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Old July 19, 2014, 08:49 AM   #1
Machete
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Bad Gun Store Experience

It has been a long while since I have posted on this forum. I usually just use it as a resource, but I have to relate my recent experience using the FFL of a local gun store.

So I let my buddy know I was going to order an AR from Bud's Gun Shop. I told him to let me know if he becomes aware of any places that have reasonably priced FFLs I can use to transfer the rifle to? Well he happened to be at a local gun store later that week and asked them what their price was. They told him 25$. He relayed that information to me and just to make sure (because that's a great deal) I called them and asked them the same question, they reaffirmed that it was 25$. So I order the rifle from Bud's and have it shipped there. A couple of weeks later they call me to let me to know my rifle is in. I head right over to pick it up. I get in there and the guy at the counter asks me how much they told me it was to use their FFL. I say 25$. He says "it's 50$ now" we changed it a couple of weeks ago." I tell him "you told me it was 25$ when I called". So he says "well... we could have got you this gun. It's 25$ if it's a gun we can't get you, but if we can order it for you it's 50$." So I say "you didn't tell me that." (Here's what really burned me up) He says "you didn't ask". What!!! So I hold my ground and finally he says since they told me 25$ he'll give it to me for that, but for future reference it's 50$ if they can get me the gun.

Then he starts talking about how it's not worth their time to go through all this trouble with an FFL for 25$ (Then don't charge 25$), and how online guns stores like Bud's are killing local gun stores. He keeps telling me to "Just give us a chance". So I tell him, I've bought a pistol and a rifle here and my friend bought me a PSE bow for my birthday from here. He ignores all that and continues with his sob story. Plus he kept lowering his voice to a whisper on and off because his manager was around the corner. I just wanted my freaking AR. Anyway, I got my rifle, but not without a dramatic increase in my blood pressure.

What are your thoughts?

Last edited by Machete; July 19, 2014 at 08:58 AM.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:05 AM   #2
BullSlinger
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Use a different FFL.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:07 AM   #3
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Well, if I'm going to order a gun from my LGS, I'm going to try to get a price match. The walls are filled with various AR style rifles, so generally, dickering on the price from reasonable, to online, is feasible. However, if I order a gun through my LGS, they don't charge a transfer fee as long as I'm paid in full up front.

I don't order many guns, so I don't know if the different transfer fees is a common thing. I'd have brought it up to the manager as casually as possible, since it seemed like the clerks behavior about it was questionable.

On the other hand, he has a point. Transfer fees don't keel the lights on, especially when the transfered gun might even be in stock.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:13 AM   #4
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Absolutely normal. The average LGS won't compete with internet sellers, they would have to trim the profit to the bone and likely go under.

We suffer exactly the same issue when our employer outsources our job to another company or even overseas. Same thing, it's cheaper, and it's just business. So he's explaining it exactly the same way you would say it when your boss called you in and said he's laying off your division.

Most Americans never see it both ways - we just want the Low Price Guaranteed. Ok, but that goal usually means somebody won't make a full price sale on it, and that means down the short road, nobody gets paid a decent wage.

From the LGS viewpoint, internet sales are running him out of business, just the same as having a big box superstore come into town. All the mom and pop shops lose business, most go under because the public goes for the price, not the service. It's a proven fact that small shops dry up in a town with a major retailer, and that goes to lumberyards and auto parts houses, too.

In the day our town had a dozen separate independents in both sectors, same as the gun stores, but as the major franchises appeared we all ran, not walked, to their doors and starved out the smaller guys. The majors aren't to blame - WE did it, we voted with our dollars.

Like gas stations, there are now a lot less choices and a lot more control over pricing as the majors don't really like cut throat competition - they are in it for profit. So the margins keep getting pushed up. I see it in my business, I can buy quarts of oil from the local farm and home store, semi synthetic, for $2.25. I can't even get near that price for the exact same item from my chain as an employee. I don't even buy my oil where I work anymore. And it doesn't help when I see an internet vendor selling car parts under my employee discount directly to me. The only disincentive is the time and added shipping costs.

The internet is dramatically changing how retail works and we are just in the first decade of a long war in merchandising. So far the brick and mortars are being forced by normal business pressure to consolidate into chains for the reduced costs and better volume discounts. What's next is them consolidating and some going under - same as Gander Mountain and Montgomery Wards did in their industries. In the long term we will likely see FFL fees rise to the point were it won't make ANY difference. They will charge what the profit would be and we won't be able to do a thing about it.

