What can you do if you get scammed as a seller outside of MorphMarket?

Hello family,

Reaching out with a question since this is the first time this is happening to us. We had a buyer call and say they wanted 3 of our ball pythons and would be able to pick it up locally. Because they were picking up 3 animals, we gave them a discount. They paid by credit card which I took over the phone through PayPal and they picked up the animals shortly after. 3 days later, I get a message from PayPal saying that they put in a dispute with the financial institution saying they did not authorize this transaction. I have text transcripts of the deal, which I sent in to PayPal as a response. Since this transaction apparently isn’t eligible for seller protection, the full amount was deducted from my account. PayPal said they would attempt to recover this amount from the financial institution, but could take up to 75 days. I have a feeling that I will not be able to recover the amount and that the 3 animals (which I was about to keep as hold backs) are now gone forever, and possibly being sold for more in a local market. What can I do as a seller to prevent this from happening in the future? I have names and numbers of the 2 that are scamming. Unfortunately they did not create a MorphMarket profile, and so moving forward that’s one of the requirements I’m going to have before selling to someone. Also apologies if this in the wrong section, didn’t know where else to post this.

Thank you all for your time and replies.


Perhaps draft up a sales agreement to have anyone picking up an animal locally sign. You’re going to need to be able to prove they authorized the transaction, so in the future: signed sales agreement, make sure you only allow the card owner to pick up the animals, and I’d say take a copy of the purchaser’s ID, as well as perhaps a photo of them with the animals when they pick up. As for PayPal saying you were ineligible for seller protection, this is likely why:

  • Physical, tangible items delivered in person, including in connection with a payment made in your physical store, unless the buyer paid for the transaction in person using PayPal’s goods and services QR code

Basically only use the PayPal generated Goods & Services QR code for in-person purchases. Many people actually no longer take PayPal or only do so as a last resort due to their handling of issues. I suggest looking into alternatives.


Everyone thinks sellers that don’t do PayPal good and services are shady, but this is the reason a lot of the smaller hobbiests (including me) won’t use it or only use friends and family with PayPal. This has been a long standing problem with PayPal, and I’ve heard the same thing time and time again. You had all records of communication and still they were able to get their money back! You did nothing wrong, everything right. You may get most of your money back if they can actually locate this persons real account info.(hopefully) Like you said, it will take a long time. We as a community on MorphMarket should just not use PayPal anymore, until this issue is resolved. We all have other, usually cheaper ways to accept payment as it is. Maybe the staff should put a notice on the home page stating why MorphMarket can not use PayPal for the time being. That way we as sellers are not seen as shady or non trustworthy businesses. I am truly sorry and disgusted for what both the scammers and PayPal has done to you! I just want you to know, it was absolutely not your fault! Please don’t blame yourself! I hope you get your money back ASAP. Things like this absolutely can hurt small business, and it’s not acceptable!


As a person running business through PayPal…
If you are caught using friends and family for business sales like that, your account will be frozen and you will not receive the money in it.

It’s been an issue for a number of people in the artist circles.

Sure, if you’re maybe doing one transaction you can let it slide, but multiple purchases get suspicious.


One thing you can do is post your problem over on the Facebook group called Herpetoculture Feedback and Inquiry. Sometimes public pressure on the scammer can help.


We did make a note of the issues with PayPal here: PayPal and Payment Methods

And have a help guide on our recommendation for payment methods here: Safe Purchasing - MorphMarket Support Center

Also, there is this thread: Tips on Avoiding Fraud as a Seller

We are also in the works of creating an on site payment method, though that will only be helpful for on site sales.


A on site payment method would help a lot! It would also look very professional on MM to have a official MM payment system! Much appreciated @eaglereptiles and I know you or any business can’t stop scammers completely. Not a knock to this site, but I am still concerned about the stigma of sellers not using PayPal affecting how professional they look and impacting their sales. Unfortunately I don’t really see a great answer for this, unless PayPal themselves change/fix this issue with live animals on their end.


