Backing out of a sale due to bad feelings about a buyer

Hi everyone, first time poster looking for advice.

Tl;dr: someone paid me for a gecko, but we’re now having a disagreement about the appropriate time to ship it out due to winter/holidays. Buyer hasn’t responded yet, but they’re giving me bad vibes. Would I be out of line to just give them a full refund and end it there?

I recently sold a gecko to someone on Dec 11, and accepted their PayPal payment. I originally communicated to them that I might have been able to ship it out on Dec 16, but I couldn’t guarantee that. If I couldn’t ship in out in Dec, I would be in touch after New Years Day due to shipping delays.

So on the 16th, I told them that I couldn’t ship it out that day. No big deal it seemed. This person requested photos a couple times, and I happily sent them some snaps of the gecko each time. They seemed happy and excited for it.

On Dec 27, they asked if I could ship it out that week, and I said I couldn’t due to being snowed in (Seattle does not handle snow well). They seemed fine with this. Keep in mind that I had told them previously that I’d be in touch after New Years day re: shipping.

I received a message on Dec 31 from this individual requesting that I consider shipping it out this upcoming week (week of Jan 3rd), but I expressed that I would prefer to wait until mid January to ensure that shipping returns to normal after the holidays. I realize now that I should have it clear earlier on that I may not ship until mid January due to remaining holiday delays.

Because, they then responded by saying that not wanting to ship the gecko out is affecting my business…if I wanted to keep the gecko so much, I should refund them the money. Apparently, they had been receiving geckos before and after Xmas just fine.

So on the same day of their message, I explained that this is not because I want to keep the gecko, but it is for the health and safety of the animal, and that I understand that it’s frustrating to wait for a decent shipping window. But I would be happy to refund them if they really wanted that. They saw the message but did not respond. One day later I sent another message saying that they definitely seemed unhappy, and to please let me know if they in fact wanted a refund. No response yet. They normally have been responding within a day.

I am waiting for a confirmation that they in fact want the refund, or not. In the meantime, I’ve been getting bad vibes from this person, and am worried that I may end up losing a gecko and possibly my money from this. I might be overreacting as I’m very new to shipping. Should I just refund them? Would that be within my right? Has anyone experienced this sorta conflict?

Thanks much.


Stick with your gut! if you are uneasy about it then just refund and leave it at that.


I would hang tight and give them time to respond. No rush in doing anything since the gecko is still safely in your possession. If they don’t respond with a reasonable response within a week or two (and by reasonable, I mean that they have the animal’s best interest at heart,) then I’d go with your gut and refund their money and explain why and your concerns. I don’t think too many in our community would fault you for acting in the best interest of the gecko or any animal so I wouldn’t sweat it if they get on forums and bash you.


If you feel uneasy about it it might just be best to refund and not worry about it. But, first I would give them a chance, if everything lines up and they seem genuine see if they try to understand (if they’re ignoring you that’s hard to do). Also, try to see it from the buyers point of view, for all they know you could just be another scammer trying to extend the sales cycle, though they should understand waiting after the holidays.


Ok so I see it from both sides. (Hear me out lol)

To that buyer it may seem like you’re ‘scamming’ them. We all here can see that is not the case from this thread, (I actually think it’s brilliant you’ve waited as some don’t care when shipping) but as someone who has had friends deal with wallys before with breeders holding money but sending pics, and then went on to ignoring them, they may think you’re just refusing to send them the gecko and have kept the money.

We can see you’re not doing that, and it’s for the safety of the animal so it doesn’t die in transit due to the cold! And I fully agree, I haven’t shipped because of the cold here in the uk. People have collected instead.
If you’re not happy with them still having the gecko then refund them, or try (yet again I’m sure) to make them understand that with how cold it is atm that shipping that animal may cause death to it which I’m sure none of you want!


Thank you so much for the input everyone. I think I’ve decided to go ahead with refunding them, but I totally understand how someone might think I’m scamming them. It’s never fun spending $$$ and having to wait weeks to receive your animal. The thing is…this individual has a seller profile (albeit new) with active listings for BD morphs, and claims to have received cresties in shipments previously. So I think it is very likely they are aware of conventions around holiday shipping.

I was also up front about possibly shipping after the New Year, and have offered a refund on a silver platter to no avail. Granted, life does get in the way of replying to messages, but it seems a bit too convenient for it to happen now. So my anxious mind sees it this way: this person is attempting to pressure me to ship an animal during poor conditions so that they can simply receive her sooner, not necessarily because they think I’m scamming them. This situation just makes me think they don’t have the animal’s best interest at heart, regardless of whether they agree to receive her later.

I probably shouldn’t speculate so much, but it’s making me uncomfortable.

Edit: changed a few things. Didn’t want to accuse this person too unfairly.


Personally I would give them a few days to respond and see how it goes from there. If they have a nasty attitude, then I would refund.

To be honest, I’ve dealt with extremely experienced shippers and new shippers. I was working with one breeder who was very hesitant to ship until the weather was exactly perfect and in the meantime, I had other snakes shipped with less than perfect weather, but the more experienced shippers were more aware of what temperature threshold is actually safe and how to package with a heat or cold pack appropriately. That being said, I did not feel annoyed by the less experienced shipper because from the get go, she informed me of when she thought she’d be able to ship and she kept in regular contact with me for the months while we waited. (I had also purchased from her before and have had plenty of conversations, so I was not worried at all about being scammed.) So with all that being said, if the buyer is only used to buying from very experienced shippers who can ship within days of the animal being purchased, and hasn’t had previous interactions with you, I could see why they might be starting to feel unsure of the transaction.


