What to do when seller doesn't reply?

The short story is that I paid $3,000 for a ball python from a respected MorphMarket breeder (multiple positive feedback and paid member since 2018). The communication has always been a bit slow, but the animal has been paid off for a long while now, and I haven’t heard a single word from the seller in almost 5 weeks. My multiple (courteous and polite) messages go unanswered. I’ve even tried reaching out via his Facebook page with no result. Any advice as to how I should handle this? I don’t know his telephone number, so I can’t call him. And I’m starting to worry.

Thanks in advance.

Regards,
Chris

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Adding this comment for the benefit of others, hopefully you are able to get in touch with that breeder. Maybe drop the name and someone on here maybe knows them and can reach out on your behalf.

I never send money until I have been able to reach them via the phone number on their MM page. If they don’t have a number listed I WILL NOT BUY unless I know them or they are willing to provide a number. The cadence I follow (and offer to people wanting to buy from me) is I message on MM with questions. If I want to purchase I will ask them to TEXT me a picture of the animal on a scale from the number on their store page providing evidence of the day or with a specific item of my chosing (e.g. - snake with a can of coke or a tim hortons cup). If I am sending a good amount of money I will ask for references, preferably of someone I know. As well, if I do payments I ask the same thing every time before I send money, want to see the animal gaining weight.

That said, unless they take credit card or PP business you have to assume the risk of losing your money (unfortunately). Anyone that won’t make an effort to demonstrate they are worth the risk by snapping a few pictures and sending some texts doesn’t deserve your money.

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Thanks for the advice, themorphranch. I’ll definitely make sure to follow similar rules on my next purchase. For what it’s worth, there were several exchanges between us over the first few days as I asked questions about sire/dam, feeding habits, current size, pics of clutchmates (etc), and I received lots of photos and info upon request. However, it seems something must have come up on his end that is keeping him from answering messages. I do hope it’s nothing serious.

On the flip side, I just realized that I paid the $3,000 via Zelle, which was linked to his account using his telephone number, so I guess that I actually DO have a telephone number for him.

Regards,
Chris

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Would just like to add that we encourage users don’t name-drop on the forums, but can do so in private messages if curious/desired. Just keeps from unwanted drama hitting the forums. There’s much better ways that it can be handled.

For OP, I hope you get the situation figured out and either get your snake, or your money back!

@eaglereptiles could likely help out more in this instance on what to do.

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I would contact the MM sales page support regarding the issue. At the very least so you’ll have a case started sooner rather than later.
Zelle disputes can only be made within 120 days. So if you are coming up on that as well… I would maybe consider trying another message and let them know you intend to dispute the charge for no animal received. The downside is unfortunately that Zelle doesn’t really handle refunds well unless you can prove this was a scam. And that is unlikely.

There can be some legitimate reasons the user hasn’t answered. Medical issues, crazy weather, family emergencies…But 5 weeks is quite a while for no updates if you have indeed been messaging them regularly. I hope things get worked out for you in the end!

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Sorry this is happening to you. I would definitely contact the MM sales support team. While I realise that stuff comes up in people’s lives and there are many legitimate reasons why shipping or replies might be delayed…5 weeks is an awfully long time to go dark on a buyer, especially after you’ve received several thousand dollars from them. I feel like if there was a legitimate reason for delay, they should have at least found a way to contact you to fill you in by now.

These might be stupid questions, but have you always used the same account/email in your dealings with this seller? And have you checked your spam folder in that account(s)? Just want to make sure there’s no way you could have missed any communication from the seller, like if they replied to an email account you don’t check regularly, and/or if their messages ended up in a spam folder.

When I bought my blood python on here last year, it took about 4-5 weeks for her to ship because of weather, but the seller always updated me every week on weather conditions and replied to any messages I sent him in a timely manner, so I wasn’t concerned. The apparent total lack of communication for so long is what concerns me about your situation. Hopefully it’s just some sort of misunderstanding, or the seller has had some sort of life complication that has made communication impossible for some reason, and this all gets sorted out. But definitely contact MM about it. Maybe also try calling the phone number you dug up and see if that gets you anywhere.

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“I would contact the sales page support regarding the issue. At the very least so you’ll have a case started sooner rather than later…Zelle disputes can only be made within 120 days…I would maybe consider trying another message and let them know you intend to dispute the charge for no animal received. The downside is unfortunately that Zelle doesn’t really handle refunds well unless you can prove this was a scam. And that is unlikely.”

