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Old 05-29-04, 05:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Selling to a minor

Situation: I have been in contact with someone interested in buying a number of geckos from me. We've been emailing for the better part of a month planning when I will have the animals available and when/how I will ship them to him (out of province). During some small-talk today, he mentioned to me that he is 13 years old. I had assumed he was over 18 because he sells at shows and has a "business name". In fact, one of the questions I was going to ask him just before shipping was, "Are you 18 or older?". I do not feel comfortable selling to someone under 18, especially under 16, and especially under 16 and never met face to face. Recently there was a situation in the BOI about a minor receiving a snake and his mother complained that the animal died and they want the money back. Even if I was to get parental consent, I still feel like there are too many problems tied up in this.

Does anyone have an opinion on what you think I should do? I don't want to be a "bad businessman" since I never stated the buyer must be 18+. But I also don't feel comfortable selling to a minor.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 05-29-04, 05:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sell the geckos to his parents who will in turn give the geckos to the kid, and he will pay his parents back... so that means you would've sold the geckos to adults not to the kid.
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Old 05-29-04, 05:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've read that whole thread about the Gluhcheff's, and what a mess it's been.

If you really want to be safe, deal with the parents directly for the final part of the deal.

That way you can explain to them what is involved in the transaction, both monetarily and in the animal(s) specifically.

As someone who forged about 150 notes in junior and senior high, I can say that just getting a letter or fax won't absolve you of any responsibility. Any kid could fake one.

And a kid can also use their knowledge to misrepresent what the animal is when asking their parents if they can have them. "Mom, I want a reticulated python from this site, you can look them up under Python Regius < wink wink >. They only get to be 4 feet long! < snicker >".

Not like that will happen with Geckos, but it's just something to think of with any transaction


PS. When I was 11, I almost DID buy a reticulated python. The seller heard me telling my dad I wanted a snake in the mall, and he offered to sell it to us for 300 dollars, saying it would only grow to 4 or 5 feet, tops. Good thing my dad didn't have the money and blew him off

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Old 05-29-04, 08:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If he's a minor, I personally would not sell to them. Who needs to put themselves in the line of fire for a little cash.
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Old 05-29-04, 08:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with what mathaldo said.

I'm a bit older than him, though I would only buy animals at the EXPO or at the store.

If you don't meet them face to face, I would suggest not to sell them the animal, but sell it to his parents.

HTH and Good Luck
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Old 05-29-04, 08:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I am 15, have been selling and buying for years. Acutally most people are surprised when they see me face to face or come to my door.

I am a responsible herp owner/ starting breeder and never screw people around on deals or rip people off. Its true there are a LOT of kids out there and teens my age who have no idea what they are doing and its unfortunate, becaue it makes all of us younger people look bad.

Sell to him if you feel it is right and he knows what he is doing.
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Old 05-29-04, 09:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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While its true there are some exceptional young and capable herpers, everyone must look out for their own well being when it comes to business, and concerns about liability.
The reality is that 13 year olds, are not out on their own, paying their own keep, nor owning their own premises...
They are at home, under Mom & Dad's roof, living under Mom and Dad's rules
I agree with the other posters... Insist on making the business transaction happen between you and the parents. Speak with them directly on the phone and if it proceeds get a certified cheque(wih parents name) or major credit card on the sale
If the kid's herp interests are in fact being supported by the parents, he should have no problem involving them in the transaction.
Now if he wants it left a big secret from the parents , then that is exactly what to worry about.
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Old 05-29-04, 09:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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IMHO- it all depends on the kid and the vibe you get from him, I agree with everyone else that you should indeed have him arrange the paper work with the parents, so that your legal bill of sale is not to a minor. But if it is the welfare of the animals that worries you, I would find out from the kid what he knows about their husbandry, and quiz him a little. You dont have to sell to him if you arent comfortable with his ability to handle the animals, and that doesnt make you a bad businessman, it makes you a good one, and exactly the kind that most people look for when purchasing pets or exotics to keep.

Personally, I have been keeping exotic animals since I was a kid, and I always took it very seriously. I am 25 yrs old now, but I can honestly say that when I was 13, I would have been able to handle it, and would have been as responsible about keeping them then as I would now. The only difference is, now I have more experience, but the only way to gain it is to keep the animals.

If you get a good vibe from the kid, and he is involved to the point where he is selling in shows, then it shouldnt be a big deal. And, if he really wants the animals, then it shouldnt be a big deal for him to get his parents to be on the paperwork.

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Old 05-29-04, 09:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Good point Artemis, if your getting a bad vibe from the kid then maybe include his parents and make it VERY clear to them what the animals needs to thrive.

