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View Full Version : Dealer claims firearm as "abandoned property."


Drifter721
08-09-2006, 9:12 AM
A buddy purchased several handguns from out of state sellers last year and lost track of one, never DROS'ing it or picking it up at his dealer. When he realized this later, after 11 months, the dealer told him the gun was "claimed as abandoned property and no longer belonged to the purchaser" (my buddy).

Can the gun shop legally do this?

Is there any recourse, or is it best to just let it go as a lesson learned?

Ironballs
08-09-2006, 9:16 AM
I would think there some sort of protocal for the dealer to follow, including a reasonable effort to contact the buyer... and documenting unable to contact...

grammaton76
08-09-2006, 11:12 AM
One of the shops I've done DROS through has a policy that there's a storage fee assessed every week you don't pick it up after your DROS falls through. Once that storage fee reaches the value you paid for the gun, the gun is theirs. They even have you sign off on it. Before he adopted that policy, he said he had guys just leave a gun at his shop for YEARS and come back expecting it to still be there!

leelaw
08-09-2006, 12:01 PM
It may not be entirely ethical, but some dealers have created policies similar to this. The firearms is taking up valuable safe space, and a purchase from an out of state vendor will cut into his profit, so a storage fee may be added for firearms that just come in and sit in the shop.

The customers I hate are the guys who undermine you and order things on your license without asking for permission, so suddenly these guns appear at the shop that you have no recollection of ordering, and then the guy who ordered it comes in a week later copping an attitude about how you didn't call him about "his gun" and how he wants it DROSed immediately and wants minimal transfer fees... Then you realize that, when he bought the firearm, he got it at a wholesale price, and he expects you to just transfer it to him no questions asked.

In my opinion, people who do that are terrible customers, and they should not be getting firearms at wholesale dealer pricing just because they undermined you and ordered on your license without permission. They usually get really pissed when you then explain how they will be charged a DROS, dealer markup, and transfer fees, since they decided to take it upon themselves to order without authorization, on a FFL and retail license they have no right to use.

I've heard stories by SteyrAUG on ARFCOM about how he sometimes, depending on the attitude of the customer, will seize the gun outright if they purchase it without authorization. (the gun doesn't belong to the buyer since he doesn't have a license, it was transfered to the FFL holder, so it's technically his until it is transfered over to the buyer).

Some people will disagree with this, I'm sure.

Liberty Rules
08-09-2006, 5:23 PM
The customers I hate are the guys who undermine you and order things on your license without asking for permission, so suddenly these guns appear at the shop that you have no recollection of ordering, and then the guy who ordered it comes in a week later copping an attitude about how you didn't call him about "his gun" and how he wants it DROSed immediately and wants minimal transfer fees... Then you realize that, when he bought the firearm, he got it at a wholesale price, and he expects you to just transfer it to him no questions asked.

In my opinion, people who do that are terrible customers, and they should not be getting firearms at wholesale dealer pricing just because they undermined you and ordered on your license without permission. They usually get really pissed when you then explain how they will be charged a DROS, dealer markup, and transfer fees, since they decided to take it upon themselves to order without authorization, on a FFL and retail license they have no right to use.

FFL's serve many functions in this system of firearms regulations. One may be selling products that the FFL chooses to offer, the other is transferring firearms that the State and the Feds REQUIRE purchasers to send through FFL's. The latter part comes with the territory when you ask to be an FFL in CA. It is essentially a public service that is required of those who choose to be FFLs and is necessary to effectuate the governments' desire to have all transactions in CA go through FFLs.

If you charge dealer mark up on an item that is merely transferred through you, that is unethical. I would expect people to be pissed when someone tries to rip them off.

If doing transfers bothers you that much, you should give up your license and get out of the business.

ohsmily
08-09-2006, 6:12 PM
FFL's serve many functions in this system of firearms regulations. One may be selling products that the FFL chooses to offer, the other is transferring firearms that the State and the Feds REQUIRE purchasers to send through FFL's. The latter part comes with the territory when you ask to be an FFL in CA. It is essentially a public service that is required of those who choose to be FFLs and is necessary to effectuate the governments' desire to have all transactions in CA go through FFLs.

If you charge dealer mark up on an item that is merely transferred through you, that is unethical. I would expect people to be pissed when someone tries to rip them off.

If doing transfers bothers you that much, you should give up your license and get out of the business.

