The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has recently completed an investigation into JCS Gunshop, which operates under the domain name murdocksguns.com. The investigation was initiated due to a consumer complaint and subsequent inquiries made by 30 businesses about the company. The investigation found that JCS Gunshop made false claims about their operating location and displayed unreliable business practices.
The website initially showed text and photos of guns and gun accessories for sale. However, BBB found that JCS Gunshop falsely claimed its location to be 1528 N Broadway, Wichita, KS 67214. BBB sent correspondence to this address, and the mail was returned as undeliverable. Further, when BBB visited the location, it found that the space was vacant, with no business operating in the area. BBB also discovered that the company falsely claimed a physical address on Stevens Drive in Iowa City, Iowa.
The investigation also revealed that the website contained grammatical errors and unprofessional language. BBB found that the website had copied text from other gun shops and pasted it on their website. The website also falsely claimed to accept Bitcoins as a payment method, which is not true.
A consumer complaint received by BBB alleged that JCS Gunshop asked the consumer to pay for the gun through PayPal using the Friends and Family option, and then asked them to pay again using different payment forms. The business did not respond to the complaint, and the consumer was unsuccessful in initiating a refund.
JCS Gunshop claimed to sell guns online to everyone, not just dealers, and the business falsely claimed to deliver to registered firearms dealer’s up-to-the-minute software packages, which allow them to run their businesses efficiently whilst meeting all current and future legal requirements. BBB found that the business was not registered with the Nebraska Secretary of State, and there was no licensing information available from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
BBB urges consumers to exercise caution when purchasing from JCS Gunshop. BBB advises that consumers verify the legitimacy of businesses before making purchases online. Consumers are also advised to research the business and its owners, read reviews and complaints from other consumers, and to verify the business’s physical location and contact information before making a purchase.
BBB offers these tips for safe online shopping:
• Know the advertiser. Some of the best deals are only available online but be careful. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous retailer’s website, so make sure you shop with a legitimate site. If the site is missing contact information, that is a red flag. Check out retailers at BBB.org before you shop.
• Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with “HTTPS://” and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.
• Be a savvy shopper. When shopping online, take your time and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the return policy; although many online orders can be returned for a full refund, others have restocking fees. Some items cannot be returned; know before you buy.
• Think before you click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great deals or trendy clothing that doesn’t match the promotional hype.
• Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. Offers on websites and unsolicited emails may offer free or very low prices on hard-to-find items. There may be hidden costs, or your purchase may sign you up for a monthly charge. Look for and read the fine print.
• Beware of phishing. Phishing emails can look like a message from a well-known brand, but clicking on unfamiliar links can place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft. One popular scam claims to be from a package-delivery company with links to “tracking information” on an order you don’t remember making. Don’t click!
• Shop with a credit card. In a fraudulent transaction, a credit card provides additional protection; it’s easier to dispute charges you didn’t approve or get your money back if there is a problem. Debit cards, prepaid cards, or gift cards don’t have the same protections as credit cards.
• Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you receive the item and are satisfied. Know and understand the return policy and keep this documented with your purchase records. According to the FTC, when you shop online, sellers are supposed to ship your order within the time stated in their ads or within 30 days if the ads don’t give a time. If a seller can’t ship within the promised time, they have to provide you with a revised shipping date, with the chance to either cancel your order for a full refund or accept the new shipping date.
• Keep a clean machine. Install a firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software for network security. Check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly on your computer, tablet, and smartphone.