ECR Contest and Review

My betta Neptune in my Halloween ECR contest tank.
I recently participated in the EastCoastRanchu Halloween Giveaway on Instagram where I was one of several runners-up which meant that I won a pet shop grade ranchu however, it was not stated that we would be having to pay shipping costs for a ranchu which according to ECR's owner Cynthia was going to be $41+. Below you'll see the ECR contest rules.
Click Image to Enlarge ECR's Contest Rules
Unfortunately, I didn't agree with that because for one thing I'm not spending that kind of money on a fish I'm not picking out, and secondly I have spent around $50 total (if I remember correctly) on 1 fish I picked out. The other issue now is I can get a pet shop grade ranchu for $8-20 at an LPS less than an hour from me (the same place I got my previous 3 ranchu from). While I was super excited to have won a ranchu from ECR I am now left feeling disappointed. If I totaled up the full value of my entire betta setup (as seen above), it is very easily more money than that of the ranchu's shipping cost. On just the new decorations I spent to decorate this tank for the contest was at least $30.

Furthermore, I had other people on IG reach out to me about the shipping issue (since Cynthia made an issue about my ordeal with her shipping "mechanics" over social media which went as far as to say that we should have read her shipping mechanics on Facebook, and never once were we directed on IG to do as such for the competition). This person also sent me screenshots of their e-mail conversation and apparently if you didn't win a ranchu and you won a Python vacuum than you did not have to pay anything for shipping. Last I checked a gravel vacuum does not fit into an envelope which means it costs something to ship and therefore it seems to people in this contest that it was a better deal to not be a winner or runner-up. So this now becomes a bit confusing because on one hand we were to assume that a fish meant you paid for shipping while a non-fish prize meant you paid for nothing.

On top of everything I get a really rude e-mail response from East Coast Ranchu's owner Cynthia, and now I will no longer be doing or recommending future business there (you can read our email exchange below as to why). I really can't even believe that someone running a business would say that "my name is worth more than your $42" and suggesting that I am "poor" when I have purchased fish through her before. Nor was I ever "ungrateful", I was excited to win (you can tell from my email) just as much as when I was excited and appreciative in my unboxing ranchu video I did about 2 years back. She made a lot of weird rude assumptions about everything that I said, I really just don't even understand this aggressive type of behavior. I could easily say a lot of things right now about this but I'm going to let you decide for yourself what to make of it. All she ever had to say to my response about not wanting the fish was that she respects my decision and leave it at that, or she could have offered me the completely free gravel vacuum instead and offer my fish to someone else. If this was some great pet shop grade fish than why not just sell it like she does normally, or tell me that if I'm willing to spend an extra $8 or so more that she'll let me pick out whatever fish I want (this is a business after all, right?). I don't see how I am really inconveniencing her here (it's one less fish she has to send out after all), and she made this ordeal feel like a scam. This whole situation turned into a nightmare experience (fitting for Halloween).
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Click to Enlarge

There are other fish places online that offer $29.99-$35 for 1 to 2 day shipping of fish, or even free shipping when you spend $175. There are also plenty of other people selling quality fish online (cost is not an issue for me. I work on this blog in my free time between working a full time job and going to college). For me I am currently in fish keeping for the enjoyment of the fish not their show or breeding qualities. I have bred fish before and I know all the work that goes into caring/raising any type of fish, which is basically why I created this blog to begin with. I am here to try and better the fish community, and not to act as if I am above everyone else that is into this hobby as well.


Anonymous said...

Besides the fact that 41 is extremely high shipping cost, the fish could be mailed Priority 2 day shipping for half of that or less. When you have a giveaway you have to cover the costs or state them up front.

I have had issues with rudeness from ECR as well, and never will purchase from them too. I would never recommend buying from anyone with such a poor attitude and low standards for customer service. >:(

Guppy-Guide said...

Thank you for your comment, I know for a fact that you and I are not alone in our ECR experience as others have also reached out to myself about similar ordeals with the ECR owner. It makes me sad because at one point I had felt I could bounce ideas off of her, or ask for things like goldfish advice (I even suggested going to help her, which at the time would have been totally possible for myself since I had flight benefits from my job). She had even sent me a Ranchu for free before which was really awesome. So I really don't know why I had to go through that ordeal, I explained my experience in this post and showed proof about my entire experience with this. I can't imagine running any business the way she has chosen to. I have not heard nor spoken to her since that whole ordeal. I would never want anyone else to go through the experience I did, it was completely uncalled for, and I felt like I was nothing but nice to her.. But I am not someone who is going to let someone else walk all over me, especially when I feel I'm not in the wrong here.

Anonymous said...

I just found your page while looking​ up reviews of ECR and this review fits my experience. Cynthia can be pretty abrasive in emails at times and even insulting. Good with fish but people maybe not so much. I'll buy elsware.....

Anonymous said...

She has a crazy rant on her website. She seems like she has anger issues.

Guppy-Guide said...

Actually, I just saw she does now have a website which I'm pretty certain she didn't before. Also, I suppose it's her "Difficult Customers" under the "Misc" bar that you were referring to.

That's a total joke because she was the one who treated me badly (as shown in this post). If I sold goldfish for like $50+ in the US than I would be much nicer to people especially if you're complaining about how it isn't profitable for you (like on her website currently). Anyone can go get a goldfish for less than $10, not the break the bank, and still enjoy the hobby (we all started somewhere). Not to mention I've bought decent goldfish all the way across the US and it cost me much less than her prices and she's only a few states away from me. The only people who are spending that kind of money on fish are those that are very into the hobby, myself included, and from my experience there aren't that many people in the US that are willing to spend that on a goldfish (I tend to get a lot of eye-rolls when people find out that aquariums are a huge interest for myself).

Not to mention she is dealing with people of all ages and talking to everyone in this manner. I'm in my 30's, I'm pretty sure Cynthia has the same communication degree I'm working on currently which means she should be able to communicate better, and she possibly went through a PR course as well.

Also, how can you even remotely complain about what you do when you chose to do all this work knowing that anyone can go down the street and get a goldfish for pocket change (sure you compensate on quaility, etc but as she said it's not the most profitable business to be in, at least not here in the US from what I've seen).

Nor am I someone who wanted something for nothing (I have bought from her in the past and money was never an issue) but if you have a contest stating free whatever... it should be just that. Also, no one should be attacked for asking questions regarding something like a contest she held nor pushing me to have to buy from her as an end result (no one was paying any shipping for a gravel vacc they won for free). Don't tack on some shipping cost that costs just as much if I had picked out my own fish from ECR. Also having done transactions through Paypal before they don't take THAT much money from you.

In the end, do your research before you get serious about buying fish from people online, and I'm sure that's why all of you who comment have read this post. The hobby should be fun, the sellers should be helpful esp if it's your own business and you're your own customer service. If the customer isn't happy you don't need to make some shady disclaimer about it on your site, be an adult, be a professional, and if you really enjoy something don't contradict yourself. Enjoying the hobby is helping others and that's what I try to do so don't state that you don't want to help give advice to people on how to care for their pets that you're selling (unless you're hoping their pet dies and that they buy from you again so you can make a profit, I don't know).