You didn't read his post properly. Pay attention. He is referring to people who use the FFL's license (whether they have a copy of his license or just know his number) and order a gun AS A DEALER, in the STEAD OF THE LOCAL DEALER. Then, they expect not to pay a markup (10% is usually fair) for using the FFL's license to actually order a gun or merchandise as a dealer. The buyer doesn't have a retail license and isn't entitled to order stuff as a dealer without telling the actual dealer.
To make this as clear as possible: Say an online dealer has a dual pricing system, a standard price and a dealer price (usually the dealer price is concealed from the public though). The standard price applies to buyers who don't have an FFL and/or a retail license. The other price is for FFLs and retailers/distributors. In the above scenario, the customer poses as or buys the firearm in the place of the FFL at the dealer rate and has it sent to the FFL. This would be unethical and if I were an FFL and a customer did this to me, he would F'in hear it from me about it.

Note: This is NOT the same as buying a gun from a seller and merely having it sent to and transferred through the local FFL....GET IT??? In this latter scenario, the dealer usually charges a reasonable (sometimes a little steep) transfer fee for doing the transaction. As far as the law is concerned, there is not real limit to how much they can charge. Usually, it between $20 and $75 per gun, PLUS DROS fee.

TKo_Productions
08-09-2006, 6:23 PM
FFL's serve many functions in this system of firearms regulations. One may be selling products that the FFL chooses to offer, the other is transferring firearms that the State and the Feds REQUIRE purchasers to send through FFL's. The latter part comes with the territory when you ask to be an FFL in CA. It is essentially a public service that is required of those who choose to be FFLs and is necessary to effectuate the governments' desire to have all transactions in CA go through FFLs.

If you charge dealer mark up on an item that is merely transferred through you, that is unethical. I would expect people to be pissed when someone tries to rip them off.

If doing transfers bothers you that much, you should give up your license and get out of the business.

Liberty,

Many distributors and manufacturers provide dealers with a wholesale price (think if it as a discount) so that the shop can then markup the price a few bucks in order to turn a profit.

I belive that Lee was talking about the situation in which a customer got hold of the FFL's license, and used it to order a firearm from a distributor/manufacturer at wholesale price (pretending to be the dealer). Then when it got to the shop, the owners realized what the customer had done.

This wasn't the case where a customer had ordered a firearm from an independent third party, and expected to transfer it through the shop. I'm sure the place Lee works at welcomes those transfers.

I can see the issue from both sides. From a consumers perspective I can understand wanting to get the firearm at the lowest possible cost, while at the same time I understand the shop needing to make a profit. It all depends on what end of the stick your on.

Fjold
08-09-2006, 6:30 PM
The customers I hate are the guys who undermine you and order things on your license without asking for permission, so suddenly these guns appear at the shop that you have no recollection of ordering, and then the guy who ordered it comes in a week later copping an attitude about how you didn't call him about "his gun" and how he wants it DROSed immediately and wants minimal transfer fees... Then you realize that, when he bought the firearm, he got it at a wholesale price, and he expects you to just transfer it to him no questions asked.

Some people will disagree with this, I'm sure.

I am not an FFL holder but I agree with you 100%. If I had a "customer" order something on my license without telling me I would contact the seller who sent it to you and refuse shipment. The gun would go back to him on his nickel and I'd let the "customer" fight it out with the seller as to who owes the shipping cost. The customer using your license to order firearms for himself is probably breaking a number of laws also because he would have to represent himself as you or your agent and tell the seller that he is authorized to use your license.

striker3
08-09-2006, 6:32 PM
I think what Leelaw is getting at is people having a firearm sent to his shop without asking first. It is just common sense, as well as common courtesy, to negotiate all transfer fees before you have the weapon shipped.

If on the other hand you are saying that you just do not do transfers on new weapons period, well that is your right. The thing I would say about that is that I want to keep my hard earned money just like you do. If I can get the weapon I want for $75 or more cheaper from somewhere else, factoring in shipping and all fees, of course, I will take it. The way I see it, you can either make some money off of the transaction, or you can make none because there is a dealer out there that will transfer it for me.

Liberty Rules
08-09-2006, 6:57 PM
You didn't read his post properly. Pay attention. He is referring to people who use the FFL's license (whether they have a copy of his license or just know his number) and order a gun AS A DEALER, in the STEAD OF THE LOCAL DEALER. Then, they expect not to pay a markup (10% is usually fair) for using the FFL's license to actually order a gun or merchandise as a dealer. The buyer doesn't have a retail license and isn't entitled to order stuff as a dealer without telling the actual dealer.
To make this as clear as possible: Say an online dealer has a dual pricing system, a standard price and a dealer price (usually the dealer price is concealed from the public though). The standard price applies to buyers who don't have an FFL and/or a retail license. The other price is for FFLs and retailers/distributors. In the above scenario, the customer poses as or buys the firearm in the place of the FFL at the dealer rate and has it sent to the FFL. This would be unethical and if I were an FFL and a customer did this to me, he would F'in hear it from me about it.

