Need advice on FFL transfer gone bad


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CyBerlin
January 17, 2013, 01:56 AM
Hi. First post on the site.

Need some advice on an FFL transfer that seems to have gone south.

Been trying to take possession of an $800 collectible handgun I purchased in December, but FFL transfer agent isn't returning calls or answering emails or texts.

Gun was delivered to his shop from the GunBroker seller before Christmas, but then was apparently misplaced by USPS for almost a week. The FFL agent finally tracked it down & we met at a local coffee shop on Jan. 4 to sign the paperwork and get the background check started. I got to handle the gun briefly.

Since then, I've heard nothing. I've sent a dozen emails and have left 10-15 phone messages, but he hasn't responded to anything.

What's my next step?

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vtail
January 17, 2013, 02:09 AM
Can you track him down in person? Maybe he has the flu? Maybe he is dead?

How did you pay for it? Hopefully you used a credit card and can do a chargeback.

Last resort: Police.
Last, last resort: ATF

chevyman097
January 17, 2013, 02:15 AM
Sounds pretty fishy. I would say cut the funny business and either.

Call the vendor it was shipped from for help.
Call the local PD.
Call the ATF.

This is no laughing matter and it will get handled if you are being run around.

If you feel like giving them a warning you might try contacting them once more and telling them your intentions.

CyBerlin
January 17, 2013, 02:23 AM
I gave him a written warning yesterday. Today I called 2 local shops for advice and they both said I should contact ATF. That seems like the nuclear option so I hope there are alternatives.

He does appear to be legit (I received a PDF copy of his FFL certificate and I imagine that the GunBroker seller had to verify the info as well).

His communication has been REALLY poor from the start, but by the time I realized this, the gun was already on its way to him, so too late to change horses. BTW: He is only acting as the transfer agent; the gun itself was paid for with a cashier's check sent to a different vendor.

When we met on the 4th, he said that he had been swamped with emails and phone calls (mostly for ammo), so I tried to be patient. But given that I've received ZERO communication from him in 12+ days, I'm now getting worried.

chevyman097
January 17, 2013, 02:29 AM
From what you are explaining there is no excuse. You are local and he should turn over your paid for item if the paper work is done. Its a very poor practice to ignore customer and hold their property with no word of delivery. If this is regular practice for him it may very well be Karma long over due.

He doesnt need to be in business if he cant turn over products that are paid for and paper work complete. If he has that much business he can hire help.

Call the authorities.

CyBerlin
January 17, 2013, 02:31 AM
From what you are explaining there is no excuse. You are local and he should turn over your paid for item if the paper work is done. Its a very poor practice to ignore customer and hold their property with no word of delivery. If this is regular practice for him it may very well be Karma long over due.

He doesnt need to be in business if he cant turn over products that are paid for and paper work complete. If he has that much business he can hire help.

Call the authorities.
So, should I start with the local police department?

I should add the following info. His shop (or office?) is in an adjacent city about 30 minutes away, making it inconvenient to visit. To go there, I'd have to take time off of work. When he offered to do the transfer, he said that he was willing to drive over to my area.

I may get action if I go there directly, but I have no guarantee that he'll be there. And if he's failed to submit the paperwork for the background check (a possibility) then the trip will be a waste.

EDIT: What REALLY frustrates me is that just a little communication on his part would go a long way. I'm a reasonable guy as long as I'm not being kept in the dark.

chevyman097
January 17, 2013, 02:34 AM
Yes. If they dont get anything from them call the sheriff. Then the ATF....hate to say it, but you either get your gun, or proof you were denied. Bottom line. YOU get an Answer.

guyfromohio
January 17, 2013, 02:34 AM
Did you ask him to be the agent prior to the sale? Are you paying him a fee? If yes, go to his shop in person as if buying a firearm. If not, he has paying customers to whom to give priority.

chevyman097
January 17, 2013, 02:37 AM
Wrong the paper work was reportedly done. He is an FFL and accepted a gun. He is legally obligated to turn it over to the owner.

