||Our new policies for Tank Maintenance Clients and other "Middlemen"|
We understand business at Shark Supply LLC.
Therefore, if you want to stay in the middle we respect that. You
simply need to choose one of the following options. ALL will
require a written purchase agreement. ALL leave you squarely in
the middle and solely responsible for all problems and loses, financial
and stock. You will be the one to pay for replacement animals and
refund money if your client bails on YOUR deal, is unhappy with the
outcome, etc. That is the risk involved in being the middleman.
You get paid to do nothing but take risks.
Option 1. You let us speak with you and your client on a conference call during the DECISION MAKING period. In that call we will discuss the issues involved in species selection as well as system adequacy. We will insure that they understand the risks, system requirements, availability schedule and delivery options before they decide and place an order. You should tell us ahead of time if you are doing the billing or if they will receive the bill. We honor your right to mark up prices and prefer not to discuss prices with your clients when working for you. However, if you are marking up our prices and reselling, you will have to handle all client invoicing. Whether we bill directly or bill you, a 50/50 (50% down, balance before shipment) deposit may be an option. Some orders will always require 100% upfront payment such as imports and third party acquisition. You can request a 60 day non-circumvent agreement if agreed upon by your client in writing.
Option 2. You keep us completely in the dark. You make the purchase and do not share our information with your client (even though they can find us with a single internet search). In this option, you may not use our name or say that we are the supplier of your animals. If something goes wrong, that is your sole responsibility and liability. In fact, that will be expressly written in the sales contract you will have to sign for the order. You will be responsible for ALL client billing. We will only invoice you not your client. Some of you buyers already use this option and understand the risks. This explanation is not for you but for new clients. As you prior clients already know, we respect your privacy and your third party sales and appreciate your professionalism in accepting your portion of the risks involved in being middlemen. You also know that when you identify your buyer to us, we have not circumvented you nor solicited their business directly. However, new clients be advised, if you do not tell us your clients' name and they buy directly from us or request a bid for their purchase, we are not responsible for any problems that may result. We cannot know that they are your buyer if you have not identified them to us. With this option, the standard 50/50 deposit applies in most cases except imports and some other rare cases.
Regardless of the option you choose, ALL middlemen including brokers must maintain the highest level of honesty with their buyer. Middlemen found to be lying to their clients or otherwise materially misrepresenting the facts about the order we are supplying will be penalized according to the provisions of the sales contract. And, all must know up front that if we find that they are lying to their client, we will inform their client of the deception whenever possible. With option 2, we will document the deception and hold such evidence against any action brought forward by your client as we will not know your client at the time of sale. This is the only ethical way to do business. Honesty protects all parties involved in a sale.
We have long supplied sharks, rays and fishes to tank maintenance companies and agents for celebrities, companies, and private aquarists. Many sales went well. Nevertheless, we have experienced a myriad of problems and headaches caused by some middlemen that we are now moving to eliminate. Therefore as of October 2016, we are implementing these new policies for tank maintenance buyers, brokers and any other "middlemen". The definition of this category is ANYONE who is buying for their own client or other third party for whom they are not a curator or fulltime employee. Why are we doing this?
While some would accuse us of not having good customer service because we don't have time to spoon feed tank maintenance men who should know enough about an animal before ordering it, we do care about all of our clients including those we never know personally. We do provide service after the sale but not daily update and tank maintenance advice. (THAT'S YOUR JOB, NOT OURS, TANK BUILDERS AND MAINTENANCE GUYS, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU DON'T CONSULT US ON CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS BEFORE THE BUILD!!!) We care about the fish we sell especially our sharks. We have spent MANY HOURS over the YEARS (apparently wasting our time) putting out the most information about making a shark or ray purchase of ANY SITE ON THE INTERNET in order for buyers to make properly informed decisions and plans! We have the most warnings and criteria and presale information available of any other company in the world on sharks. We are up front about most of the problems and risks and decisions that you have to make. You are supposed to share ALL OF THAT information with your clients.
HONESTLY, the best advice to middlemen on sharks is DO NOT BE A MIDDLEMAN! You are best served (given the inherent fragility and problems associated with the shipment and acclimation of sharks) to introduce us directly to your client and BOW OUT OF THE SALE PROCESS! Vet us, do your due diligence, THEN, get out of the way and let us deal directly with your client based on your goals and theirs for their system and species composition. WHY??? In this way, if there is any problem, you have no liability and are not responsible! They made the decision to buy from us and they will be in the driver seat. You have no excuses to make and no concerns about losing their account as you are not responsible for anything. However, if you stay the middleman for whatever reason, you are the one who must take the fall when you disregard our warnings and instructions and you kill our shark or your client cancels the order because you did not keep it real with them and keep them completely in the loop. Middlemen get paid to take the risks and try and keep your clients happy. That is not our job if a middleman is involved in a sale. One of the biggest problems in the aquarium trade is unreal buyer expectations.
We have had a tank guy lie to their customer about stock we were acquiring for them from a trusted third party. It was a rare fish and collection would not work given their client's UNREALISTIC timetable for delivery. We managed to locate the monster fish in time but the middleman did not explain to his client that payment had to be immediate or someone else would buy the fish out from under us. (We DO NOT spend our own money buying things on a whim for you or your customers for this very reason.) When the buyer took over a week to pay, you know the rest, by the time we got paid and sent the money, the monster fish was gone. We missed out on this one in a million shot at having an acceptable specimen from the client's short list within 6 inches of his size requirements. However, the middleman, to cover his own butt, lied to his client claiming that the fish was sick rather than tell his client, "This is what happens when you drag butt on sending the money on a specialty item." So, instead of his client learning a valuable lesson and starting to be more realistic in his expectations, it looked like we were idiots and were about to buy a sick animal and sell it to him. Unacceptable.
One tank building company bilked their client for over $100,000 for a tank that was not proper for sharks. They misrepresented the dimensions to us and refused to send a picture before shipment. When all the sharks died in 24 hours, we demanded full disclosure on the system and found out that it was 8 feet deep but not 8 feet wide! It was a glorified reef tank and their customer had gotten screwed not only on the tank but on the dead sharks. The middlemen pushed us for more sharks. We, rightly, refused to sell them any more obligate swimmers for that glorified reef tank (not shark tank). They were upset with us as they were forced to explain the truth to their client. We were quite disturbed but learned to stick to our "photo first" policy on obligate swimmer shark sales. Just because you have seen an episode of "Tanked", it does not mean you are qualified to design or build a shark tank.
Another tank maintenance guy killed 6 sharks because he disregarded ALL the information on this site about the tank requirements for that species and our "on the phone" instructions for acclimation and tank requirements. We had sent 2 extra that were backups that he could keep as this was a celebrity tank and we could not afford any last minute complications. Instead of placing them directly and safely into the client tank that was proper size, he took them to his store and placed them into a vat. ALL the sharks were killed and we all know who took the blame for his incompetence. We had a newbee allow his client to pick the sharks for an inadequate system on another order and bill directly from us. The sharks died because of an inadequate system as we could have told his client directly but again, you can guess who got blamed especially as we direct billed. We also had one middleman making more money than us on the direct billing drop an entire order on us without paying because he begged off the deposit using another order to cover it. Needless to say, we won't be direct billing for middlemen EVER AGAIN!