Note: This is NOT the same as buying a gun from a seller and merely having it sent to and transferred through the local FFL....GET IT??? In this latter scenario, the dealer usually charges a reasonable (sometimes a little steep) transfer fee for doing the transaction. As far as the law is concerned, there is not real limit to how much they can charge. Usually, it between $20 and $75 per gun, PLUS DROS fee.

Ohsmily, I think you will find in my posts that I do pay attention. Your "pay attention" comment is a little school-marmy and over the top. If I want to be harassed by my mother I'll call her on the phone. :D

I think leelaw's post could be read either way. I took it to mean that he was complaining about people purchasing firearms to be shipped with his FFL without his prior permission. There are plenty of FFLs that resent folks ordering firearms at cheaper (ie, "wholesale") prices from out of state and then using the FFL for the transfer only. In all of my dealings and discussions with FFLs, not one of them has ever mentioned someone ordering a firearm under the dealer's name to get a wholesale discount. It is that fact which colored my interpretation of leelaw's post. I've heard of the former many times. I've never heard of the latter.

If, instead, leelaw meant as you suggest--that people are ordering items posing as HIM and under HIS NAME--that is an entirely different matter. That would be fraudulent. Indeed, charging a markup as a penalty in that situation would be a mild reaction. That's borderline identity theft. If this is what leelaw meant, then he has my sympathies rather than my scorn.

rkt88edmo
08-09-2006, 7:57 PM
Liberty read it right, he just thinks that FFLs have agreed in advance to be slaves who work for free/below market/below cost on transfers because they are required by the Fed (if I read his post right).

SteyrAugs stories are hilarious, and while his treatment seems rough, if you use an FFLs info w/o learning their terms for transfers beforehand, CAVEAT EMPTOR!

E__WOK
08-09-2006, 8:20 PM
A buddy purchased several handguns from out of state sellers last year and lost track of one, never DROS'ing it or picking it up at his dealer. When he realized this later, after 11 months, the dealer told him the gun was "claimed as abandoned property and no longer belonged to the purchaser" (my buddy).

Can the gun shop legally do this?

Is there any recourse, or is it best to just let it go as a lesson learned?

If the dealer kept the gun, then I would expect to be refunded whateever was put into it.

PistolKidd
08-09-2006, 8:42 PM
i would like to think that the dealer had a better way of keeping inventory of incoming items.. but when i think about it.. not everyone is detail oriented and careful about logging what belongs to who..

I've done a couple of FFL transfers through a 'pawn' shop and geez.. those guys are about as unprofessional as you can get.. but considering everyone behind the counter is only high school or GED educated, im not expecting them to reinvent the dewey decimal system.. Ive ordered multiple items simultaneously and for each gun, I obtained a list of what was being sent and what serial numbers belonged to which gun.. I dont like to walk around thinking someone is going to 'look out' for me in case i stumble.. in your friends case, I think it would have behooved him to be more cautious..

Although Im no lawyer, I find that both parties are responsible for making this a mess..

Your friend needs to track his stuff better.. 11 months is a very very very long time to go to not notice that he was missing a firearm.. I dont know what his reasons maybe, but to think that after 11 months, someone is going to just have it on some shelf is somewhat silly..Regardless of what it is, if you order something and forget about it, then 1 year later call and ask to see if it's still there, I'd say youve lost that 'expectation' of service.. nobody should have to be responsible for your stuff for that length of time wihtout you paying for it or setting something up before hand..

on the same note..

I also find it troublesome that an FFL dealer 'lost' track of waht was coming into his shop.. that's HIS business.. thats part of why you're paying him, for his bookkeeping services.. I would expect my FFL to at least have some idea or keep the paperwork attached with any firearm that came into his shop and be able to contact teh correct party if transfers were in some sort of "pending" status.. If he isnt doing this and taking in firearms haphazardly, I'd call that shoddy and be super careful when dealing with this level of "professionalism"..

It pays to be vigilant, and ultimately, I thnk your friend bears the brunt of being responsible for the item being 'absorbed' by someone else.. You cant realistically expect people to hold your stuff for that long..