CyBerlin
January 17, 2013, 02:43 AM
Well, I just received email. He's been at a show in Vegas and said his phone wasn't working. Said he can release the gun Friday when he's back.

Thanks for all the feedback.

12131
January 17, 2013, 02:56 AM
Looks like you will be getting your gun after all. But, I would never use this guy again, if I were you.

Birch Knoll
January 17, 2013, 08:41 AM
You met in a coffee shop and did the transfer paperwork???

Bubbles
January 17, 2013, 08:58 AM
You met in a coffee shop and did the transfer paperwork???
Yeah that's a red flag - transfers are supposed to occur on the dealer's premises. OTOH we don't know what state the OP is in, if it's one that has a waiting period on handguns then the FFL can start the paperwork anywhere, but the OP has to go to the FFL's licensed premises once the waiting period is up. We also don't know if the OP was put in delayed status so the FFL couldn't release the gun for business 3 days anyway.

Also, we've had problems for the last few weeks with NICS being overloaded. Sometimes you get through, sometimes "all circuits are busy, please try back later", sometimes the call gets dropped while you're on hold. It's frustrating because a process that normally takes a few minutes can leave us waiting on the phone for an hour or more.

So the guy went to SHOT and didn't tell you he'd be leaving town, or even leave a message on his voice mail stating he was at SHOT and he would return on 1/18? Nice.

CyBerlin
January 17, 2013, 10:28 AM
Yeah that's a red flag - transfers are supposed to occur on the dealer's premises. OTOH we don't know what state the OP is in, if it's one that has a waiting period on handguns then the FFL can start the paperwork anywhere, but the OP has to go to the FFL's licensed premises once the waiting period is up. We also don't know if the OP was put in delayed status so the FFL couldn't release the gun for business 3 days anyway.

Also, we've had problems for the last few weeks with NICS being overloaded. Sometimes you get through, sometimes "all circuits are busy, please try back later", sometimes the call gets dropped while you're on hold. It's frustrating because a process that normally takes a few minutes can leave us waiting on the phone for an hour or more.

So the guy went to SHOT and didn't tell you he'd be leaving town, or even leave a message on his voice mail stating he was at SHOT and he would return on 1/18? Nice.
Correct on all accounts.

The coffee shop was just a convenient meeting place to sign the docs. I told him ahead of time to assume there would be a 3-day delay because every long gun I've ever purchased has had a 3-day delay.

I also figured it was hard to get through to NICS. But as noted, a simple email auto-response or an updated answering machine message would have made a world of difference.

As it was, I had ZERO communication and had no choice but to assume the worst.

mgkdrgn
January 17, 2013, 07:27 PM
The coffee shop was just a convenient meeting place to sign the docs.
Sorry, the FFL doesn't have the option at "meeting at a convenient place" to sign the docs, all business must take place at his place of business.

I suggest you find yourself a new FFL, and I hope this one looks good in orange.

armedwalleye
January 17, 2013, 09:12 PM
like 24 hours to produce the gun and hand it over, collect his fee and go away, and if there is no final answer/possession, let him know you'll stop by with law enforcement. Barring success there, you will have no choice but to bring in the ATF.

It's your gun. You paid for it. He has it, and it sounds like the paperwork is done. How much time should it take out of his busy schedule selling ammo for him to say" Hello Mr Smith. I have your gun right here. If you'll verify your identity with a D L, we'll get you on your way" and then get back to the ammo sales???

barnbwt
January 17, 2013, 11:38 PM
Can you track him down in person? Maybe he has the flu? Maybe he is dead?

I was gonna ask if he might be in jail, but...
Sorry, the FFL doesn't have the option at "meeting at a convenient place" to sign the docs, all business must take place at his place of business.

Yeah. <Lumbergh voice>

TCB

CyBerlin
January 18, 2013, 10:21 PM
Got everything taken care of last night and took possession of the gun at the FFL's shop. His business partner was holding down the fort.

I think my transfer just fell off the radar. Wish the communication had been better, but I don't think what happened was intentional.

Having said that, lesson learned. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

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