If you frequent e-bay to look for chimera African violets, you need to be cognoscente of exactly what is being offered. Take it from someone that has been duped. I look (as one would in any purchase) for four things
Out side of the obvious of not purchasing plants that are diseased, infested with insects or fungus which is rather difficult if you cannot pick-up the plant to examine it, there are a couple things you can do to protect yourself. First check out the pictures that accompany the description on e-bay. Is there a picture of the actual plant or is it some stock picture. This is important and in my mind is large deciding factor in the purchase. Second, on e-bay you can purchase chimera African violets that are very small with no root system that was essentially just removed as a sucker from a larger plant. This is not to confuse the concept of size with quality. Because they are not necessarily related. BUT purchasing suckers means that the root system is not substantial if it exists at all, and there is no certainty of the plant reaching maturity let alone the fact that the there is any certainty that the plant will bloom true. If you like to take a gamble, fine. But when I buy a plant I want to know what I am getting.
The beauty of eBay is it is a slice of pure old fashion, unadulterated free market. Pure supply and demand is at work. If no one wants it, it will not sell. High demand and the price will soar. So there is really no correct price to pay. But don’t forget about postage. That is all part of the price.
Postage, Shipping and Handling
I have seen these charges range from $4.95 to $10.00 per plant with an additional charges of 50 cents to 2 dollars extra per plant. Short of the plant being shipped in some expensive packaging materials the reality of these high shipping costs is nothing more then the buyer being charged a surcharged for a bigger profit margin that the seller will enjoy.
Once a seller has been involved is a little bate and switch, shipping diseased plants, mislabeled plants, insect infested plants, or engaging in the high postage scheme, sellers will start posting negative comments. What is interesting is that often times they will send a positive feedback, but when you read the actual comments, it is obvious the buyer was not happy. It is worth spending a few minutes and reading those comments.