Funds held in escrow for internet private party gun purchase?


April 29, 2007, 09:39 AM
Assuming there is an obvious answer to this that I just haven't discovered...

I've purchased over 45 firearms over the internet over the last 5 years and about 50% of those have been with private parties. A good chunk of those have been milsurps direct to me via a C&R.

Here's the thing...I always feel a bit uncomfortable sending money to someone that I don't know...the virtual world is obviously a lot different from the physical. Fortunately, nearly all of my deals have come off without a hitch (with the exception of a couple of slow ships and one guy who went through some bizarre antics). Dealers are another least you can look up their business address and FFL #. When I make a deal, I usually

Look to see the person's history and prior posts on the they come off as a jerk or a reasonable person?
Have a lot of email exchanges and look for the same
Ask for lots of pics of specific things to make sure they are not just pulling someone else's pics off the internet
Backwards verify the address on the internet whitepages
If the amount is relatively large (say over $300-400) try to call them and talk to them personally

Besides that, though, it seems that you send off money and cross your fingers that the person isn't creating a scam. I'd feel a lot more comfortable if there was a way to have the money held in escrow or somehow kept independently until I could verify that the firearm was actually on its way. I can always go back to mail fraud or some arcane federal firearms law but I'd prefer not to rely on that as my only recourse.

How do you try to get yourself comfortable thta the seller is being truthful and honest?
Is there any service that can hold monies until shipment/receipt if verified?

Thanks in advance.

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April 29, 2007, 11:03 AM
I know that eBay reccomends, but I just checked their website, and sure enought, they won't do it for firerams....


April 29, 2007, 12:30 PM
I've done searches for escrow services but they are a bit pricey...~$25 for the service.

April 29, 2007, 12:43 PM
In the finance world this is called credit risk; the risk that one of the parties will not meet their agreed upon financial obligation. It's very hard to eliminate.

I can't think of an easy way to avoid one of the parties taking a risk on the other party. If the seller accepts credit cards and fails to deliver the item as promised, you can apply for a chargeback through the credit card provider.

Otherwise you are looking at official checks (issued by the financial institution). In this case, the seller is risking that the item is counterfeit.

April 29, 2007, 01:34 PM
Thanks Tbeck.

In certified funds such as money orders or cashier's check, is there anymore protection for the buyer? Are there laws or other recourses that cover fraud/"chargeback" as compared to a personal check or a bidpay payment?

May 1, 2007, 08:26 PM
Unfortunately, in this age of sophisticated counterfeit checks, few financial institutions like to give immediate credit anymore. If you pay by a certified check and get stiffed, you are pretty much going to have to sue for recompense. It's technically fraud but you would have a hard time getting anyone to do anything about it.

May 3, 2007, 12:04 AM
Heres one that does firearm transactions:

I used an escrow service once, at the buyers request, and it went fine. It was a bit of hassle, but it made the buyer feel safer.

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