Yeah, I think that’s a fair point. Buying from new sellers/shippers can always be a gamble, and I don’t mean to give this individual a negative experience. I was upfront about the shipping timeline from the beginning and have kept in touch over the past 3 weeks with photos of the animal and its enclosure, etc, so we were reasonably in touch. It’s all a bit frustrating, on both ends I guess.


Coming out of Seattle myself, I understand where you’re coming from, even if you can make it to FedEx, the way the last week was, there wasn’t a good chance it would actually go anywhere on time, and that was just leaving here. I think their response to this

was a bit melodramatic, and if they actually felt you had an ulterior motive behind not sending something they already paid for, a refund should have been requested cleary and a response made when you asked about one. For now, I think it would be best to allow them a little bit more time to get back to you, but after another day or so of being ghosted, and you know they received and read your message, if it were my sale, I’d refund it and send them a msg apologizing for the inconveniences. It’s just one of those things that happens, and if they were getting “geckos before and after Xmas just fine” this one shouldn’t be such a big deal.


Thank you, I’m glad you understand the struggle. My car can’t leave my neighborhood until maybe Wednesday since I live on a steep hill! I feel the same way as you for sure. If they were truly concerned, they’d be more willing to accept the refund or at least message back anything. It is what it is


I spent an hour and half today with a shovel digging lanes in the snow off the road of a steep hill so someone could get their car back out of the neighborhood, they were there at least an hour before I showed up, stuck with two other people in other cars doing the same thing. I’m from here and spent a good amount of time in Colorado when I was younger, and even being out there, I can’t recall the last time I spent this much time bailing vehicles out of ditches and similar situations. The rain can come back ANYTIME…


You are the seller, plain and simple. In your ToS, it should have a section where you explain your shipping standards. That way there could be no reason for them to assume that you would send the gecko during the holidays. I hope this works out. Also, give them time to get back to you. I know people who go off grid for the holidays and come back on like January 20th. Again, I hope this works out for you.


Thank you, I did mention in my ToS that I hold geckos til January due to holiday delays. I’ll give them a bit more time to respond as a courtesy.


I live in southwest Washington. We are still having issues with ice on the roads. I personally would not ship anything until it warms up in I am thinking March or April. I will not purchase anything right now either. It is too cold, too unpredictable and with the week or more of delays over Christmas it’s going to be a few weeks for then to catch up and be on time again. If she can’t understand that it’s not safe to ship right now and won’t be until Spring, yes refund and be done with it.


Unless the buyers ask for a refund dont issue a refund. There are crappy sellers that are lazy. The buyer once they pay are at the sellers mercy. Maybe they are afraid of being screwed over. Maybe they are just excited for a new pet. Maybe it’s a present for a kid. Look at the weather give them a date for shipping. Never heard of someone backing out of a deal just because someone wants what they paid for and didn’t respond right away.


Typically when I sell an animal I will get the zip code to the FedEx hub that I will be shipping to in order to quote the buyer the shipping cost, along with sending them a payment request via PayPal. It is at this point that I will also reiterate my shipping policy in regards to temp requirements, days during the week that I ship, etc. I will also refer to the policy set forth by SYR, in order to not have any debate with a potential buyer about what is safe, and what is not.
While it would be easy for me to say how this could of been handled differently from the onset, I think that given where things are at today you should just wait and give the buyer a chance to respond. There is no need to send more than one email. When they get back to you, i would suggest offering a full refund (if that is what they want) as well as clearly explaining the temperature guidelines necessary for you to safely ship the animal. Clarity is key here, just an open ended “when the weather is good” isn’t really enough. Let the buyer choose how they want to proceed how to move forward.
As a new seller, you are building your reputation within the community and it is important to make sure that you are doing your best to leave your buyers satisfied with the transaction, even when it is a little bumpy like this one.


I honestly think that the buyer is just really exited for THIS gecko and every minute spent without it seems like an eternity. There is a way better way of handling this then refunding the money and taking away buyers chance of owning a gecko they really really want. At the end of the day we all want buyers like this … the ones that base their day around the animal they buy from us ? Ones that will most likelly baby the crap out of their dream animal…at the end of a day it’s a compliment to your work and the impact it has on people that see it.

If it was me I would simply write a message

saying that you know this gecko is important to them and you assure them that you are simply making sure that it gets to them for them to enjoy. That you do understand frustration of waiting and it sucks because you really do want them to have nothing but positive experience and for that very reason they should trust you. Shipping is just starting to open back up and when it does for you they will be the very first clients to receive their happy and warm gecko.

They don’t want a refund they’re just frustrated. I completly get it I’ve been there myself. People can ship from different states at different times but when you’re just starting out you don’t understand that. You do…but you really don’t. This may end up being your best client in the end. The seller who had to deal with me as a buyer back in my begging never gave up on me tho I am sure I was super annoying ( as well as annoyed )but in the end she became a good friend to me now and I am a very loyal customer to her. So don’t give up on them :wink:


Thanks everyone, they finally seem to understand the situation, and so we will be shipping her out. Hopefully, this will be the only bump in this transaction.

Not only will I be sure to be more specific in my shipping terms in the future, but I’ll also make sure each buyer explicitly states that they know and agree to my terms. Thanks again!!


I am happy this seems to be working out for you! Definitely like the new game plan.


I’m glad to hear they still want her and are willing to wait for better shipping weather.