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By hungry carnivores
#369114
Hey all, since people have been talking lots about DOA scams etc. I have compiled and added my own advice for this trading-guide.

I. Trading Overview
Trading is one of the most frequent activities I do, since I don't enjoy spending too much money on overpriced plants from retailers. (Not small stores like FTS, I love you all).

Trading's advantages:
- Trading allows both parties to be satisfied with what they get.
- Minimal cost
- Get rid of propagated plants/basals/plants you don't want and replace with plants you do want.
- Often WYSIWYG

Trading's disadvantages:
- Third-party trades become mucky, more on this later.
- Trades can easily be scammed, especially when untracked.
- Traders can include less of what they promise.
- Trades are harder to re-compensate than sales.

Trading, I find to be one of the more rewarding ways to acquire carnivorous plants. Trading utrics, helis, and neps, as well as other species, is best done when you have many copies of that same species around, and you feel like obtaining some new species. This is an excellent way to trade a division of a heli for a division of another heli, for example. I love to trade, since it is the easiest way to get beautiful plants in your grow-chamber.

SASE's

Seeds and cuttings are easily traded via SASE, self-addressed-stamped-envelope. Be sure to send the SASE with your end of the deal inside, apply non-machinable postage on both envelopes, and voila! You will have seeds/gemmae/cuttings in no time. If you are feeling like you may be scammed (or your sixth-sense gets triggered), then ask instead of SASE, for both parties to send their shipments simultaneously in their own envelopes.

Boxes

Boxes are a good way to trade as well, both UPS and USPS have great prices and services. I find USPS to be a little more on-time with priority and first-class boxes, I have even shipped boxes with stamps that arrive just fine. Postage can be covered by each person, or by one person for both ends if that is part of the deal. Enclose your plants in the box, and pack tightly. One test I do before shipping is to shake the box. If you hear ANYTHING, you must re-pack. Shifting is what damages plants.


Cautions and remedies

If you are suspicious of a new person, have them send their end of the trade first. If they are unwilling to do so, call the trade off.

Third-party trades should be avoided. I used to do these a lot, over 15 of them. The principle is easy: sell a plant to an internet friend/follower, and have them send the money to another grower, who sends you a box. However, I had a trade break down after bad communication, and it's just too many people to wrangle. The more people in a deal, the more likely it is to go south. If you must include a third-party, I suggest a group-chat or some way of talking to everybody. Communication is key.

DOA: If a species is DOA in a trade, and the box you received is not DOA, it is your responsibility to ship it, only if the recipient asks for it. It is up to you to negotiate who pays shipping the second time.

Sale overview

Sales are straightforward - plants, seeds, or other things in a box, for money in return.

Key advantages:
- Money is universal, you can do whatever with what you get
- It is often easier to negotiate than trade
- Less involvement is required for both parties than a trade

Key disadvantages:
- Scams are very easy with money
- Refundable items can cause problems
- DOA scams.

Shipment:
When selling boxes, it is very easy to create a label for yourself, but I find it good to ask the buyer to create a label and email it to you, not charging shipping on the plants but having the buyer pay for shipping up-front. This serves as a deposit, and a scammer is much less likely to scam once they have spent 15 USD for shipping.

Envelopes and SASE can be sent as normal

Problems and amelioration

Sometimes, something called a DOA (Death on arrival) scam can take place, in which a buyer claims that the plants have arrived dead or mangled on arrival. This is especially dangerous in moderated environments like Ebay, where the DOA scam can rob you of your money. It is important to state Refunds, returns, and replacements will be granted at the discretion of the seller, or any other disclaimer, to avoid getting such scammers. I have been scammed thrice in DOA scams, with gemmae (twice), and sarracenias (once). Small, perishable items are very easy to DOA. You can also tell a person to ask the post office for a refund, as priority mail comes with $50 insurance. This helps a lot.

If you, the buyer, is suspicious of a sale, use Paypal, and add 3%, do not use friends and family. That way, you can dispute the payment and get your money back if something happens.

COMMUNICATION
I am including this just because communication is key. Document what goes into a box, take a picture with the flaps open and with the shipping label clearly in sight. Try to stick a non-identifiable body part, like a hand, arm, or leg, in the photo, so that the person knows you are not faking with an internet photo, this has helped me a lot, when I was establishing my credibility. Save all photos in a folder.

I find it good to gather information on everybody I trade with. For example, one of the first trades I did was with Nepenthes0260. I put his information into a spreadsheet saying his name, method of contact, handle, contents of the trade (his end), contents of the trade (my end), and his address. This has helped me remember and keep records, so I don't get any surprises in the future. It also helps to know what I have exchanged. If any issue arises, append the spreadsheet and put what exactly was claimed. If necessary, on a forum, Pm a mod if something happens, sometimes having a referee helps moderate conflict.

Send images (It's easier on instagram), liberally, if not, describe well what you are shipping.

