Many die-hard hobbyists know exactly where and when the new cool stuff comes in. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to be present physically when a new shipment is unpacked. In these cases, the internet is a great thing: lots of coral dealers try to outshine their competitors with an even nicer selection of corals available.
When buying animals online, trust comes into mind: not only because you want to receive healthy animals, but also because you want to receive animals looking as expected. When buying non-living things such as computers, it is very clear what you should expect for your money.
When buying corals, especially the more exclusive what-you-see-is-what-you-get, pictures should be very clear and there should be a description of the type of light and photo-editing used to create the image. You don’t want to pay through the nose for a coral which looks fabulous in the picture and drab in your tank.
Lately, we had to wipe the drool off the keyboard to enter the numbers of our creditcard to pay for a stunning piece of Euphyllia. When the package arrived a few days later, we felt like a kid unpacking a long awaited Christmas-present. The coral was nice, but the colour was way different from the colour in the picture. No matter what we did to adjust the settings of our (multicolored LED) lights, we couldn’t get even somewhere near the fabulous colors in the picture from the webshop. We contacted the seller.
We politely inquired if the coral shipped to us might accidentally have been mixed up with another shipment. This was their reply:
“I “observed” your picture and I also asked my boss: It´s the same coral. I took the picture only under Blue light and only with this it´s looking that great and orange. I hope you are not too disappointed, maybe you find a better place in the aquarium or use other lights to present the coral better.”
As we pointed them to the fact that the egg crate in the picture was nearly white and that one might expect a premium coral for a premium price, we got an interesting response: “I talked with my colleague and he was award of this problem: we took the picture under 50% Blue and 50 % White T5- Lights. As you have LEDs, the colors can be completely different. We are sorry that we can not guarantee for colours, as it is depending on so many facts, like the light-options of your monitor etc. We are so sorry but with our light the colors of the coral looked like on the picture.”
All of a sudden 100% blue turned into 50% blue, 50% white! After one more polite request to solve the problem, we were offered to send the coral back at our expenses and our own risk. For the price paid for this coral, the difference between what we expected and what we got is way too large. The picture was deceiving, we ended up paying a premium price for an average coral. It is sad to see the vendor does not admit their mistake and does not come up with a solution both parties can agree with.
We paid our tuition fees. If possible it probably is better and more fun to make a small road-trip with fellow reefers, especially if you live in an area with lots of good fish stores. At least this option will save you from disappointments like this. The sad thing is that other online coral dealers working hard to make an honest living, might lose sales because of experiences like these.
How are your experiences ordering (WYSIWYG) corals online?