I also had that concern when deciding to move away from PayPal. To my surprise, not a single person has had an issue with it. I have had a few ask why, and I let them know. Still didn’t lose the sale.

I’m so sorry this happened to you, I really hope they get it together for you quickly. You did everything right. Scammers :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:


Thank you all for the support. I do run PayPal fully as a business, so friends and family is not an option. I will definitely check out the other forms of payment services listed so hopefully this never happens again. And good idea about signing for pickup and getting photo of the ID, steps I now know I should make. My biggest worry is that these animals are now in the hands of someone who is probably not going to take care of them, especially if they can’t resell them themselves, which is the biggest bummer of all. We really try to find good homes for our animals, so this makes me doubly mad.

Thank you all again and I’ll let you know if PayPal comes to a decision, but they said it can take up to 75 days.


I have been selling reptiles for a couple of years now and I have used the number of platforms and ways to complete the cash or money part of the process and to be honest I am thoroughly disappointed with most of the platforms. PayPal and square, even though you are there real customer and you are paying fees and you are the one that created an account and it’s supposed to be they are priority, they always side over the purchaser or the buyer and are quick to refund them their money and then you have to fight to prove your innocence. That is a ridiculous way for those platforms to be set up in the first place. I understand they want to provide buyers with protection so they feel more inclined to use their platform but we as the sellers that use their platform as a Pacers are there real customers and we are the ones who get the shaft most of the time. I would never use PayPal again or Square if there was another platform that gave me as a seller equal protection or even a preferred protection over the person I’m selling to. It seems like most of the platforms out there are set up the other way around which makes no sense to me. They sell you a bunch of promise but they’re only trying to use you to get to your consumers money. I have literally had nothing but bad experiences with square and PayPal and never an issue when I use cash app


Unfortunately I have had multiple customers tell me that PayPal was the only way they would complete the transaction so I had no choice.


As a buyer I would never do friends and family as then I am not protected. You can also use Venmo for purchases.


Venmo is owned by PayPal, so it’s just another subset of the same company.

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For pick-ups, cash is king.


Though always keep a counterfeit detector pen around and check any denomination over $10 to be extra safe. The pens are cheap and it’s a great way to be sure you’re not being scammed with fake bills.


I just wanna say as a buyer on MM for 2 animals now, the interactions have both been fantastic, professional and expediate. It’s honestly been great, and I hope to one day sell on MM too.

Only want to mention it in case of someone who hasn’t made a purchase is curious about the buying side sees this. I’m so sorry you got scammed, scams involving LIVE ANIMALS is insane to me. I come from a tech world too, and scams there are somewhat common, tho usually nothing to do with people inside whatever community obv. To scam involving live animals that someone has put not only work but love and passion into seems extra heartless. Hurting small business no less!

Again, so sorry you are dealing with this, and hopefully PayPal rights the wrong. I feel it’s a needed evil for now, but any alternative also seems to be superior too.


I didn’t read the whole thread, but FYI that Paypal has ended friends & family option for businesses anyway:

However some of the other cash transfer options are similar.

MorphMarket ’s service will hopefully be up and running in a couple of months.


This is a very good idea, i watch that page as i have been slowly assembling a DNS list to prevent future problems. Sometimes there are legitimate complaints against customers, sometimes legit complaints against sellers. However, there are also plenty of “karens” that out themselves by complaining about a bad situation a seller did everything they could to fix. I feel bad the situation turned south in those cases, but i dont want to deal with a buyer that will crucify me if something goes wrong even if i do my best to resolve it, things happen no matter how careful you are, and i dont need a bad rep early on, so those people get onto my DNS as well.


Is there anything you dont do for us? A MM version of paypal to help protect users literally sounds amazing and like the gold standard for the future.


It’s really too bad that scammers exist all over and ruin it for all.

Working retail and growing up in the family bakery i have seen more scams than i could post here, lets say they come in all shapes colors and sizes. Some were super easy to catch while others were a bit more slick.

Makes me worry about selling babies myself. Id hope to not get scammed being an ethical person myself id hope others are too, but all to often people are opportunistic when they see weakness they can exploit.