When purchasing aquarium equipment and livestock over the net, specifically from online forum sites, take multiple precautions for each transaction. For starters, research the seller and make sure he or she has a good reputation. Once you’re confident enough to pull the trigger, use a payment service like PayPal. Most aquarium keepers who are selling stuff online use it, and it’s a great way to send money for purchases. That said, it can also get you into trouble. For the best protection, document everything, use a credit card through the payment site, and never send money as a gift. Those added fees from sending money for “goods” may seem like a pain, but they add some benefit in that PayPal is willing to look at your transaction should an issue arise. After a purchase is made and money has changed hands, be sure to keep those lines of communication open with the seller. Once the item is received, double check that it made it in one piece (or alive if it’s an animal), and relay any necessary information back to the seller. If an issue arises, don’t immediately go public, but try to handle things privately. Work all channels possible, using public communications as a last resort.
Really, there are tons of different options, and we recommend taking every precaution available to ensure you have a positive experience.