This message is about the 3rd party payment service for guns known as Gpal, or GunPal before that. Down this message a bit you will see a link to file a complaint if you feel you have been wronged. The image on the right here is the form. If you have not been involved with making or taking payments through Gpal this message does not affect you.
This is solely a public service announcement. Gpal/GunPal has never been an authorized payment system on GunsAmerica. There is some confusion about this because some of the other sites where you can buy and sell guns did endorse and even integrate Gpal/GunPal into their websites. We did not, even though we were offered a “deal” out of the profits like everyone else, and it was for a reason that we didn’t. A Paypal-like system for guns with similar fees in the 3% range is impossible for the gun industry.
Several years ago GunsAmerica tried to create our own third party payment system for guns. We even own the domain guncash.com. Unfortunately we discovered quickly that, when it came to “underwriting” such a system, our industry is too small. There is not enough money in it to risk the tens of millions of dollars to underwrite and FDIC insure all of the money coming and going.
It took us years to even find a Merchant Services company (merchant credit card accounts for gun dealers) that would deal with guns being sold online. To our knowledge, our Live Payments system through Electronic Transfer Inc. is the only merchant account approved specifically for guns online (FFL dealers only) through a secure internet gateway that is also approved for guns online (authorize.net is not). If a sales rep or anyone else tells you different, or if you are offered another 3rd party payment system for guns, question it. It is not necessarily that the banks are anti-gun. They are anti-risk, and we know what it is like to make your way up the banking chain explaining the very small risks involving guns and credit, even online. The chargeback rate for guns is far below the national average for other products.
Now, back to Gpal. Because even though we never endorsed Gpal or integrated it into GunsAmerica, a number of our sellers did take payments through them. Many have emailed us that they are unable to withdraw their funds now and have asked for help. We also have a lot of buyers who buy guns on all the online sites who are caught in the middle and have emailed us to see if we know anything.
I spoke to Carl Chapman from the Marin County District Attorney’s Office, who is in charge of managing this case. The Gpal case is an open investigation, not a case that has been labeled criminal at this time. There are several agencies involved and as far as I can tell, nobody should assume right now that Gpal did anything illegal. Everyone who made and accepted payments with them trusted them to be a successful enterprise. This could just be a speed bump from which they have yet to recover. Even PayPal had speed bumps, and they too were accused of fraudulent activity at the time.
We are sending this email to let you know how to file a complaint. We have nothing to do with Gpal and have no knowledge of their relationships with other online gun buying and selling sites and/or internet discussion forums. We elected to not do business with Gpal from the start because of exactly these concerns.
Mr. Chapman has asked that all complaints go through The Internet Crime Complaint Center. The URL for the form is at http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/.
Don’t worry, this is not a black hole of government inaction. All the complaints for this case go right to Mr. Chapman in spreadsheet form that is easier for him to deal with than individual complaints on the telephone. There are SEVEN TO TEN SCREENS to click through of questions to get to the final form (which you see hanging on the right here). Hang in there! The questions don’t really fit this case, but answer them as close to what makes sense. I clicked through a few times with different answers and it didn’t seem to matter how you answered them. They all lead to the final form.
Hopefully the situation with Gpal will resolve itself and everyone will get their money back. Many small gun dealers, accepting the endorsements of trusted entities (GunsAmerica not being one of them), trusted Gpal and took payments through them. They need those funds! We pray that Gpal does make it through and that no fraudulent activity is found so that everyone gets their money. The gun industry is a very small place and we are attacked from the outside by people and organizations every day. It is better for all of us to assume the best in each other, not the worst, and let the problems work themselves out if at all possible.
Whether you choose to use Gpal now or in the future is up to you. We do not authorize any third party payment system. It is still a free country to some extent. And we most likely will not be updating our information about Gpal in the future as we have nothing to do with them. The only public support forum we know of was recently closed by those hosting them. Regular customer support at Gpal is firstname.lastname@example.org and the customer support phone number is 1-800-813-4725.
Thanks as always for being a part of GunsAmerica. -ph@ga
GunsAmerica GPal-Gunpal Public Service Announcement
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