This hits home.
Being an unemployed 16-year-old, I'm a big penny pusher. My parents are divorced, so it's just my dad supporting the two of us. I am not however, going to go out and get something I can't handle just because it's cheep - I know my limits. Before I think about getting something be it an animal, instrument, craft item, whatever - I look into it and make sure I'll be able to handle it.
I mean, I knew that selling reptiles to just anyone can be bad. I knew a girl with a ball python - it wasn't full grown, but it was way to big for it's 5 gallon tank and hidey hole that my garter would have enjoyed... no heating worth mentioning. Her uncle took it away - it's doing much better now, don't worry.
Yet animal abuse is going to happen no matter what the prices are - people will save up ( I know this story..) to have these animals. Raising the prices would be an insult to people who don't make as much, but are still good keepers. I mean, come on, you can get a cat or dog for free almost anytime of year - and they'll be mistreated the same way. I think the best way to solve abuse would be Education - starting a a young age, people seem to have more respect for things they can understand.