00 refund. The shipper (which is you) needs
> to make the claim, but it needs to be done immediately. I
> still have the dead snakes as well as the package label that
> states the dates the package was delivered and received.
> If you need any of this stuff to make a claim, let me know
> and I will mail it to you if that helps. Let me know as
> soon as possible. If you dont have any luck, Ill try
> making a claim on my end. Thanks. BRIAN
> --- On Wed, 12/24/08, Victor Rivera
> <> wrote:
> > From: Victor Rivera <>
> > Subject: Re: your snake order
> > To:
> > Date: Wednesday, December 24, 2008, 4:41 PM
> > really i put in a heat pack. i will be talking to
> them
> > about that because i sent them next day not two day
> > shipping! so it seems like for whatever reason they
> delyed
> > your package this happens sometime on busy hoildays.
> but i
> > will address this with them thanks
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message ----
> > From: Brian R. Hamilton <>
> > To: Victor Rivera <>
> > Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 12:17:49 PM
> > Subject: Re: your snake order
> >
> > Victor. I received the Red-Tailed Ratsnakes this
> morning
> > through USPS Express. It looks like they've been
> in
> > the mail for two days! The inside of the package was
> > freezing cold and the snakes appeared to be almost dead! I put
> them
> > under heat in a proper environment, offered them water and
> > hopefully they will
> recover. You
> > might want to try insulating your boxes and
> overnighting the
> > shipments like you said you would!!!
> >
> >
> > --- On Wed, 12/24/08, Victor Rivera
> > <> wrote:
> >
> > > From: Victor Rivera
> <>
> > > Subject: Re: your snake order
> > > To:
> > > Date: Wednesday, December 24, 2008, 10:32 AM
> > > your snakes wre shiped out heres the tracking
> number
> > > eh44329259us the phone umber to track your
> package is
> > > 1800-222-1811 thanks
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ----- Original Message ----
> > > From: Brian R. Hamilton
> <>
> > > To: Victor Rivera
> <>
> > > Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 8:01:30 PM
> > > Subject: Re: your snake order
> > >
> > > Hi Victor. Its 8pm here, and I still havent
> received
> > my
> > > snakes today. Do you have a tracking number?
> What
> > > shipping method did you use? Let me know.
> > Thanks.
> > > BRIAN
> > >
> > >
> > > --- On Sun, 12/21/08, Victor Rivera
> > > <> wrote:
> > >
> > > > From: Victor Rivera
> > <>
> > > > Subject: your snake order
> > > > To:
> > > > Date: Sunday, December 21, 2008, 6:27 PM
> > > > hey you did not give me a shipping address
> we
> > need one
> > > to
> > > > complete yoyr order please send asap so we
> can
> > shipp
> > > your
> > > > order out tot you. thanks
Attached Images
Old 02-26-2009, 04:00 AM   #2
I wouldn't use that method to ship a pair of socks!

Sorry for your loss. Also, thanks for posting your experience here and including proof to back up your claim. As I'm sure you've seen by now, there has already been a "Bad Guy" thread on this guy, but this one is harder to argue away as he tried with the last one.

Again, my condolences and I hope he makes good.
Old 02-26-2009, 04:03 AM   #3
Sounds like a scumbag, and that he's only shipping reptiles to their death.

Was it agreed upon that USPS would be the method of shipment beforehand?
Old 02-26-2009, 04:19 AM   #4
Hi Mike. Thanks for the quick reply. After I posted this, I was just reading that big 18 page thread on Victor. Yeah, I admit, I should have done ALOT more research before buying from this guy. I forgot to mention in my post that I did file a complaint with the IC3 this afternoon regarding this transaction.
Ive never had bad luck receiving snakes shipped to me from dealers around the country, but then again, Ive never had someone flat-out lie to me about the way they were going to send my snakes. Last March I received a snake that ended up dying later in the evening that I received it. I contacted the seller and he promptly allowed me to pick out a new snake and he shipped it out to me the next day. I was very pleased with the customer service for that transaction and I guess I just got careless when it came to buying snakes in the future. Im certainly going to be alot more cautious from now on and probably just stick to buying from the local shows or from dealers that I already know.
Its a shame that people like Mr. Rivera make it difficult to trust buying from other reptile dealers. It will certainly make me think twice about ordering from someone new. I have no doubt that alot of good businesses suffer due to the reputations and actions of people like Mr. Rivera.
Old 02-26-2009, 04:27 AM   #5
Hi. Thanks for the reply. It was not specifically agreed upon that the USPS was going to be the shipping method. I did show concern regarding shipments with the USPS when I ordered from him since every snake that Ive received before was either through Fed Ex or UPS. In reply to those concerns is when Mr. Rivera told me that he usually only ships using Fed Ex or UPS. I suppose I just assumed that since he made those comments that he was going to use one of those two shippers. If you look at my email that I sent to Victor on Tuesday the 23rd, you can see that I still had no idea for sure what shipping method that the snakes were going to arrive by. It wasnt until he gave me the tracking number and I tried it on both the UPS and Fed Ex websites that I realized that it was the USPS. At the time, I really didnt think too much of it. It wasnt until I was told that it is illegal to ship live reptiles through the USPS that I realized that I made a mistake by not demanding that they be shipped either through UPS or Fed Ex. Thanks. BRIAN
Old 02-26-2009, 08:26 AM   #6
The fact that he even mentioned the possibility of using USPS to ship the snakes would have been a huge red flag to me. First off, as you've learned, it's not remotely legal to do so. Second off, even though USPS offers "next day" service, they don't back it up or even claim to. It's more like, "We'll try to get it there tomorrow, but if it doesn't make it...well, thems the breaks."