Not a rosy picture of the future but I see no way out of it from the FFL view. We will keep cheaping out on them, and the reaction as an industry will be to recoupe their lost profit. The reality is that they can and will do it, as they are the only legal conduit thru which we buy firearms.

Except for 80%'s, and 3D printers, which is exactly why we see some much interest in them. As long as things keep getting restricted in normal channels consumers will keep figuring out ways to dodge the system, just like we do with AWB modifications, assisted opening knives, or Skype. And there will be someone out there who will cater to it to under cut the traditional methods of selling.

Which is exactly where you stand in this - you cut out the LGS and kept their profit, so there's no reason to think they are going be slap happy buddies with you over stiffing them. IT's $50 next time, and in five years it could very well be $100.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:17 AM   #5
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Which is exactly where you stand in this - you cut out the LGS and kept their profit,
Which is a load of crap since every gunstore claims they make no money on guns.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:19 AM   #6
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The FFL I use for transfers charges $25.00. He and I have been doing business for a decade or so.
The LGS has two dozen AR's on the rack and I usually dont see much on the rack I find interesting. They have ordered a DD M4V7 for me though, but because they are a DD dealer they didn't charge me anything on that one.
Each has their own advantage.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:22 AM   #7
fallout mike
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The op is not complaining about the $50. He's complaining bc they changed their price and tried to charge him more AFTER the fact.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:27 AM   #8
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He says "it's 50$ now" we changed it a couple of weeks ago." I tell him "you told me it was 25$ when I called". So he says "well... we could have got you this gun. It's 25$ if it's a gun we can't get you, but if we can order it for you it's 50$." So I say "you didn't tell me that." (Here's what really burned me up) He says "you didn't ask". What!!! So I hold my ground and finally he says since they told me 25$ he'll give it to me for that, but for future reference it's 50$ if they can get me the gun.

I don't know if they changed it or didn't make it clear, either way they should have made it clear to him exactly what and why they made that charge before they accepted the deal.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:33 AM   #9
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Yep. That's pretty unacceptable. I would have escalated it right to a manager after the clerk started giving you a hard time. The "you should have gotten it from us" is immaterial.

Personally, I think $50 is pretty steep. My guy charges the required $10, plus 5 or 10 for his time. It takes all of 2 minutes to punch the ffl info into the computer. Charging $50 for a transfer does nothing but alienate customers.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:38 AM   #10
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Had one tell me $100 plus 10% of the gun cost once. He closed up shop a year or so later.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:39 AM   #11
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I understand his point about places like Bud's taking their business, but that doesn't mean he gets to lie to me. I didn't mention everything he said to me because he wouldn't stop talking and it's a lot for me to type. He admitted that gun stores price gouged when the demand was really high not long ago, and now they're paying the price. The guy reminded me of a shady car salesman. Plus, they had two ARs in there, and one was a .308. So it's not like I could have the instant gratification of buying an AR of my choice the same day if I had gone in there in the first place. I did shop around at local gun stores before hand, but couldn't find exactly what I wanted. ARs are very customizable so by ordering online I was assured I could get exactly what I desired. Not to mention I bought a Ruger 22/45 from there years before. I had them order it in for me, I told the guy the barrel length and type and he said Ruger didn't make that combination. Even though as he was looking in the catalog I could see from upside down the exact version I was asking for. When I pointed it out to him he acted like I was insulting his intelligence. The place has a fantastic bow shop though and the guy that runs that is super friendly and helpful.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:40 AM   #12
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At the shop I work at, we charge $10 for an FFL transfer. It doesn't take much time to log it in or to run a background check. The main reason is that it gets customers in the door. Most AR-15s people order are just stock models, so we make up any potential gun sale with the sale of sights, mags, or ammo.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:52 AM   #13
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If they're going to have to charge more for the transfer fee they should be more upfront with that information. I would prefer to do business with a local dealer but if they're going to make it a hassle (and more expensive), to do so, then I would look for another dealer.
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Old July 19, 2014, 09:56 AM   #14
Machete
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Quote:
At the shop I work at, we charge $10 for an FFL transfer. It doesn't take much time to log it in or to run a background check. The main reason is that it gets customers in the door. Most AR-15s people order are just stock models, so we make up any potential gun sale with the sale of sights, mags, or ammo.
Today 09:39 AM
This guy acted like he was moving heaven and earth for 25$. He told me it's not worth the cost in labor. Even though when I came in the guy was standing there shooting the breeze with another employee.
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Old July 19, 2014, 10:19 AM   #15
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I have done the Bud's thing a few times, and the link on their site is very helpful in finding a pre-approved FFL to use.