11 months is too long to expect anything reasonable..

tenpercentfirearms
08-09-2006, 8:48 PM
I am a little crazy, but I have a couple lowers right now that are just sitting in the safe because they guys let the 30 days expire. I don't sweat that stuff. Someday I will get motivated and call them and tell them to come re-dros.

I have mixed emotions on the transfer thing. Gun shops require money and effort to run. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to apply for, wait for, and then open a gun shop or even just try to run one out of your home. The idea that I should provide a "public service" to a guy at rock bottom prices on a transfer is a little presumptiuous if you ask me. And I only charge a $25 transfer fee!

It is true, when sellers sell guns below cost on the Internet and guys try to order them through me, it is money I am not making otherwise. I spent the time, effort, and money to get a license, I think I should be compensated for it. I guess I would just caution people who think it is ok to low ball your dealer to save a few bucks that if they think the dealer is being greedy if they get upset about it, that is a hypocritical situation. The dealer wants to make money just as much as you want to save money. Saying he/she is wrong for wanting to make their time and effort worth while while your efforts to save money are justified isn't quite right.

Now me, I stress customer service. It is amazing to me when you take care of people how they will just say to hell with it and buy things from you with no regard to cost. For example, tonight I had a guy come in to buy Friends of NRA tickets for my banquet in Taft on Friday. I had him come by after hours. When he was in there he asked if I did gunsmithing and I said no, but here is a card for a guy who does. He was looking at a Nikon BDC scope and then I asked him what he wanted done and he said he wanted a scope put on (it amazes me how many people think that is gunsmithing). I asked why he needed a gun smith to do that and it turns out he bought an M1A from my partner and he wanted to put his Springfield Gen III scope mount on it. I said just bring it on in and I could do it. I told him, heck bring it on by now and I could do it real quick. He then turned around, took me up on the offer, and bought the scope right then and there. By my offering to do a simple scope mount for him for free, he turned around and bought a scope. It took me about 20 minutes to install and boresight (using the irons) his M1A and he was a happy camper. Guess where that guy will always come back to?

So the moral of the story is, be a good customer and we will be good dealers. If you expect me to take care of you solely because I have an FFL and you have to use me to get a gun, forget it. Nothing mandates I have to transfer a gun to you from an out of state dealer. I am supposed to do your PPT and the state limits me to $10 for that paperwork. There is your freebee. Out of state, I can refuse you at will. I will take care of people and only charge $25 to do transfers, but I would hope guys would be appreciative and buy other products from me as well for my time. If you come in demanding and having a holier than thou attitude, I think I can afford to lose your $25.

rkt88edmo
08-09-2006, 8:53 PM
Based on the initial scenario, there is no indication that the FFL would have any reason to know whose gun it is. If someone had a gun sent to the FFL and it didn't contain any kind of invoice or instructions, how would the FFL know who it is supposed to belong to? The buyer never DROS'd it, so the FFL didn't necessarily have his info on record tied to the firearm.

If no one claims it, the FFL probably didn't lose it, he put it in his case and sold it! Abandoned property becomes the property of the finder.

How much would you suggest FFLs be compensated for holding on to stuff when they have no idea who it belongs to?

adamsreeftank
08-09-2006, 10:54 PM
I wonder what risk the FFL has when he receives a gun that he doesn't know where it came from, who it was for, and who paid for it. I know they can get burned for "losing" a gun, but what about "finding" one?

tenpercentfirearms
08-09-2006, 10:57 PM
There has to be a return address, if I got a random gun, I would find out who sent it and call them up and ask. If there were no return address, then I guess I never received it did I? :eek: Just kidding, I would just turn it over to the BATFE or local PD. Let them deal with it and when the owner comes looking for it, tell them to wise up next time.

The odds of a unmarked and unknown firearm just showing up to your door are pretty slim.

BigMac
08-10-2006, 5:38 AM
FFL's serve many functions in this system of firearms regulations. One may be selling products that the FFL chooses to offer, the other is transferring firearms that the State and the Feds REQUIRE purchasers to send through FFL's. The latter part comes with the territory when you ask to be an FFL in CA. It is essentially a public service that is required of those who choose to be FFLs and is necessary to effectuate the governments' desire to have all transactions in CA go through FFLs.

If you charge dealer mark up on an item that is merely transferred through you, that is unethical. I would expect people to be pissed when someone tries to rip them off.

If doing transfers bothers you that much, you should give up your license and get out of the business.

I have never heard such full on BS.

It is not required that I or any other dealer allow some guy off the street use his license to purchase firearms..

We are required to perform PPT which is a totally different transaction.