If you haven't already, I would go back and talk to your postmaster again and ask about filing a report on him through USPS, as well as the other legal options you have pursued. I'd want to hit a guy like this on all fronts. There's simply no excuse for what he did to those poor snakes!
Old 02-26-2009, 09:21 AM   #7
I agree. the fact he's used USPS makes it better on you I think. Time to goto your local postal authority and play the part of the concerned citizen worried about the horrible snake dealer posting snakes. they should take action.
Old 02-26-2009, 12:44 PM   #8

I can't believe this guy is still pulling this Not only is it illegal to ship snakes through USPS, it's also against UPS policy to ship any snake. I hope this douche hangs himself this time.

And to sell a infested snake is unbelievable, but atleast he had the species right

Sorry about the loss.
Old 02-26-2009, 01:06 PM   #9
Originally Posted by JudyC View Post
The fact that he even mentioned the possibility of using USPS to ship the snakes would have been a huge red flag to me. First off, as you've learned, it's not remotely legal to do so. Second off, even though USPS offers "next day" service, they don't back it up or even claim to. It's more like, "We'll try to get it there tomorrow, but if it doesn't make it...well, thems the breaks."

If you haven't already, I would go back and talk to your postmaster again and ask about filing a report on him through USPS, as well as the other legal options you have pursued. I'd want to hit a guy like this on all fronts. There's simply no excuse for what he did to those poor snakes!
If he was aware that the shipper was using USPS, he might be as liable to penalty as the shipper. So he might want to lay low on that one.

Old 02-26-2009, 02:15 PM   #10
Hi. Thanks for the responses. I did file a report with the US Postal Inspectors on the day that I visited with my Postmaster. I did so at his request. My Postmaster also called the regional postal inspectors about this issue at the time and that was their best response. The US Postal Inspectors dont jump on every single incident. I was told that it takes several reports with them about the same individual before they can act with legal action. All they do at this point is accumulate data against this individual until they feel they have enough to act. If there are a few more people out there that have been ripped off by Victor and they filed reports, it might actually go somewhere. It is also my understanding the the Postal Inspectors will be in contact with Mr. Rivera's Post Office in Lehigh Acres to give them a heads up.
The West Florida Better Business Bureau said that my best option is to contact the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife and report Mr. Rivera to them at this time. The reason that I didnt contact every authority at once was because I was trying to give Mr. Rivera the opportunity to right his wrong. I was hoping that a simple case with the BBB or a call from the US Postal Inspectors would make him see the error of his ways. It was NOT my goal to attempt to ruin Mr. Rivera because of a possible mistake. I have spent many years in private business and I understand that mistakes get made and sometimes you have to accept a loss on occasion to right a wrong. I tried to give Mr. Rivera plenty of opportunities to be a responsible business owner. Its obvious now that he is nothing more than a liar and has no ethics whatsoever.
Im certainly going to take all necessary steps at this point to make sure that ALL possible authorities are notified about this Victor Rivera. After reading that last big 18 page post about him, its clear to me that he is not just an average liar, but he is deliberately scamming people.
Ive asked myself this question...Why would he deliberately send animals 2-day shipping if he told the customer Next day? To what advantage is this to him? Since I paid for Next Day shipping, then it would be no loss to him. Did he use 2-Day shipping to try to cut corners and make a little extra cash for himself? If often does he do this to customers and get away with it? I have no doubt that if these snakes lived, I wouldnt be complaining as much and he would certainly get away scott-free.
The only other possible scenario is this: What if this is the way Victor gets paid for dying snakes? These snakes were in such bad shape, Im convinced that being in the cold wasnt their only cause for death. As bad of a shape that these snakes were in, I have no doubts that Victor knew they were in bad shape when he sent them. I believe that he expected them to die after I received them...therefore he sent them using 2-Day shipping so he could claim that the USPS delayed the shipping and he was not responsible. I believe that the average customer would probably throw out the box, packaging, and emails, and would therefore not have any evidence against Mr. Rivera.
Anyway, its a bit of a conspiracy theory, but after reading that last post of Victor...he sounds like the kind of guy who would pull a stunt like that. After all...every scammer has a motive...Id just like to find out what reason he had to do something like this.
Thanks. BRIAN

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