Confirming a trade:
Before you confirm a trade, pm the other person in the following format.
Your end:
N. XXXX
H. XXXX
S. XXXX

My end:
N. XXXX
D. XXXX
U. XXX.
Then, have them repeat this back to you to confirm. If anything arises, fix it.

Once you are at an agreement, ask if you are ready to 'lock and confirm' the trade, and prepare your boxes. This is key, to ensure that everybody gets what they want.

Laws and legal restrictions

CITES plants: Be incredibly careful shipping across state borders. It is technically illegal to ship seeds, propagules, cuttings, or plants, of anything on Appendix I across state lines. Be cognizant of selling CITES restricted plants on any platforms. For trades, there is a little more leeway, but try to confirm that what you are sending is legal.

If your box leaks, the USPS will throw it out or burn it. Ensure plants do not leak, by bagging them several times.

Aquatic utricularia should be shipped in test -tubes or centrifuge tubes, capped and sealed, and double bagged (in compliance with state laws). This means that they should be filled with clean water, not habitat water. The laws surrounding pond health are very strict.

Do not ship infested plants. It's bad for all parties involved. You are shipping a bad plant, the recipient receives a contaminated plant that they have to treat. Instead, before shipping, if you discover pests, spray a systemic Acephate or Imidacloprid about a week prior to shipping. It should be enough to kill all of the insects.

Etiquette

Be nice. Say please. Thank a person for their offer. You know, treat people nicely.


I hope this clears up any problems or questions.

Sources aggregated from CITES, USDA, USPS, Ebay, My experience, FTC posts.
Panman liked this
By jose
Posts:  154
Joined:  Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:18 pm
#369118
Making a suspicious trader send their package first might make them suspicious.

On the CITES 1 plants they can be shipped without issue across state lines - just not internationally. It’s plants on the US endangered species list like S. oreophila which is the issue. At the same time there’s loopholes around this like sending the plant for free (does a trade qualify as free...?)
Supercazzola liked this
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By Apollyon
Location: 
Posts:  1198
Joined:  Tue May 05, 2020 2:49 am
#369123
I think they prohibit trade though I've heard that if they're sent a plant as a "gift" or "without their knowledge" without any kind of transaction taking place for the plant in question then it is legal.
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By sanguinearocks101
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Posts:  1657
Joined:  Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:56 am
#369133
jose wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:05 pm Making a suspicious trader send their package first might make them suspicious.

On the CITES 1 plants they can be shipped without issue across state lines - just not internationally. It’s plants on the US endangered species list like S. oreophila which is the issue. At the same time there’s loopholes around this like sending the plant for free (does a trade qualify as free...?)
From what I’ve heard trades do not qualify as free as the sender is receiving an item.
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By sanguinearocks101
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Posts:  1657
Joined:  Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:56 am
#369162
hungry carnivores wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:21 pm When selling boxes, it is very easy to create a label for yourself, but I find it good to ask the buyer to create a label and email it to you, not charging shipping on the plants but having the buyer pay for shipping up-front. This serves as a deposit, and a scammer is much less likely to scam once they have spent 15 USD for shipping.
When we wanted to trade you asking me to make you a shipping label made me very suspicious and was one of the key factors in me deciding not to trade. I’m thinking about making a thread where people post about their experience trading with me, providing future traders with a way to know I’m trustworthy.
By hungry carnivores
#369167
sanguinearocks101 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:50 pm
hungry carnivores wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:21 pm When selling boxes, it is very easy to create a label for yourself, but I find it good to ask the buyer to create a label and email it to you, not charging shipping on the plants but having the buyer pay for shipping up-front. This serves as a deposit, and a scammer is much less likely to scam once they have spent 15 USD for shipping.
When we wanted to trade you asking me to make you a shipping label made me very suspicious and was one of the key factors in me deciding not to trade. I’m thinking about making a thread where people post about their experience trading with me, providing future traders with a way to know I’m trustworthy.
LOL it actually wasn't your trustworthiness. It was because, being a HS student, I have trouble making lables.
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By Apollyon
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Posts:  1198
Joined:  Tue May 05, 2020 2:49 am
#369175
Trading is a trust game in general. I've traded or had transactions with a few people on here and so far I've been luckier than most. It's important to cover bases. Personally, when I trade I use priority mail because I don't want the plants to get pushed off or delayed. I provide a tracking number just the same as if I'm selling something. It always got to me how people can intentionally snake plants from people they talk to all the time or try to pull some sketchy stuff. Trading is one of the most interesting parts of our hobby and it's exciting. It's a shame scumbags try to poison it from time to time. Honestly though, on this forum there are a lot of good, honest people who are in it for the same reason. It's a big part of why I use it all the time.

Honestly though, I can see where @sanguinearocks101 is coming from. I'd be reluctant to trade if I was asked to provide my plant and a shipping label to send it over in the hopes a person will send me back something in good faith. That is because other people do the same thing I do on their end. If it was something I had plenty of or something inexpensive, I'd probably give it a try because I don't want to close the door on people and their hobbies but I wouldn't send an eden black on those terms.

