Troubled Dealings advice needed.

MSU Marksman

Well-Known Member
Jul 15, 2007
Detroit, MI
I could use some input/insight on a troubled dealing I've got going on right now. I recently bought a rifle from a small dealer on the internet, who is in no way connected with this site. Upon receiving the rifle I took it apart for cleaning and noticed considerable surface rust in areas and made note about it not being close to the 98% it was originally rated. I contacted the seller, and showed some photos of what I found and they agreed that it was not as advertised and offered to refund me if I sent it back. The rifle was originally shipped in a hard case to my dealer for the purpose of doing a transfer. When I shipped it back, never having shipped a rifle in a hard case before, I just used the standard rifle shipping box (a re-used CMP shipping box) that meets all requirements of UPS, insured it, and sent it on it's way. Upon the dealer getting the rifle he commented that the stock was cracked at the grip. Because it was insured we put a claim in against UPS, but haven't heard much from them, and I am beginning to prepare myself for the worst and assume that they won't offer any compensation. The dealer still has my money and has not issued a refund, and he also has the rifle. I know the dealer is upset that the stock is cracked and blames it on the lack of being shipped in a hard case. On the other hand, I'm not so sure that the crack in the wood isn't an environmental thing. I don't know what else I can do at this time. Can the dealer make me take the rifle back? I know I can't get my money back from selling the rifle in the condition it's in. Shouldn't the dealer have some sort of company insurance that takes care of damaged goods in transit? How can I get my money back and move on at this point?
The small dealer sounds very experienced to have the forethought of shipping in a hardcase. You would have ben wise to follow his lead and return it the way you received it. .Just when were you going to return the hard case anyway? I assure you the crack is not an enviromental issue. I would prepare for the the possiblility that UPS is going to deny the claim due to improper packing. Sure it was covered but not adequately protected. If you don't get a refund you are entitled to the broken rifle properly shippped back to you at your expense.
I agree with Hired Gun, he is spot on. I too do not understand why , when returning something for a full refund , you would not return it in the hard case exactly as you received it?

I emailed him ahead of time and specifically mentioned that I was not shipping the hard case back and to subtract out the cost from the charge. He did not respond to that email.
For a stock to be cracked, the shipping box would have been severely damaged and the Dealer should not have accepted the package from UPS in that condition without inspecting the contents!

This isn't a China bowl!

This does not pass the smell test to me.

+1 w/hired gun and broz. In addition, a no response to your email in no way signifies sellers agreement to not ship back in original case. To be fair about it the seller should ship rifle back to you and return some of your funds to cover restoring rifle to a 98% rust free state...the cracked stock is on you.
How long has it been since you have talked to UPS? If it has been longer than 2 weeks call them again. They will want a picture and, or, they will send somebody to go look at the cracked rifle stock. Then they should give you a claim number and then get a letter from their insurance company. You will need a written appraisal or a comperable rifle to show them replacement cost.
I had a Unertl scope that got messed up in transit and had to stay on their butt to get reinbursed, but they did pay.
Give me a break!

How hard do you need to hit a stock to crack it!
If the package was NOT damaged then it was cracked before shipment, If it was damaged in shipment then your packaging was damaged too!

The thing is they commonly criss cross long boxes or bridge over gaps to stabilize the load and can end up with up to 1000 pounds resting on it while supported on the ends. It may not show much of anything on the box. A wood pistol grip is an easy spot to break on a wood stock. I recently had my Ruger 77V fall over on the rubber floor of my van and it cracked right through the pistol grip without leaving a mark on the rifle anywhere. I'm a dealer and I cringe whenever I have to use UPS ground. Almost every time the boxes arrrive and look if they had gone one more day the rifle would be out of the boxes. I think the throw them like javelin's as I have had more than a few show up with the barrels exposed. When I ask my driver about them they always say that they were improplerly packaged because the contents are coming from the inside out.

I use Fed Ex Air or Priority mail with much better luck. UPS is so short handed and the attitudes are getting so bad it seems like they are taking it out on the frieght. I just avoid them until they get their act back together.
Some more info-

The box arrived damaged, but the receiving end signed for it anyways without checking the contents first. He took some photos and sure enough, there's a crease right where the pistol grip would have been, and that's where the crack in the stock occurred.

He took some photos of the box and stock and emailed them to me that night, and I filled out the online complaint form that night as well. A few days later he was contacted by phone to email them photos of the box and damage, which he did.

That was about 3 weeks ago. Today I get a phone call from UPS requesting additional photos because they could not make out the damage from the photos. I said I would get the additional photos over this weekend and email them accordingly. 2 hours later I received an email saying the claim was denied due to "insufficient cushioning". That's BS as the packaging exceeds the suggestions listed on the UPS website.

Needless to say, I've got an uphill battle with UPS.

On a side note, I prepared myself for this from UPS and went on to acquire another stock for the rifle anyways. I figure at this point I'll offer the stock as a replacement to get the rifle back to "sell-able" condition and get my money refunded. I'll just eat the cost of the stock and move on. Assuming the buyer accepts that offer.
I think there is something that needs to be posted here. I my self lost a new rifle due to theft in the postal service. I had a barrel damaged in shipping with no compensation from UPS. I saw a friends rifle with chips the size of a dime out of the composite stock after someone in US postal service punched through the box with what I think was the claw end of a hammer... etc.

Here is what I now do:

1: Never never use an address with any indication of a gun shop. Use the first name on the FFL. Believe it or not there are thieves and anti gun people looking for guns that work in the shipping system. They will steal or damage your gun if they can.

2: Box them so they will take a beating... because they are going to get one. Box and double box them. Here is what I do. place them in a safe sock, then in a hard plastic case, then in a cardboard box. I have even cut 1/4" hardboard pannels and slid them in along the flat sides for a more puncture proof package and added strength.

3: Disguise the box. Never use a box with gun manufacturers name on it. Use a generic box or make one or turn one inside out. I even take a marker and write "Curtain Rods" on the box....

I know hind sight is 20-20 and this seems like a lot of work. But, in the long run it is way easier and less expensive.

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UPS is a joke. In my line of work I get to see alot of UPS trucks with the driver unloading. The inside of the truck looks like a trash compactor loaded the truck...especially around the recent holidays when they were delivering cartons to stores. I guess if enough people have bad experiences then business will drop off enough to where they'll have to figure out that it needs to be corrected or continue to lose business. I refuse to use them.
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