However I gotta admit, id be a little offended if someone wants to be speaking with my parents and need a note from them regaurding my business affairs that are going to be paid for with my own funds.

I pay for everything for my herps from vet bills, especially food and even a cut in the power-bill. I know that it isnt cheap to be running 6 heat lamps, 2 UV lights and 5 heat pads 12-24 hours a day.

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Old 05-29-04, 10:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey, if youíve been going for months and the person in question seemed reputable then I would consider it unfair too not deal with him because heís young. It looks bad on anybody if the pull out of a deal thatís been planed, for something like that. If you truly are concerned then speak with the individual and explain the situation, maybe soften it up a bit, tell him because of liability he has too have somebody of legal age too consent too the purchase. It wouldnít be hard too just tell him the deal should be fine but because you have too cover your own but you have too talk too a legal guardian. If heís been dealing with this business Iím sure he'll understand your situation. The homeowner should have a say in what is in the home. No harm in double-checking that too make sure nothings going on. But too simply cancel the action because of his age seems wrong too me a deal is a deal, and unless he deliberately was deceiving you and lying about his age, then its not his fault at all you assumed he was older, . Thatís just my 2 cents. I always like too talk too somebody if not in person then over the phone. You can tell allot about a person by how they talk age, maturity, personality, and knowledge. est. All from a phone call without actually asking any of it.
Devon

P.s, why is this in the enclosure discussion section ??

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Old 05-29-04, 10:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yes, you and Jeff are right, it could be offensive, but its all in how you play it. Its not about being militant and huffy- he just needs to express his own concern for the animals, and he can tell people point blank that he doesnt mean it offensively, its just how he does buisness. Then he can politely bring up what the animlas need, in brief, and see what their responses are... the seller can get a gauge of whether or not they will be cared for. And if you think people might be offended by that, Id have to disagree. Trust me, if you can tell the person you are about to buy from really CARES about the welfare of his animals, you wont be offended, you'll be a repeat customer.

I look for that in all the suppliers I buy from.

Only one perspective... don't sweat it too much!

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Old 05-30-04, 12:23 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks all. First off, I posted this in the General Enclosures section because I'm stupid. I thought it read "General Discussion" :P Oops! If a mod can move it that's good.

It's hard to say whether I think he is capable. He tells me he is breeding all kinds of morphs of this gecko (they are bibrons geckos, btw). I didn't know there even were different morphs possible. He named all kinds of leo-type morphs but with bibrons. It sounded weird but since they breed so easily I figured anything is possible. He even emailed me to tell me he just hatched an albino bibrons. I congratulated him (although I didn't believe it) and told him to send me some pics. He said he would. He hasn't sent them. Then he proceded to tell me he has only really been breeding them since last August. I don't think you can get all those morphs in under a year.

I then had a lengthy discussion with him that the bibrons geckos we keep in captivity are actually Turner's geckos since it is illegal to export true bibrons from South Africa (where they are isolated). He told me he was sure he had bibrons. I showed him pics and articles but he told me he was positive he had bibrons. He got them before the "ban". As he is a breeder I figured he had to be telling the truth. What do I know? I thought this unlikely but anything is possible I suppose. I told him I positively have turner's gex but that they may cross with bibrons (no guarantee). He said that's fine while personally, I would have said, "Sorry, no sale if I'm not getting breedable animals." But who am I to say no if he's willing to accept this responsibility?

He told me he currently has 64 bibrons he is breeding and wanted to increase the gene pool of his bibrons by adding 15 of mine. I told him that all 15 of mine are related paternally (I'm not sure if I told him the mothers are most likely sisters but I did tell him I bought them at the same time). He didn't have a problem with that even though, to me, 15 brothers/sisters, half-brothers/sisters isn't increasing the gene pool too much but who am I to argue?

Well, I suppose he could take care of them properly. They aren't difficult to care for and make a good first gecko. But now I'm wondering if he's stretching the truth and that doesn't make me feel any better. He told me he spends upwards of $250 a month on food for the geckos. I'm sorry but Bibrons do not bring in a large income, especially at $20 a gecko and how is a 13 year old getting $250 a month? I can't even afford that and I'm close to 30!

OMG, this reeks of something and I am feeling more and more uncomfortable after writing this post.

