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FFL sold suppressor I paid for to someone else.

Discussion in 'NFA Weapon Discussion' started by HansC, May 12, 2016.

  1. HansC

    HansC Portland Member

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    I bought a suppressor in 2013 at a well known Portland gun store. It took me a few months to get around to the paperwork, but that was nothing compared to the wait time from the ATF. I'm still waiting, they never cashed my $200. I decided to resubmit the form, and called the gun store to make sure they still had my suppressor.


    I still have my receipt they generated on their computer. My name, driver's license number, address, model and serial number of the suppressor, etc. is all printed on the receipt.

    Is it legal for them to resell an item that I already bought? I'm really nervous because I don't know if my name is on the books but it's in somebody else's possession, or if it is registered to more than one person. I'm very frustrated that no attempt was made to contact me asking "Hey, umm, do you mind if we sell your suppressor twice, so we can give it to somebody else?"

    I ran into a friend of mine that isn't a class 3 dealer, but is an FFL, and he recommended I call the ATF. I don't want to give somebody unnecessary grief, but I do want to make sure I'm not liable for an item I don't have my hands on.

    I have never heard of this happening before. The store told me they have other brands of suppressors I can get instead, but did not offer an apology or any explanation other than their recordkeeping software has changed.

    Suggestions? I don't want to behave badly, but I believe I have a right to the serial numbered, federally regulated item that I paid for. Somebody has to know where it is. Is it out of line for me to call the ATF and let them know what's up? Technically, was the suppressor ever mine, since it was never in my possession? I'm a little worried that the gun store will get nasty if I contact the ATF, but I am not getting much information from them.

    Level-headed advice would be appreciated.
  2. djaziatic

    djaziatic Portland, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Wait, you bought a suppressor in 2013 but just submitted the paperwork in 2016?

    If your form 4 was not approved, I don't think the ATF will do much on their end. In the end it only matters on who receives the approved form 4 for that item(registered serial number). If that item is already registered with the ATF with the other buyer, then you will not get that suppressor no matter what you do. And pushing legally with a lawyer will cost you more than the suppressor alone.

    I would suggest either getting another suppressor from the dealer, or receiving a refund. And call the ATF to cancel your form 4 so they can reimburse your tax stamp fee. And shop at another dealer.
    Last edited: May 12, 2016
  3. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    I take it that they are going to apply the funds to another purchase?
    Their accounting books aren't the same as their bound books - the bound books are the ATF required record keeping books that they track all serial numbers/make/model etc. in - they tell who they transfer items in from and out to. Provided their bound book doesn't show that the item went into your possession then legally you should be clear - also, if the ATF didn't approve your paperwork yet they don't have the item in your name on the NFA registry. I seriously doubt they listed the item as having you take possession in the bound book as they would be in hot water for releasing an NFA item to someone without a tax stamp and would likely get a colonoscopy level ATF audit possibly resulting in the loss of their FFL.
    Considering the 3 years since you paid for the item without a tax stamp being approved for you my guess would be that they assumed your paperwork wasn't approved and sold it "again" to another customer before the value dropped because of newer models (everyone wants the newest / lightest / most db reduction when they buy). I would think that they would have contacted you prior to selling it if for no other reason than to ask if you wanted a refund or to apply the funds to another item. Did your contact info change so they couldn't contact you?

    Regardless, if you didn't yet file the new paperwork and they are going to apply your paid funds to a different suppressor then legally (for you) its no harm/no foul. If you did already file again I would contact ATF and explain the situation so they can put a stop on the paperwork - you may get lucky and they may allow you to modify the forms reflecting a corrected make/model/SN without loosing your spot in line for the tax stamp (but I wouldn't hold my breath).
  4. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    So, was that the first time since 2013 that you had contacted the store? If so, I'd say part of this falls on your side. I'm not excusing the store for their actions - if they had that suppressor on record as having been sold to you, they should have contacted you to ask what the status of your paperwork was before they did anything else with it. But in the meantime, 3 years is a lot of time to pass and I'm surprised you didn't follow up more both with the ATF on your paperwork and with the store, just to let them know from time to time, that you were delayed with ATF. Seems like most folks have their stamp in 6 months to a year max. If I didn't see anything by then, I'd be making calls to anyone I could reach.

    I think too many folks assume that once a process is started, they can sit back and just wait for things to happen. I can tell you from personal experience that that's a bad way to approach it. I would make a point at least at the 6 month mark to contact the ATF if I didn't see anything happening, and just make sure they have my paperwork. For all you know, they may never have received it - did you send it registered mail or some other way you can confirm they signed for it? If not, you may want to do that next time, it's only a few extra bucks for that service. As for the store, I'd probably do the same thing, check in after 6 months and regularly after that and let them know you're still around and still waiting on the ATF.

    The store owes you a refund or a credit toward another item. Their records and your receipt should make that a fairly simple process. If you don't trust them to do this again, then I'd push for the refund and go elsewhere. As for getting an apology, you may not get that at the store level - if not, I'd write a letter to management explaining what happened. I find that doing this gets much better responses than the folks manning the counter.

    Anyway, hopefully you'll get your $$ back without much hassle. You may also want to consider contacting the ATF as well and seeing if they ever actually received your information, my guess is they never actually got it, which is why it wasn't processed and your check wasn't cashed. As much as it's within your power in the future, take charge of the process and keep in contact with each involved party, and keep notes on when and who you spoke to. Clear, regular and well documented communication in any deal, is a huge key to the success of that deal going through. The more time involved between the beginning and the end of the deal, the more important regular communication becomes part of the plan.
    Stomper likes this.
  5. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    First off do you have a copy of your receipt for it?

    If the form was never approved and this much time passed I'm sure they didn't want to sit on the $.

    Is this store in Clackamas?
  6. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    I think the store owes you more than a refund. They sold something that belonged to you. That is theft, not a harmless mistake. Even if you never got around to doing the paperwork you still owned the item. That particular serial numbered item as evidenced by your receipt.
  7. HansC

    HansC Portland Member

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    Thanks for a bunch of knowledgeable, articulate responses!

    Paperwork was submitted in the summer of 2013. My contact information has not changed. I fully agree that I dropped the ball regarding constant communication, and that it would have been a good idea to have made inquiries sooner. As silly as it sounds, time got away from me and it wasn't until I heard about the law changing regarding trusts that I thought about the suppressor in quite some time. Having a deadline is what lit a fire under me and prompted me to take action.

    It's good to know that I can cancel the probably-lost paperwork and move on with a replacement item. They have offered me store credit, so it looks like I can just put it behind me. In retrospect, registered mail makes a lot of sense, but I send off funds for bills higher than that all the time, and it's always a painless, simple thing. Learned my lesson here.

    I have the receipt. Yes, the dealer is in Clackamas.

    Thanks so much! I was really nervous last night that I'd end up in huge trouble over this, and it looks like I was overreacting. I'm genuinely grateful for the responses.
    808hondacrguy, Joe13 and etrain16 like this.
  8. Who The F R U

    Who The F R U Rainier Oregon Well-Known Member

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    3 YEARS on your form's and no follow up ..
    Really ?:s0167:

    After 30 day's you should have called NFA if your check wasn't cashed.
  9. CHLChris

    CHLChris Portland Metro East Love me some guns! Bronze Supporter

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    ATF cashed the checks really fast, in my experience. Had the check not been cashed within 2 weeks, I'd have been on the horn. Next time, get your bubblegum together and get your business taken care of in a timely manner. This wasn't a book you bought from Amazon.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
  10. wired

    wired Yakima Well-Known Member

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    Get your refund and buy one again. This time don't screw it up.
    CHLChris likes this.