BUYING AN ADOPTABLE
Have an Adoptable Fund ready
Having some extra cash in your paypal or extra points in your dA helps you a lot in case you wish to purchase a limited hold-time adoptable. To avoid scamming, many adoptables artists ask for payment within a certain time frame (one or two days generally) and having a fund helps you when you see an adoptable you really want. Sometimes artists will let you put an adoptable on hold, but it's still better to ask first if the 'hold' option is available or not before claiming.
Find an Adoptable that you really like
Adoptables often come in sheets or maybe you follow a lot of adoptables artists and no one can deny that there's a lot of choice around dA. Since you finances are not unlimited, you might find yourself in the tight spot of choosing an adoptable over another. The point here is, you need to *choose*. Because asking both and then making one of the two artists wait for payment is not correct and may loose you the chance of adopting that specific character.
Claim first, read description later is NOT an acceptable way of doing things. I understand the rush of joy at finding the 'perfect character' for you, but what if it's already closed? What if it's a paypal adoption and you only have 10 points? Take a few seconds to skim the description, at least to check if it's still open and the kind of payment the artist asks. Reading the description is also helpful for the adoptables that have a specific requirement for the claim comment. Some artists, to be sure that you actually read the rules, ask you to add a word or a sentence in your claim comment. If you don't do so, you might loose your chance at adopting the character if someone else's is quicker than you and has already read the description.
Claim SENSIBLY #2
'adjkjkstgnaa 2 so cool wanna' is not the most intelligent way to ask for an adoptable. Because it makes you look like an illiterate troll, makes the artist doubt you and your claim and, what if there are just names and not numbers in the character sheet? So here's a copy/paste Claim request:
(If you don't have the funds)
Hi, I really like [Adoptable X, Name or Number], but I need a bit of time to find the necessary funds. Is it possible to put it on hold until I have the payment ready?
(If you have the funds)
Is [Adoptable X, Name or Number] still open? If so, I'd really like to adopt it.
Wait for the Confirmation reply
Not much to do here... You can follow the 'Protect Yourself' point while you wait. If the adoptable has already been claimed or the artist will not put them on hold for you, go back to the first point and start again.
Now that you have a confirmed claim on your adoptable and have it on hold (at least for the twenty minutes you need to do this), let's talk about protection. Because there are a lot of scammers in the adoptables community and you're risking to loose points to a thief for a character that probably has an owner already.
milkadopts has written a wonderful Journal on Adoptable Scams and How to Avoid Them, so you'll simply need to read the Journal and check if the adoptable artist of your claimed adoptable has what is needed to be a scammer. (Loveno's Journal was removed, I'll think about writing something of my own to fill the gap.)
OMG, the Artist is/could be a Scammer
Ok, don't panic. You still have to send them the payment so it's still a salvageable situation. Now you only need to backpedal, SLOWLY. Do not start yelling at them 'u thief', it only creates unnecessary drama. 'nvm' is also a reply I don't really like. Copy/Paste comments in this case can be:
(If you have the original deviation on your hand)
I'm sorry, but these adoptables were made by :dev:, you can see the original deviation here: (add link)
Please take this deviation down.
(If you DON'T have the original deviation on your hand)
I'm so sorry, I just realized that I don't have the points/money to pay you, so I'll have to give up on this adoption. Maybe next time.
or the variation
I'm very sorry, I'm currently finishing to pay for a commission and I realized I have less points/money than I believed. I think I'll have to give up the adoptable, sorry.
(Remember that thieves can be tricky, so don't feel bad if they have succeeded in scamming you. What you can do is try to find the original deviations and report the stolen ones and then contact the HelpDesk about the thief. You can ask them to give back your points, but do not hold your breath while you wait, they're no Robin Hood.)
The Artist is Legitimate
They're legitimate and have told you that you can have the adoptable so you only need to send the payment over and the adoptable is yours. (Now, don't tell me I didn't tell you... But did you check the description for what kind of payment the artist wants? Free, Trade, Points or Cash?)
Check for Easter Eggs
If you didn't read the description accurately, do so. Because some artists will give you unwatermarked, and even high resolution files of your adopted characters. Or an extra chibi pic. But it's up to you to ask them because artists are forgetful and lazy creatures, so you need to poke them and remind them of stuff. Don't be afraid to ask them what they offer, it's only right you get what you paid for.
Protect Yourself #2
Save the adoptable on your PC.
This is very important in case the artist moves accounts, deactivates, or simply puts the deviations in storage. Simply faving them is not enough and you might need a file to mail for references or whatever.
Save a screenshot of the adoptable deviation.
This is more about protecting your character from art thieves. What if the artist leaves dA and deactivates but a thief saved the pic and decided to upload it? If you have a screenshot of the deviation with a date visible (I know that my Windows has it in the bottom right of the screen) you can use it as proof of theft and protect your character.
Adoptables Journals Series
Adoptables, Basics for Adopters
Adoptables, Basics for Adoptables Artists
Adoptables, Writing an Artist's Description
Adoptables, Design Tutorial
Adoptables, Buying Adoptables
Original Species Tutorial
Adoptables, Original Species Confusion
Adoptables, I sold one, now what?