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Old 08-29-17, 12:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Snake shipping question

So after searching for quite some time, I finally found a speckled kingsnake on kingsnake.com to purchase. The breeder lived in California (I'm in Illinois) and so he shipped it yesterday overnight and it arrived today, but was not alive. I had thought from reading on here that shipping snakes was fairly routine, does this happen with a regular frequency or was I just extremely unlucky? I would like to know before I ever try it again. Thanks.
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Old 08-29-17, 12:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

Who was the seller? There are some sellers that are notorious for shipping snakes that are DOA.

Either way, contact the seller and they should refund your money. They can go to the shipping company and get their own refund.
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Last edited by Scubadiver59; 08-29-17 at 12:59 PM..
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Old 08-29-17, 12:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

Scuba, I PM'd you the name. I don't want to call him out on a forum as I don't know that it was necessarily his fault. By all indications that I could tell, she seemed to be packaged with care. I've contacted the seller, but really I'm more disappointed about not having a snake right now than the money.
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Old 08-29-17, 01:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

Okay, I understand and agree with your decision.

It is a shame the snake didn't make it. Did the seller have the box marked fragile and that it contained a live animal? Was the snake shipped in a plastic container nestled inside a Styrofoam box for insulation? If not, did the seller put a heat pack in the box? Cargo planes can get notoriously cold--I know I've flown enough of them when in the Air Force--so if it got too cold then a snake would freeze to death.

Do you have any pictures of the packaging?

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Originally Posted by whistlepig View Post
Scuba, I PM'd you the name. I don't want to call him out on a forum as I don't know that it was necessarily his fault. By all indications that I could tell, she seemed to be packaged with care. I've contacted the seller, but really I'm more disappointed about not having a snake right now than the money.
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Old 08-29-17, 01:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

Usually they ship quite well. I've had plenty of reptiles arrive fine and I can't even pick them up right away. I have them held at the fedex facility and get them in the afternoon. However, everyone used one of the 2 reptile specific services. They do go through fedex's setup for at least the one I've had commonly used but only specific hubs and shipping routes with all the ideal materials made available from one source and predesigned for each box and reptile size.
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Old 08-29-17, 01:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

I can post pictures of the shipping later. It was a small box labeled "Perishable, handle with care" on the side. Inside, there was a Styrofoam box with the snake inside a lidded container filled with aspen (I think) shavings.

Akane, thanks for the info, I was unaware of the reptile specific services. If I ever try this again I'll ask about that.

Incidentally, I kinda do want to call the guy out now (but I won't). He told me no refund because "he knows he did nothing wrong with the packaging" and that he's never lost one before. He did tell me I can try and get the money back from FedEx, though I'm not sure how that works since I sent him the money to ship her and presumably he paid for it under his name. Lesson learned the hard way, I guess.
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Old 08-29-17, 01:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

That seems a bit weird. He should give you money back and then go after fedex himself. That's how that is supposed to work. Post a pic of the snake too if you still have it.
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Old 08-29-17, 01:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

You can do one of two things:

One, if you paid via PayPal, notify them and put in a complaint. That will hold things up and if they find in your favor they will get your money back.

Two, if you paid by credit card, you can always notify your credit card company and they can start their own investigation.

Also, next time, make the seller agree to a DOA statement that "live delivery is guaranteed".

In the meantime, if you bought it off of Kingsnake.com, go see if there is a forum you can use to voice your displeasure with the seller. I haven't used them yet, but I had planned to, so I guess that's something I will have to look into as well.

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Originally Posted by whistlepig View Post
I can post pictures of the shipping later. It was a small box labeled "Perishable, handle with care" on the side. Inside, there was a Styrofoam box with the snake inside a lidded container filled with aspen (I think) shavings.

Akane, thanks for the info, I was unaware of the reptile specific services. If I ever try this again I'll ask about that.

Incidentally, I kinda do want to call the guy out now (but I won't). He told me no refund because "he knows he did nothing wrong with the packaging" and that he's never lost one before. He did tell me I can try and get the money back from FedEx, though I'm not sure how that works since I sent him the money to ship her and presumably he paid for it under his name. Lesson learned the hard way, I guess.
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Old 08-29-17, 02:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

