Safe Online Purchases


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White oak
December 7, 2012, 09:58 PM
Looking for some advise here.
I have been searching for a Thompson Center 54 cal Hawken caplock for several months. This gun is no longer made.
I have placed adds on most of the online gun listing sites that I have found.
Several of these sites advise face to face sales only. I understand why.
While there may be some advantages to the gun auction sites I have heard of people getting burned on them also.
Is there any remotely safe way of making an unseen purchase on the listing sites? Some sellers offer pics on request. I know. Not necessarily pics of the gun advertised. If there is a gun at all. Some SELLERS that I have contacted insist on face to face sales only.
I know of one reputable dealer who sells on consignment with a 30 or 35% mark up over the owners price. This may be the safest way to go.
Unless the item wanted would come up locally to the buyer I can't see any way of making a safe purchase from these sites unless I am missing something.
Thanks in advance.
Ed

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FROGO207
December 8, 2012, 09:07 AM
I have purchased more than a dozen firearms using Gun Broker alone for example and they all have been as good or better condition than advertised by the seller. Others have had problems with new members but using the sellers feedback as an indicator I will buy with confidence from one that has MANY positive feedback replies. Just read through some recent ones as well as the first few to get an idea of the sellers mindset. You can always email or PM the seller with specific questions and return policy statement before bidding. BTW GB requires the feedback, either good or bad. Face to face is the best always but there are some really good sites out there if you do some research. I would be cautious yes, but would not be afraid of anything but face to face these days.

mf-dif
December 8, 2012, 10:24 AM
If you're using an auction site, like everything else...read the sellers feedback ratings and reviews.

If you are buying one through classifieds use paypal and do not send the payment as a gift. Paypal is biased towards the buyer. If the seller does not send the gun to your FFL after payment, you open a paypal case. If buyer cannot provide proof of delivery Paypal will give you your money back. If the gun comes in not as described, open the case, provide proof it was returned, Paypal will give your money back.

This can all be done inside the paypal platform, and I've unfortunately had to use it a few times (not on guns) but other purchases. It's fairly simple since PP doesn't care about sob stories or excuses. Just the delivery of goods. The seller has no control of the refund process...PP takes their money away and give it to you.

45_auto
December 8, 2012, 11:14 AM
I thought Pay pal didn't allow firearm purchases.

I've heard many stories where they freeze your account if they find out it was for a firearm purchase and it takes literally years of trying to get your money back since you violated their terms of service. Seems like it would be pretty easy for a ticked off seller to let them know it was a gun purchase. Wouldn't bother the seller any since he was going to lose the money anyway.

I've bought literally dozens of guns off Gunbroker and Auction Arms, always used a credit card or postal money order and never had any problem.

powell&hyde
December 8, 2012, 11:27 AM
45_Auto

Mf-dif said (not on guns), I have used PP for almost 5 years for powder, primers, bullets, reloading equipment with no problems.

Jorg Nysgerrig
December 8, 2012, 11:30 AM
It seems like an awful idea to rely on PayPal's buyer protection for an item prohibited under their policies:
https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/helpcenter/article/?solutionId=38957&m=SRE

I've unfortunately had to use it a few times (not on guns) but other purchases.
Perhaps you should try using their buyer protection for a gun purchase before you recommend it to others.

Mf-dif said (not on guns),
His "not on guns" comment relates to his experience. If you read his second paragraph ("If the seller does not send the gun to your FFL after payment, you open a paypal case."), he is clearly advocating it for us transfering guns.

I have used PP for almost 5 years for powder, primers, bullets, reloading equipment with no problems.
You just haven't gotten caught yet. It's clearly a violation of their terms. But, it's your money if you want to take your chances with it.

Furncliff
December 8, 2012, 11:40 AM
Buy from a reputable seller. If it's more expensive, just think of the extra as cheap insurance. My experience with individual sellers has been mixed. My experience with those who have made many sales, post many pictures and have many positive feed backs has been 100%.

I live in the boonies so I use the on-line auctions to feed my habit. I've never been sorry when I paid (what looked like) a little more money to buy from an established seller.

Edit to add... many offer a 3 day no-fire inspection. I have used that once to send back a rifle that was not the one pictured.

medalguy
December 8, 2012, 12:10 PM
I've bought many guns on GB and other sites, never had a serious problem unless we're talking whether a gun is 95% or 97%, but I digress.

The trick is NEVER under ANY circumstances use Paypal for a fireatm, NEVER send gift funds unless you know the seller well, always look at the pictures, all of them, carefully, and ask questions about anything that seems blurred or any description that has qualifications ("appears to me" or "seems to me to be unfired").

Be sure of what you are buying. Buy the steak, not the sizzle. Ignore the long distinguished history of the gun and focus on the physical gun itself. I don't really care that eighty seven gazillion GIs owe their lives to this wonderful invention, I'm buying ONE particular gun. I want to be sure it's what it's represented to be as far as condition, not past history of that kind of gun in general.

Look at the seller's history and feedback. Don't assume a positive feedback of 150 is good. Look at the scores behind the feedback, and be sure it's all good sales, not purchases.

And definitely use a credit card if you possibly can, even if you have to pay a couple percent extra. I look at that as cheap insurance. Insist on an inspection at the receiving FFL and the right to return from the seller if it's not as advertised. Also try to telephone the seller and ask questions, if you have any at all. In general, use good common sense.

ApplePie
December 8, 2012, 12:16 PM
I'm very surprised to hear that gun is hard for you to find. I don't think it's that hard to find at all. Every time I stop at a Cabelas store I see several of those guns on the used gun racks. Check with Cabelas. They may even mail you one since it is a black powder gun and thus does not need to go to a FFL holder.

I had a T/C .54 caplock I sold for $250 via consignment at a gun store that took 10 percent of the purchase price. 30 or 35 percent is a huge rip-off.

bluetopper
December 8, 2012, 01:36 PM
Gunbroker.com is my friend, it can be yours too.

mf-dif
December 8, 2012, 08:30 PM
I thought Pay pal didn't allow firearm purchases.

I've heard many stories where they freeze your account if they find out it was for a firearm purchase and it takes literally years of trying to get your money back since you violated their terms of service. Seems like it would be pretty easy for a ticked off seller to let them know it was a gun purchase. Wouldn't bother the seller any since he was going to lose the money anyway.

I've bought literally dozens of guns off Gunbroker and Auction Arms, always used a credit card or postal money order and never had any problem.

I actually have not purchased any firearms with PP. But didn't know you couldn't, learn something everyday. I was applying my experience with using paypal to purchase car parts through forums imagining it would work the same way as any other good transferred through them. Ah well guess not.

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