That’s a good idea. I’ll keep the Zelle dispute in my back pocket as a last resort.

“I would definitely contact the MM sales support team. While I realise that stuff comes up in people’s lives and there are many legitimate reasons why shipping or replies might be delayed…5 weeks is an awfully long time to go dark on a buyer, especially after you’ve received several thousand dollars from them. I feel like if there was a legitimate reason for delay, they should have at least found a way to contact you to fill you in by now.”

Can the MM team actually do anything besides try to reach out to the seller on my behalf?

“These might be stupid questions, but have you always used the same account/email in your dealings with this seller? And have you checked your spam folder in that account(s)? Just want to make sure there’s no way you could have missed any communication from the seller, like if they replied to an email account you don’t check regularly, and/or if their messages ended up in a spam folder.”

Yes, we’ve always used the same emails (the default MM message system) for our communications, so no chance of spam. :frowning:

Regards,
Chris

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@cjbianco Hi Chris! The fact that this breeder has been a MM paid member since 2018 and he or she has multiple positive comments leads me to believe that something unusual has happened. I just can’t see how this could be a scam. I would call the number connected with your payment asap. If need be you could also do a People Search. Sometimes you can find alternate phone numbers as well.

I am trying to think as positive as I can for your situation. :pray::heart:

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I don’t actually know what actions MM can take, but at the very least, I would imagine that they have access to more complete contact information for the seller (like phone numbers, or maybe even a physical address). So they may have more luck making contact. Beyond that, I’m not sure what they could do, but they should still be formally made aware of the situation. Maybe one of the staff members here can give you a better answer about how they support buyers in these situations.

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Sorry for your situation.

I don’t know, but MM might be able to try to contact the seller on your behalf. At the very least they might be able to stop it happening to others. I know this isn’t great for you… But if it’s happened before, wouldn’t it of been nice if someone reported it prior to you.

I know some sellers don’t ship at certain times of year, however should receive correspondence.

It sounds like the seller is quite reputable and possibly might be having issues. How often have you messaged?

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Hey Chris @cjbianco

Contact Zelle support ASAP and dispute this payment.

MM cannot get or guarantee your money back, but will use every bit of weight they have to try to do so. Considering this seller has been on MM for many years, I would assume they will want to keep their store (which they have a membership they have paid for) active and in good standing… giving MM a good chance they can help.

Please fill out this form directly, as it will skip the initial step of reaching out to Support for them to just send you this same link: Log In - MorphMarket

It will go through to MM support who will email you back and help expedite the investigation and create a permanent record in the database, and is the first step in MM being able to intervene on your behalf.

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Just a quick update. The official MM incident report asks for full details on the situation, and I thought that I’d share them here too. (No names. No doxxing.)

“After the requisite pre-sale exchange of messages where I inquired about the sire/dam, genetics, feeding (etc) of the animal, I sent a down-payment of $1500 via Zelle on December 5, 2022. The seller agreed to keep the animal until (1) I made the final payment of $1500 and (2) my new enclosure was built and assembled for this animal. On December 30, I messaged the seller to say that (1) I was ready to make the final payment and (2) the new enclosure was ready, so he can ship anytime. Two weeks later on January 13, the seller replied saying that he could ship the following Monday. I replied the same day saying that I was excited to receive the animal, and that I will send the payment immediately once he confirms the balance owed. The seller did not reply until 3 weeks later on February 6. (The seller said that his delay was due to bad weather and fallen trees in his area, and I have no reason to doubt his explanation.) The seller confirmed that the balance owed was $1500, and I immediately (within 3 minutes) replied to ask if the shipping cost was included or an extra charge. (The base price of the animal was $3000, and we had never discussed a shipping charge, so I wanted to make sure that I was paying the full and proper amount.) Three days later on February 9, the seller confirmed that there was no additional shipping charge, so I immediately sent the final payment of $1500 to the seller’s same Zelle account. On February 14, the seller replied to say that he could ship the animal to the local FedEx Hub for pickup only, and I immediately replied (1 minute later) that my Jeep was in the shop and that I would be unable to pickup the animal for a few days. One week later on February 21, I messaged the seller to say that I will be ready to receive the animal next week. The seller did not reply. I have since sent 6 more messages to ask if he was ready to ship the animal yet, and all messages have gone unanswered. If requested, then I am happy to supply you and your team with our full and unedited message thread for your review. Thank you for your time.”