There are even a couple of FFL's in my area that do it for free for Vets, cops and firefighters, so that is helpful as well.

Like you, I have a problem with stupidity and poor attitudes at the counter, but since I have stood on both sides, there is plenty of that from either side.

I shop where they make me feel wanted and welcome.
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Old July 19, 2014, 10:28 AM   #16
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The average LGS won't compete with internet sellers, they would have to trim the profit to the bone and likely go under....In the long term we will likely see FFL fees rise to the point were it won't make ANY difference. They will charge what the profit would be and we won't be able to do a thing about it.
Lots of truths and lots of cynacism here.

Yes, people need to get used to the fact that internet shopping is here to stay. Adapt or close your doors. Join the 21st century or get left in the dust. It's called progress.

Many complain about the big box stores like Walmart, etc. They pushed out the ma and pa stores, right? One stop shopping and cheaper prices. Good for the consumer and bad for ma and pa, right? How many here remember Sears being the #1 retailer for decades? Did they push out the ma and pa stores too? I'm sure they did because business moves forward and those who adapt, thrive and those that don't, perish.

Soon the local LGS will be closed because the old timer inside spent his day BSing with his "regulars" who came in to visit and talk guns, hunting and sports. The new customer was ignored or talked down to. The new, female shoppers were treated like they are stupid while they tried to sell them what was old instead of finding out what the buyer wanted and helped them. They were too busy letting their coffee get cold or it was their move on the checker board. Yeah, gone are the days of the local gun shop. They didn't adapt. They were stubborn know-it-alls and the times swept them under the rug.

You say that the FFLs will get a monopoly and charge huge transfer fees and I say that the market will supply all the cheap transfers we want thru the kitchen table FFLs who work from home and don't have to pay for brick and mortar.

This is the way it's trending so get used to it. Many, many stores are thriving in this time because they figured out how to turn transfers into sales and treating the people who walk in their door warmly and sincerely. I have no use for the crabby old gun store owners who complain all the time about internet sales. Adjust or get off the pot. Retire and let someone else who wants to take care of customers thrive. Adapt or perish. Internet sales are here to stay and it is us, the consumer, who get cheaper prices and better choices.
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Old July 19, 2014, 10:53 AM   #17
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Soon the local LGS will be closed because the old timer inside spent his day BSing with his "regulars" who came in to visit and talk guns, hunting and sports. The new customer was ignored or talked down to. The new, female shoppers were treated like they are stupid while they tried to sell them what was old instead of finding out what the buyer wanted and helped them. They were too busy letting their coffee get cold or it was their move on the checker board. Yeah, gone are the days of the local gun shop. They didn't adapt. They were stubborn know-it-alls and the times swept them under the rug.
That perfectly describes a LGS around here. This old guy has a gun shop attached to his house. Every time I go in there he's BSing with someone and I can never get a word in edgewise about an actual gun I'd like to buy. Plus his store is the size of a phone booth so when people are in there chatting you can't even look at the guns behind the counter or under the glass, which is literally every time I've been in there. His hours are only 4pm-8pm so it's not like you can go in during a slow time. I have managed somehow to buy ammo twice. The one time he gave me the wrong kind but I by the time I realized it I was back in my truck. It was at least the right caliber so rather than play his arbitrary lottery of who get's waited on between long winded conversations with loitering acquaintances I decided to get out of there.
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Old July 19, 2014, 11:00 AM   #18
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The op is not complaining about the $50. He's complaining bc they changed their price and tried to charge him more AFTER the fact.
Correct!

And there's the old adage "Get It In Writing".
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Old July 19, 2014, 11:21 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Machete
What are your thoughts?
IMO, all was well until the counter guy tried to charge you the $50 ... and, later, subjected you to continuous whiny "explanation".

