So, if you've talked to me at all lately, you know that we've had someone majorly pissing me off, due to borrowing a cage and vanishing. Let me tell you the story.
So, we had someone who was looking to adopt a chin, and was ordering cages from Quality Cage. Her cages were going to take 2 more weeks, plus some, to come in, and she asked if she could borrow a cage in the meantime. I didn't want the chin to be on hold forever, here, and we only hold for 14 days with a deposit, and I want to say, we were already getting close to that. So, I told her, we'd borrow her a cage and she could bring it back when she got her cage and got it set up. She said no problem.
So the day comes for her to adopt, she comes by. The cage I had ready to go was our Quality Cage Travel Cage, which mind you, is a $100 cage with $30 shipping to our location. But, I've lent it out a million times before and always gotten it back. It was almost funny, because this lady was literally purchasing a quality cage townhome and a travel cage, so it was like haha, you're borrowing the same cage that's going to arrive. Also, needless to say, there's no doubt she remembers she has our cage, as she now has two travel cages (hers and ours).
So, she borrows the cage and she said she would email when she got her cages in and all that, and then would come bring the cage back. She also had paid for some supplies that we did not have ready for her at that moment, so she said she would pick those up at the same time.
So, I realized, early February, that I have not heard from her, and send her an email asking how the chin's doing, and asking when we are planning to meet up for us to get the cage back and her to get her supplies. She replied that the chin was doing great, she'd send me pictures right away. Never did. Completely ignored the questions about the cage and supplies.
I re-read my email and it said something to the tune of, "I believe I have all your stuff ready," so I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, thinking maybe she wasn't sure the stuff was ready to be picked up. I checked that I really did have all of her stuff ready (which now, is packed up in a sealed bag to keep it clean), and emailed her again, this time, stating that I checked and had all of her items that she had paid for, ready for pickup, and wanted to know when worked for her to do the exchange and get the cage.
That was February 6th.
Today is February 22nd. I have not received a return email.
This past weekend, we had an expo. I guess the cage went to the back of my mind for a bit, until I started packing for the expo and realized -- I still don't have the cage. So I went and dug out her paperwork -- which was easy, because she adopted on January 1st, so first paperwork of the year. I called her up, this was Friday the 17th, and left her a message basically reminding her that she had supplies to pick up and a cage to return. I told her in the message, if I thought she would have the cage this long, I honestly would have borrowed out another cage, as we use that cage for all sorts of expos, and I told her, now I need to scrunch animals together in a cage or something so I can take one of my other cages to the expo. I asked that she call me back so we could talk about when we could work it out to get it back. That was Friday midday-ish.
So, she doesn't call me back all weekend. So, I wait until Monday, the 20th, and call again. Again, I'm perfectly nice in the phone call, just reminding that she has our cage and we have her supplies. I even mentioned how we might be in the area in the upcoming weeks (cause she's over in Ohio) and that would save her the effort of driving all the way here to make the exchange. To me, that's being exceptionally nice, considering she's supposed to have already, weeks ago, delivered the cage back to us. I also told her, I have people wanting to do trial runs that can't..... because that's the cage we use, and it's not here. It's now Wednesday and... nothing.
I even sent her an email yesterday, explaining that I called her twice, left messages. Asked if maybe she didn't get the phone calls or whatnot, because while I could understand if she can't just drop everything and come here, I feel like she could at least call back. I also called late Tuesday night as well. Same thing, no answer, left a message.
Honestly, I can't even fathom why she's not getting back to me. In one of her emails, she mentioned that she had gotten the order from quality cage, finally (beginning of Feb), so by now, they should no doubt be set up and the chin should be in the big cage. So I can't imagine why she's not getting back about the cage and supplies.
What I said to her about not being able to do trial runs because that cage isn't here... that's true. Just about every single cage we have right now is in use. We have three cages being used by the rabbit foster, and they are using one of their own cages as well. We have one cage here that's going to another foster home, so we can't lend it out just quite at this moment. And the other cage that we always should have available, with the exception being around expo time.... is the QC travel cage. When I lent it to her, I knew we had the expo in February, but I thought, oh she said we'll have it back in a week or two, no way it's going to be around end of February and we won't have it back. I was sure we'd have it back, so, that wasn't a concern. You see how that went.
Now, I know in the past, we've sued the one guy who wouldn't return a chin, and I'm sure some of you remember that. Problem with doing that in this situation is... this lady is in Ohio. Pretty sure that's outside the jurisdiction of the little small claims court, and it costs $90 just to file in small claims. It will cost more because it's out of state and "real court" -- the cage with shipping is $130. Filing may very well cost that much, if not more.
Plus, because this wasn't a typical trial run or anything like that, I don't have any signed paperwork saying that she actually has the cage. I do have emails saying, hey thanks for agreeing to borrow me a cage, but it's not quite the same.
So... at the moment, trial runs are not happening. Even in the future, I'm not sure they are going to continue. The reason being... even with the trial run contract signed, and stating the value of the items borrowed and such... with anyone out of state, it is impossibly difficult (not to mention expensive) to track down that person and get out stuff back. I don't know the exact figures, but I do know that we have a LOT of people from out of state. And even for Indiana residents, we're still looking at $90 plus time and effort to go to court, if this were to happen again, even more if out of state.
This lady has proven that if someone doesn't want me to get in contact with them, they can pretty much ignore me forever, and there's not much I can do....which is why I say this about the trial runs.
Without any cages to lend out at the moment, I don't really need to worry about the trial run program right now. But even when / if I have a cage to lend, I am seriously considering ending the trial run program. The rescue doesn't have the spare funds to be chasing after people for our stuff (nor the time), and to be perfectly honest, she seemed like a very nice, honest person... I would never have guessed for this to happen. The only way to make it so that, if someone did disappear with our stuff, that we wouldn't have to come chase them down, would be to charge enough for the trial run to cover the cost of the chin, the cage, and everything.... well, at that point, they might as well adopt. And, even if we said, ok, if it doesn't work out, we'll refund the money for all of that in 7 days... when all those "new" items are returned... no longer new... we can't sell them for nearly the same amounts, so we'd still be losing out. Most trial runs end up adoptions, but for the few that don't, we'd lose out on a lot of money as far as the new items. I even considered taking down a credit card number, which we could charge in the instance someone doesn't bring the stuff back -- but they could cancel the card the second they leave the rescue. I haven't yet come up with a nice middle ground that would actually be feasible. Most people are reasonable about this sort of thing, but sadly, it only takes one person to ruin it for everyone.
If someone has some miracle idea for how to get this lady to contact me back, or has any ideas for how to do the trial runs and not run the risk of people walking off with all of our stuff and having no good way to get it back, let me know. Otherwise, the trial runs are on hold for now.