Additionally, while filling out the incident report with the proper dates, I noticed the seller’s message on February 9 that read:

“Apologies, shipping was included with that balance! Sorry, I need to change my email associated with my MorphMarket … it sends to my outdated one.”

So that may explain the lack of communication. He is not receiving his MM emails. Still…he knew this was an issue, and he failed to fix it. Plus, he was aware that a customer was waiting on a shipment, so perhaps he should have checked his old email address.

Regardless, I’ll call his telephone number later today. If no answer, then I’ll submit the official MM incident report. (I’m just hesitant to report him to MM if it’s unnecessary and his delays may be somehow legitimate.)

Thanks again, everyone.

Regards,
Chris

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I have a business number people can text, but it’s automatically sent to voicemail if you call it simply because I don’t want to talk on the phone. I loathe it. Absolutely loathe it. That’s why I have other means for people to contact me. My red flag where I won’t do business with someone is if they don’t have any social media profiles.

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I’m with you on the phone call thing. Good call on the social media!! I instinctively do that and totally forgot to put that in my comment. I went to purchase a mid-range animal from a guy that claimed to have been breeding for 20 years doing mostly wholesale. New-ish MM account but ZERO social media. I get hating facebook but you can’t just show up one day and say you are an OG with no internet presence. He got super pissed and even after I established he was legit via a personal referral he refused to sell me the animal because of the audacity that I would question him. That is literally the only reason we have a Facebook account, I don’t mind IG but we try and post enough content that its obvious we are doing something with snakes on the regular that people can use that as one way of confirming we do what we claim to do.

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While I understand why that may be a red flag to some people, there are many legitimate reasons why someone may choose to avoid social media. I don’t have any social media. I hope I don’t encounter anyone in the future who refuses to sell to me because of a choice I made to protect my mental health.

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I wouldn’t refuse to sell a snake to someone who didn’t have social media, but I’ll refuse to buy from someone without it. I get people do not want to do social media for their mental health, but if you’re running a business it’s different. Most European breeders aren’t on Instagram, or if they are, they rarely use it. I look at their Facebook page since that seems to be a majority of where they update their information the best. You can have a business page and post your animals, and talk projects, and still protect your mental health.

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I have bought on MM a few times and I dont have any social media accounts. I think this is the closest thing to social media that I have. I do look at the seller profiles to see if they are legitimate sellers and them having social media accounts advertising the animals they are selling helps.

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That’s a good point, akmorphs. The seller does have a Facebook account, but they haven’t posted on it since November 2022. (I tried reaching out to them via Facebook, but no reply yet.)

Earlier today, I decided to text (vs calling) the seller’s telephone number, since texting leaves me with a written record of our exchange. And for what it’s worth, I also told him that if for any reason the animal is no longer available, then I’ll be happy to accept the full refund on a payment plan, since it’s a large chunk of money to part with all at once. Hopefully, I’ll hear back soon, either way. Fingers crossed.

Regards,
Chris

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I will be doing away with my social media. With all tye recent events i am about done with them. So its not nessicarily anything bad.

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I have been breeding since 2010. I have a MM account and I have been on BP.net. Other than that, I do not do or have any social media presence. If my legitimacy is predicated on the presence of a social media footprint/profile, I’ll be done with this hobby and won’t bat an eye. Social media doesn’t make anyone legit and in many instances it is the very anonymity of social media which allows illegitimate and unscrupulous individuals to deceive, manipulate, and bully others with impunity. The idea that someone loathes speaking and prefers electronic correspondences escapes me. Inflection in a conversation is everything. I can hear by inflection a myriad of emotions and inferences. It is also easier to gauge things like maturity, intellect, proficiency. Anyone can copy and paste, but its much more difficult to fake a conversation. The written word can be completely inaccurate or misunderstood, based on simple grammar. Here is an example.
Let’s eat Grandma.
Let’s eat, Grandma.
One of these sentences implies an intent for cannibalism simply by missing a comma. I realize that is an extreme example, but in conversation you don’t need the comma. You would know the difference by the inflection. This is just my $0.02 and I offer it for the sake of discourse.

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