Buckeyemyrmecology.com recently scammed one of the Floridians within my community. They sold him a "Tetramorium immigrans colony with 1-14 workers". A queen with 1 worker and 0 brood arrived. Within a couple weeks, said worker was dead. The 'colony' was evidently either heavily neglected and/or brood boosted. This colony was also purchased in October, at which point they should have far, far more workers than 1.
Even if the worker had survived for more than a couple of weeks, it's insane to me that buckeyemyrmecology.com would even consider sending a colony of this health to somebody. I would hope they are educated enough antkeepers over there to know that a colony like this is knocking on death's door, but apparently not.
So, fellow antkeepers, be warned! Thanks.
Unfortunately what I have seen a lot of in the past 20 years as a vendor in this market is people using the word "scam" so easily. It's a very weighted word and often can put the nail in the proverbial coffin for a vendor. With that being said though, it's merited to so many vendors that I have seen pop up in the last 5 years alone.
Being a vendor in this type of market is the most difficult thing -- especially when you're under public fire. It's often unjustified and quite unfair -- but it's also necessary to administer quality and assurance to your customers. As a vendor, its so important to constantly be evolving your products, services (including communication) and to be putting things in the past. I can personally attest to having both good and bad business history and it's very difficult to come back from it.
However, perhaps we should see if the following criteria were met:
1) Was the colony shipped in good timing (within 5 - 10 business days of the order) .
2) Was the shipping fast & in good conditions (not too hot / too cold weather, good packing, speed of shipping 1-3 days max)
3) Did the ants arrive with a substantial amount of workers?
4) Does the seller have good backing (references of previous business, years in business, good service attitudes etc)?
5) Has the seller been in regular communication ?
In regards to this specific situation, I am actually surprised that the colony was listed as 1-14 workers and sent without brood. That's a red flag for me right off the bat. With that being said though, I'm surprised that the colony didn't raise more workers. In a few weeks, a Tetramorium colony with a queen that's lost the entirety of her first brood and sent in less-than-sub-par conditions can regrow a colony easily to 20 workers with some TLC. Nonetheless though, in this case, I would request a replacement colony for the same value from the vendor. The customer deserves that.
What I've noticed as well in the past 5-8 years is the significant decline in supplier quality, which I've been on the fence about posting as it steps on many toes. However, quality assurance for any business product needs to be equal across the board for success. I've purchased ants from suppliers that have sent ants in literal mold and I really wonder how they can justify that? Are they just looking for a quick buck? A stable building cannot rest on crumbling pillars. I have lost thousands of dollars to "testing" different supply chains here in Canada and I have been severely disappointed with the appalling quality.
What I recommend to anyone selling ants / formicariums is this, as I have learned these mistakes the hard way:
1) Always ship when you say you will.
2) If you're buying from a supplier, make sure there is a good replacement agreement in place for DOA (dead on arrival).
3) Make sure that the supplier has tons of references and photos. Request to see photos of the queens before purchasing.
4) Communication is KEY! Always be in communication.
5) Know your limits and conduct your business within it.
6) Create a review sheet to give to customers, see what areas you could have work on and always look for their feedback
I hope that you find a good resolution with this vendor, and I hope that the vendor does their due diligence this time to send a product that is of better quality. If it were me, I would reach out and send a replacement at absolutely no cost to the customer.
This market really needs a turnaround in quality.