@sanguinearocks101, I'm getting into selling some plants myself and have a couple orders going out tomorrow from some people on the forum. I'm going to ask them if they'd be kind enough to post a comment on their experience on the OP so people who look at it can feel more secure about purchasing from me. People like you and I are active on this forum so that helps but it'd be good for new people or people who are infrequent. Just an idea. Good luck man!
By Tigerscott79
Posts:  49
Joined:  Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:14 pm
#372302
Should also add becarful of us mail eating trades in xmas time. Sucks but seems to happened alot this year in many plant groups on fb and to me on here. Not sellers fault ik nor buyers just unlucky experience. Great write up. Paypal often takes care of any such issues that arise (only when buisness not friends and family) but when cash only its what it is. Again not blaming just happens. Interesting read though.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

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By ChefDean
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Posts:  3850
Joined:  Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:44 am
#372303
Apollyon wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:54 pm I think they prohibit trade though I've heard that if they're sent a plant as a "gift" or "without their knowledge" without any kind of transaction taking place for the plant in question then it is legal.
From what I understand, and what I have experienced, this is correct.
Above all, it must be cultivated, not from the wild. However, if you trade for it, or purchase it specifically, then it cannot cross state lines. You can trade or sell a CITES I plant (its parts, seeds, etc.) as long as the sender and recipient are in the same state and the plant is cultivated by the sender/seller.
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By Panman
Location: 
Posts:  2099
Joined:  Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:41 pm
#372307
ChefDean wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 3:25 pm However, if you trade for it, or purchase it specifically, then it cannot cross state lines. You can trade or sell a CITES I plant (its parts, seeds, etc.) as long as the sender and recipient are in the same state and the plant is cultivated by the sender/seller.
Any idea how shipping comes into play on this?
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By Apollyon
Location: 
Posts:  1198
Joined:  Tue May 05, 2020 2:49 am
#372308
Panman wrote:
ChefDean wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 3:25 pm However, if you trade for it, or purchase it specifically, then it cannot cross state lines. You can trade or sell a CITES I plant (its parts, seeds, etc.) as long as the sender and recipient are in the same state and the plant is cultivated by the sender/seller.
Any idea how shipping comes into play on this?
Shipping the plant is the same story. If it is received/sent as a gift then there are no issues with sending it across state lines. Only becomes an issue if it is used to barter for something else. I recently received a plant that qualifies. I read more about this when the thread was made and did a little research into other's experiences.

If you mean if the recipient pays for shipping, I wouldn't think there'd be an issue because they'd have a hard time proving anything, particularly if it is sent F&F.
Last edited by Apollyon on Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By ChefDean
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Posts:  3850
Joined:  Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:44 am
#372309
Panman wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:33 pm
ChefDean wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 3:25 pm However, if you trade for it, or purchase it specifically, then it cannot cross state lines. You can trade or sell a CITES I plant (its parts, seeds, etc.) as long as the sender and recipient are in the same state and the plant is cultivated by the sender/seller.
Any idea how shipping comes into play on this?
If I sent you a division of my Oreophila, I would have to pay for everything about it. You could not send anything in exchange. No money, no plants, no firstborn, nothing, because it crosses state lines.
However, if you were to move to Knoxville or Chattanooga, I could sell it to you for an outrageous price, charge triple for shipping, or accept a brand new Hyundai Kona in exchange because it doesn't cross state lines.
As long as the recipient doesn't pay or exchange anything of value for a cultivated plant listed on CITES I, it can be sent.
Apollyon liked this
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By Apollyon
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Posts:  1198
Joined:  Tue May 05, 2020 2:49 am
#372310
No firstborn lmao. How about the Right of Surprise?

Interesting though, the loopholes are whack. I can understand the attempts they make but they couldn't stop someone from sending a 50 dollar gift on paypal without documentation and then receiving a free plant in the mail.

For a while there, Meadowview had a license for their plants but that apparently expired. Spoke with a Sarr supplier one time and he explained there were a ridiculous amount of hoops to jump through to be licensed. Kind of a shame because there are enough cultivated plants now to supply the hobby without ever being a threat to their environment.
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By Panman
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Posts:  2099
Joined:  Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:41 pm
#372315
The reason that I am so curious about shipping is that there may, some day, some how, be a possible plant purported to be listed as CITES that could, possibly, show up as a prize somewhere. I guess it may have to be a superdy duper prize and include shipping. @Matt
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By ChefDean
Location: 
Posts:  3850
Joined:  Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:44 am
#372319
That's another aspect to consider, if it is given away as a prize in a contest or awarded in a 1. You, 2. Not you, 3. The next guy giveaway. I think (but I'm not a lawyer or agent for USDA) it would still be allowed as long as the plant is, 1) cultivated by the sender, and 2) nothing of value exchanges hands from the recipient to the sender.
This has become an interesting thread. Having received a CITES I plant before, and planning on giving away seeds and/or divisions if I get them, I think I'll dig deeper when I get an opportunity.
Apollyon, PhilM liked this
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