If he had asked how much you were quoted, immediately honored that and, while processing the xfer paperwork, succinctly explained their new policy, I would have had no issue with the episode.

==========

For the past ~15 years I have done my transfers with "kitchen table" 01FFL dealers (my original guy moved awhile ago so I had to find a new one).

Whenever I am looking for a specific commercial firearm, I do my research and determine what my best cost window will be. I then contact my 01FFL, tell him what I am looking for and ask for his best OTD cost (whenever he has the time).

Even if he is a little higher, I will always ask him to get it for me. Both of the guys with whom I have dealt, seem to appreciate my approach.
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Old July 19, 2014, 11:44 AM   #20
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Evolution or Extintion

How did Bud's get their start? Weren't they just a little mom & pop brick & mortar?

It's business, plain and simple. You can't compete, you go out of business. You don't offer a specialized service that people demand, you go out of business. You are a little fish in an ocean and don't know how to brand your goods & services, you go out of business. You don't have a vision and know how to act on it, you go out of business. I could go on and on, but y'all get it.

IMO, most LGS's need to go out of business or become better shops. Small brick & mortars need to stop singing the poor-little-me-being-put-out-of-business-by-big-boxes song.

BTW, same freaking philosophy for this country. Evolve or become extinct as the global superpower.
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Old July 19, 2014, 11:59 AM   #21
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Op should have used one of Buds "preferred dealers":
-the list is shown when you check out
-transfer fees are clearly shown
-no surprises
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Old July 19, 2014, 12:04 PM   #22
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Just give me an honest and fair LGS and I'll buy what I can from them (assuming reasonable prices) and use them to transfer in what I can't. $25 isn't worth blowing a gasket over, especially when you've already bought and paid to ship the gun in, but once that transfer was done, I expect that I would take my business elsewhere.
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Old July 19, 2014, 12:46 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Machete View Post
He ignores all that and continues with his sob story. Plus he kept lowering his voice to a whisper on and off because his manager was around the corner.
Here are my thoughts....

Why weren't you dealing with the manager in the first place. If it were me, the moment he said $50 I would have said, "OK, I'm done with you, where's the manager?"

Lowering his voice tells me one of two things- he's previously gotten into hot water with the manager for not being clear about the policy when people call, or he planned on pocketing the extra $25.

That said, I actually DO see both sides of this. My B&M go-to gun shop has a similar policy because they can usually get you the same gun at or very near the same price if the customer would just ask. When the local authorized Glock dealer mistakenly refused to sell me a Blue Label G20SF because I am retired military, the go-to store cut their price deep and sold me their G20SF for less than $20 above the authorized store's price.

MY ADVICE: Talk to the manager and explain your side, and that you understand and appreciate his side. Let him know the $25 isn't the issue, just that the bait-&-switch is irritating. If he's a good businessman he'll see your side too, and will make an attempt to rectify. If he's a jerk about it, then shake the dust off your feet as you leave, after telling him you won't be back until the inevitable going out of business sale.

EPILOG to the G20SF story above: I returned [to the local authorized Glock dealer's store] some months later to look at a G29SF (because all G20 owners eventually get the 29 as well) and saw the owner behind the counter. I explained what had happened previously and that I wanted to buy the blue label G29SF that they had in stock. He was seriously angry and shouted to the other employees that retired military COULD buy the blue label Glocks. Then he showed me the G29SF.... He never did anything to make it right with me, only expressed anger at the error of the clerks who didn't know the policy. I was put off and have never gone back.
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Old July 19, 2014, 01:15 PM   #24
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There's a couple shops I got that to that altogether refuse to receive from online sales if its a gun they can order.

For some reason I have way more respect for that position than the "we'll do it but we'll jack up the price" route. Of course in both instances I will just take my $25 elsewhere, I find that pawnshops tend to be the most agreeable when it comes to receiving firearms, the ones with modest gun sections will especially just see it as easy money.

Edit: To answer the question telling you one price on the phone and another when you went to pick up is absolutely unacceptable, regardless of the "unfairness" of b&m stores competing with online shops.
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Old July 19, 2014, 01:28 PM   #25
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My local shop charges 15$ yes that's right 15$! They also have a 10 month layaway with 10% down not bad attitudes or wise remarks I couldn't be happier...
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