Careful Buying Reptiles



Q. I purchased a Chinese water dragon from an expo vendor, but I didn’t get his list or business card. The lizard died only a couple weeks after I got it. When my father called the show promoter, he said he’d need more information to figure out who the seller is. Any idea how I might track the seller down?

J.J. Hanks
Bridgeport, Conn.


chinese water dragon

A. I’ve noticed that most sellers (but not everyone) at shows at least place business cards out for customers. One thing to do to alleviate your dilemma (in the future) would be to pick one up from anyone you chat with. Hindsight is great, eh?

If you can remember who some of the other vendors were, try contacting them and describing the mystery vendor. People in the business may recall their fellow businessmen, where they were set up and what they were selling. It is best to do this in person at the next possible show at that same venue.

If a vendor does not offer a way to contact them later, you’ve got to scratch your head and wonder why. Someone avoiding such a simple strategy might be a fly-by-night dealer not wanting the hassle of coping with unhappy customers days or weeks later.

This got me thinking. All show promoters would be displaying great wisdom if they required all their vendors to post a sign or banner in plain view at their table(s) stating their full contact information — name, address (at least city and state), telephone number and e-mail address. Even if they don’t have business cards or pricelists, that basic info should be available to show buyers so they can know from whom they’re acquiring their pets. At the next reptile show you attend, suggest this to the show’s promoter.

Sorry that my answer doesn’t help your particular case. The best I can do is to try to prevent a similar occurrence from happening again.

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