If they didn't use a reptile service you can make a fedex claim but I'm not sure how it works with live items sent standard fedex and it may be the seller's job to prove appropriate packaging because it's their own chosen packaging. It starts out automated on their site and you need the tracking number, any documentation of the "damaged" contents, documentation of the money you sent for it's value, and then keep the packaging at least (usually the damaged item but probably not dead bodies) because if the claim goes through they may want to inspect it. Did you use paypal? That is also frequently used at least in US to US shipping compared to other money transactions because for one you have a solid receipt of addresses and money to show if necessary and you can also issue a refund request through paypal if you submit it correctly but it does look bad to other sellers sometimes to demand a refund that way and likely you'll never get anything from that seller again. If you've got a dead reptile with no explanation or refund you probably don't want to bother with that person again and it's sometimes the correct course of action if the seller is at fault or has a guarantee in writing that they are not honoring. If there was no live arrival guarantee (provided the buyer properly picks up and handles the reptile until it is opened and proven healthy or not) it's more on the buyer to have made that choice. Personally I would not deal with someone who has no live arrival guarantee and does not file the shipping damage claim themselves if the company is most definitely at fault unless there are certain circumstances that I'd agree to up front on the shipping risk. Too many people are too casual with live animals if they have no guarantee they'll lose the money for it dying and it can be a sign they don't care about the health of the animals they are sending out if they make no guarantee. You don't know what you'll get in that case. Some sites with classifieds have a report section to at least open a dispute for others to check in the future before buying from someone and it's taken very seriously on someone's reputation but again because of that it can look bad as a buyer to complain unless you are proven without doubt to be in the right. Reputation can be won or lost fast in online interactions over reptiles.

Usually I have had people use https://shipyourreptiles.com/, which has all the supplies, specific temp requirements they honor, and specific shipping routes. Another big one is Home - Reptiles Express - Discounted Fedex Shipping Labels and Reptile Shipping Supplies for reptile specific fedex connected services. Many use such companies for US and Canada shipping instead of standard services through the shipping companies. The materials are to their standards, cut to set sizes with suggestions if you aren't knowledgeable yet, and they deal only in live reptile claims so it's easier to file a shipping problem if it happens. The only time I've considered shipping otherwise were several cent each feeder lizards in good weather because it's usually a $40 minimum through those services if we are talking a short route and small reptiles. It makes it not really worth the cost for some situations of inexpensive, short lived critters.
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Old 08-29-17, 06:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scubadiver59 View Post
In the meantime, if you bought it off of Kingsnake.com, go see if there is a forum you can use to voice your displeasure with the seller. I haven't used them yet, but I had planned to, so I guess that's something I will have to look into as well.
You can also post on Fauna Classifieds under the BOI (Board of Inquiry) which is where people go to look up a seller's reputation. You can search it to see if others have also had trouble with this person.
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Old 08-29-17, 06:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

Thanks everybody for your sage advice. If I do try to buy a snake again, I'll definitely be better prepared.

I'm not sure how far to go with this. Although I fully intended to ask if the snake would be guaranteed to be shipped alive, I also tend to be a little absentminded and that question got lost amongst the other questions I asked him before purchasing. I would definitely not have purchased had I asked and been told there was no guarantee.

For the most part the thing that bothers me the most is that I don't have a snake that I was getting pretty excited about having. I'm annoyed by the fact that I will probably not see that money again, but I don't think the seller shipped me a dead snake on purpose and the fact that I didn't ask about a guarantee is kinda my cost of being stupid. To be sure, I think when you buy a snake and pay for it, you should get it alive or be refunded, but I suppose not everyone agrees and I should have asked.

However, to make sure there's not something blatantly wrong with the shipping process I'm posting the pictures of the box, etc... below. I'll let you guys tell me if something looks off.

The box:


Inside the box:


The snake and the container it came in (dang it's pretty, I wish it had survived):

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Old 08-29-17, 07:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

Maybe it got too cold up in the air... no added heating, maybe no special shipping requirements and/or the requirements of the sender not honored by the carrier. Bit hard to lay blame. Sorry for the loss, beautiful snake. RIP :'(
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Old 08-29-17, 07:50 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

It's more likely IMO that it perished from overheating rather than cold. The cargo hold of the plane does indeed get extremely cold but the duration of the flight is short... not long enough for the cold to completely penetrate adequate insulation. FedEx planes in the US bounce from hub to hub where boxes are sorted and transferred rather than making long flights from Point A to Point B.

However the box is subjected to environmental conditions on the ground for a much longer time. So if it's hot at the receiving facility, hot on the truck(s), hot at the warehouse, etc. the snake could easily overheat if it did not have a cold pack to keep it cool. In the summer I would suspect that this was the likely cause.

Poor little worm.
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Old 08-29-17, 08:55 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

Most, if not all, respectable breeders offer a live arrival guarantee if you were home to receive the animal on the initial delivery attempt and if you report the DOA right away. If this breeder doesn't then that's very poor customer service. I'd lodge a complaint wherever I could and advise others not to make the same mistake. Sorry you lost your snake . I love speckled kings.
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Old 08-29-17, 09:12 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Snake shipping question

Compared to what I've received my snakes in, it's a piss poor styrofoam inner container. It should've been a one piece bottom with a top that fits snugly in place. The white container could've been a bit smaller for such a small snake, to make it feel more secure.

Also, that snake looks a little on the emaciated side, though it could be due to the decay process...from what I see, it looks sickly.
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