MY EXPERIENCE WITH AQUABID: A report on my experience purchasing fish through Aquabid.
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In March of 2005, I received an email from Diana Bigger about this page. With her help, I was able to see that some of the comments I had originally made were unfair to Aquabid or could be interpreted as my warning people against using it. That was not my intention and I wish to apologize to the people who run Aquabid and the people who sell fish on this forum. Aquabid is a valuable Internet resource that enables many people to locate and purchase fish that might otherwise be unavailable to them. Besides that, it's just plain fun to place a bid on a fish and check the status every morning to see if the bid won.
I did have a few problems with my single experience with Aquabid, but these problems were the result of errors on my part, difficulties dealing with the seller from whom I got my fish, or the Paypal system. I had no problems whatsoever with the Aquabid site and enjoyed using it.
I would like to thank Diana Bigger for taking the time to work with me to make this page better and more accurate. (Thanks, Diana!)
My Aquabid Experience:
Back in 2003, someone with whom I had traded several emails about bettas sent me a link to a fish that might interest me on Aquabid. It did and I decided to place a bid, as much to see how the system worked as for the fish.
The first step was to establish an Aquabid account. This is simply a matter of giving them an email address and a password. The only confusion was that during the registration process they referred the email address as a "user name" yet when I went to log on I was asked for a: "User ID." Once I'd figured that out everything went smoothly. (I don't consider this a fault on the part of Aquabid, but rather my own for being somewhat unsavy in Internet rhetoric.)
Once in, you can search by fish type or breeder name to get a listing of the fish currently available. In addition to pictures and descriptions of the fish, information is provided on the breeder as well as comments from past purchasers. The system is similar to Ebay and as easy or easier to use.
The fish in which I was interested was from Louis Foxwell, a Florida breeder and importer with a long list of positive comments from satisfied buyers so I decided to place a bid on a male betta he called a "Pearl Cellophane." Here's a copy of the picture placed on Aquabid of this fish:
He's a beauty, don't you think? This picture is by Mr. Louis Foxwell.
The bidding works like this: The seller establishes the minimum bid he's willing to accept for the fish. In this case $15.00. I entered the maximum amount I was willing to pay, I entered $25.00. Aquabid keeps this amount a secret from the seller and only tells him or her that the lowest bid has been met. If someone else makes a higher big, Aquabid repeatedly increments my bid up to the maximum I set to make sure I stay on top. If no one outbids my maximum within the bidding period, the fish is mine. No one else bid on this fish (Why not??? He's gorgeous!) so I got him for $15.00.
It was a lot of fun checking the Aquabid site every day to see if anyone else had posted a bid and if they did, wondering whether my highest bid win the fish.
Phase two of the purchase starts with my contacting the seller. Then shipping-shock set in. Same-day express across country was $35.00 and packing was $7.50. My $15.00 fish ended up costing $57.50. But, I'm not complaining. $7.50 is cheap for the amount of materials and work involved in preparing a live fish for cross-country shipping. Also, I don't consider $35.00 for the amazing feat of door-to-door delivery of a large box in one single day to be unreasonable. I'm amazed that such a service exists at any cost!
Shipping and handling costs vary greatly from seller to seller so please don't take my example above as representative.
The seller explains how he prefers to receive his payment. Mr. Foxwell was very flexible on this but liked PayPal so I thought I'd give it a try.
I found PayPal's registration system a little confusing. (Please recall my earlier confession of being Internet-challenged.) A couple of times I made errors and had a difficult time getting back to the point where I needed to make the change and then working forward again. All this happened two years ago. Paypal may have improved it's system by now. Even if it hasn't, I have to admit that most of the problems were probably caused by my not following the instructions properly. (Note: none of these problems have anything to do with Aquabid. Paypal is a completely separate entity.)
Mr. Foxwell was very friendly and convinced me that his primary concerns were with the fish's safety and my satisfaction. He was so helpful that I ended up purchasing a second betta from him and having it sent in the same shipment. Here's what they looked like:
The fish I ordered and that was pictured above is on the left. I've named him Phantom. While he doesn't look like the picture advertising him, I wasn't surprised. Bettas are notoriously difficult fish to photograph accurately. What was a pleasant surprise was that the second fish I ordered (on the right) turned out to be even more beautiful than the picture on Mr. Foxwell's site. I've named him Snow.
What did I learn from my Aquabid experience?
First, because taking accurate pictures of fish that are to be posted on the Internet is extremely difficult, buyers should be aware that what they see may not be exactly what they receive. This is not to say that what they get will look worse. Indeed, Snow was much more attractive than he appeared in his on-line picture.
Second, it's fun checking the action status everyday to see if yours was the winning bid.
Third, it's important when getting a Paypal account to go slowly and carefully to avoid making mistakes that can confuse the application process.
Forth, research the person from who you plan to purchase a fish from. Aquabid provides extensive background information from previous customers.
Follow these guidelines and I'm sure they'll help make your Aquabid experience more enjoyable.
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