What about buying Orchids on eBay?
1. Do your research. Search on the internet as well as the eBay stores to see how much this plant sells for elsewhere, or even at the retailers own sales area. Sometimes the bidding gets so high that people pay very high prices, higher than what they would pay if they purchased the same plant elsewhere or even at the ebayer's Website.
2. Is the photograph the photograph of the actual plant? Ones showing adult plants when what you are bidding on are seedlings isn't terribly helpful. Quite often, photographs of plants are "appropriated" from orchid retailer's websites and used by individuals selling on eBay.
3. Look at the seller's ratings....that can give you an idea, although it may be flawed.
4. Never spend more than you want to lose if it doesn't work out well.
5. Remember that with seedling orchids, or nearblooming size orchids, by the time the bloom out, the feedback period will have been exausted, so if it isn't what you bought....you may be out of luck.
6. Sometimes you can ask here and see if anyone has had any purchases from the ebayer.
7. Ebay can be an excellent place to get older crosses which are no longer available. It is also someplace where you could pay $40 for a ghost orchid someone bought from Oak Hill Gardens for $12.50 (this is an example, it isn't necessarily the case).
8. I have purchased plants on ebay, one from a former poster here and was very happy. Another I got terribly root rotted plants, and yet another failed to send me one of the plants I bid on (I bought several from him) and when I foolishly believed that this officer in our military would actually do as he said...well...I was burned, and wasn't able to do anything about it.
9. Check the shipping charges. Are they in line? or are they excessive. How are the plants being shipped? Priority mail? If they are being shipped in cold weather, are heat packs going to be included at no extra cost?
10. A number of well known orchid retailers/nurseries not only have Websites and traditional catalog sales, but also sell their plants on eBay. Check the retailer's websites to see what the going price is. Also, if they have an eBay store, see what the plant is selling for in the eBay store.
11. Prevent yourself from getting excited and wound up in the bidding and only bid to what you are willing to spend...don't overspend.
Ebay can be a great place to get plants, and it can be a bomb. Keeping this items in mind can help YOUR experience be a good one. Good luck bidding!