Devon: We have only been discussing the sale for about 25 days. It hasn't been months and months. I don't know if that changes your opinion
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Old 05-30-04, 11:09 AM   #13 (permalink)
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that sounds a little shady I dont think I would sell them to him, I would just state to him that you don't believe he is telling the truth, if he lives close then try to arrange a meeting with his parents as cruciform said its very easy to forge a note or even talk with a really deep voice on the phone if he says he cant or doesnt live close enough then I dont think i would sell I mean he's already lied to you once.....you shouldn't feel obligated to sell to somone who you dont believe is capable of raising the animals
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Old 05-30-04, 11:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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It's always going to be incognito via selling on the net! As well as the rip-offs that go with it as well ( people selling reptiles via a pic when the reptile arives it's nothing like in the pics if it even arrives at all) as long as people do the transactions via the internet vs, going to your local reptile dealer. When someone comes in my store my first impulse is to SELL! but! not at any cost!... When i was new to the business i would have sold and did sell to children under 14 and never to children under 12. In the end i had more angry parents then i had happy ones as they had no clue there son was bringing home a snake! I never really realized the consequences until one day a father of a boy i sold a ball python to said "well son!" guess you lost 125$ because your leting the snake go! It was then i had realized what possibly could happen to my reptiles by doing so..... I have a sign at the cash these days not selling to children under the age of 18 unless acompanied by an adult and that's a parent not friend of the family or some guy the kid just paid 5 bucks outside the door to say that this boy/girls there son. I ask for i.d believe it or not or a home number where i can call to confirm the parents are aware as well. I also look at how the child handles the reptile because i have had some want to buy a snake just to have one and did'nt even have a clue about what they were buying and obviously would'nt care for the snake as well as you or i would. Best advice is to make up a contract between the buyer and seller and have both the adult and child sign it as well as some care sheets to follow it only takes a few seconds to print off some sheets for your client instead of trying to sell them booklets on the how to etc.... I guess it all lays in the hands of the reptile dealers to inform these new clients about the proper care for the reptile they just bought and not up to the customer. Anyone can sell a snake and be done with it and on to the next me personaly i love hearing how the snakes doing it's habits how it's feeding etc. I also spend the time to talk to a customer and not rush them out the door because another sales waiting. I sold a texas rat snake pair to a 13 yr old 3 yrs ago he came back and bought 6 more within the year he bought the first 2 .... I now buy all my ratsnakes from him as he is now breeding them and very responsible...... we can't judge someone on there age as some 13 yr olds take better care of there reptiles then alot of adults i have sold to. Thanks for reading hope it makes some think. My opinion is if the parents are aware and the child shows real signs of interest in the paticular reptile chances are there going to keep that reptile well and safe for years to come and may even show up on your door one day as a breeder as one has with me, This child has also produced me some amazing corns as well. I would just talk to his parents i am sure they are aware but make sure anyways it's safer for you in the end!!! as well as the reptile!!!!!!!
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Old 05-30-04, 12:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hey, I must have misread the original post I understood it as longer then that. And if his story changes as you said it has then that would give you reason not too trust him and too pull out. If true "bibrons geckos" cannot be exported and he said he has that many of them would that not be a bit unbelievable? If its something that hard too get into captivity then not too sound offensive but how did somebody that young end up with them?? There are a few other things you mentioned that would make me doubt him, such as spending 250 a month, anybody ho can keep that large of a colonies would breed there own insects would they not ?? I only have one insect eating animal (ha ha makes me sound small, I donít keep geckos right now mostly boids) and even I breed my own insects. As soon as he changed his story he discredited himself. Now it may be all very true, no matter how doubtful but I would definitely let him know heís too young for you too sell too without parental consent. Still soften it up say its just a necessary thing you have too do ect ect . And then verify his story, I have also never heard of bibrons morphs. But like I said Iím not that into geckos. Nobody will blame you for being responsible and talking too the parents. Especially if the stories changed, and if the buyer really needs too add new blood (even if its with geckos that are related??) he wont argue with a simple phone call would he? The other thing I would do is start to through in the odd question too verify his stories, donít flat out question him, but everything can be checked without seeming like you donít belive him. Just act really interested in everything heís saying. Ask him if he knows where it was he got his ďtrue bibronsĒ because you might be interested in a few, ask if heíd be willing too sell maybe trade, you donít have too actually follow through just one lengthy e-mail too see how he responds. Ask about his ďtricks of the tradeĒ Breeding info, where he found morphs and if heís willing too sell some. What sort of incubator mix a few questions like that and a few you already know the answers too, and then a bunch of other just talking so its not just all questions. And see how he reacts. Also when did exporting bibrons become banned ? you could ask him (since he got them before the ban) and then e-mail the CITES and verify it, couldnít have been long ago if heís only 13. Iím not a deceitful person, but some situations call for a bit of that sort of thing. Ha ha ha .Good luck, seems like youíre in an annoying situation.
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