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Gunbroker.com [Review]: Fees, Laws and more…

The eBay of gun sites. That’s what Gunbroker.com has been called by those who use it. There is some validity to that point, as gunbroker.com is set up and run pretty much like an auction, except that you can list a “buy now” non-negotiable price if you want to sell something as quickly as possible.

It is important to state now that gunbroker.com is NOT a retailer – they’re a broker. OK, I know you can read – that’s why they’re called gun broker, right? What does a broker do? The broker hooks buyer up with sellers. Think real estate – those agents are brokers who put buyers and sellers together to sell or buy a house or whatever. That’s what gunbroker does – it puts buyers and sellers together.

Costs

Let’s look at, right up front, what it costs to buy & sell on GunBroker.

Buying

It costs you nothing more than the price of the gun to buy something from GunBroker, unless the seller sticks a 3% or so surcharge on for using a credit card.

Selling

It costs nothing to list your gun. Where it will cost is when someone buys it. You will then pay what is called a “final fee”. Here’s a breakdown:

Gunbroker fees

So, you would calculate your final fee based on the selling price.

What All Does GunBroker Sell?

They sell a whole lot more than used guns…let’s look at a couple of screen shots of everything they list for sale…

What Gunbroker.com sells

As we can see, they do sell quite a variety of products. Being a musician, out of curiosity, I clicked on the Musical Instruments and Gear – you can buy a keyboard to play while you clean your guns, if that’s your thing (it does gum up the keys). So, pretty much no matter what you’re into in terms of the shooting sports, they have it listed as an item they sell.

Here’s another window with some good information…

what is Gunbroker.com

I think the most important phrase in the panel above is that GunBroker will only use FFL sites as transfer agents. You cannot get a gun shipped directly to your home – you have to fill out the form(s).

How It Works

Let’s look at a brief example of how GunBroker works. Let’s say you want to sell a gun. I will be using several screen captures, as I think these are able to put information out there in a quick and viable format. Here’s the Selling screen:

how to sell at gunbroker.com

As we can see, the process is fairly straightforward…you describe your item with all necessary details. And, if you like, select extra-cost optional services that attract attention to your ad such as: color bars, showcase/feature listings, subtitles, highlights, boldface, colored titles and view counters. You can add as many or as few of these as you like. You also must include information about you and shipping/payment details. Then, don’t forget the price! It’s happened. Here you can treat it like a real auction with a starting bid and a reserve price (can’t-go-lower-than-this). You can also include a Buy Now price if you want to sell it quickly for maybe a bit less money than you might possibly earn in the auction.

Stick in a photo for maximum effect and you are done. Sit back, check out the ad and proof if necessary…that’s all there is to it.

Here’s more:

Gunbroker.com selling details

As you can see, they try to make it easy to sell something on their site. Just pay attention to details and you should be fine.

We learn from the above that GunBroker has some fairly explicit and detailed instructions on how to sell your items. No matter what questions you may have, they most probably would be answered here. And, if you need help on anything, clicking on the “Help” button on the main page takes you to the help page with seven major categories of help available to you.

Buying A Gun

OK…you want to buy a gun from gunbroker.com. How to do that? It’s pretty easy – you just create an account (name, address, username, password and credit card info) and then you are pretty much good to go. Let’s “buy” a sample gun from their site…a Springfield Armory XD-S 9mm. Here’s the thumbnail…

sample sale

We learn that the bidding must start at $409 and there is no reserve, or lowest price acceptable. There is also a “buy now” available in this gun’s ad – if you wanted it quickly, you could buy it outright today for $429. We see there are no bids, but it’s been posted less than 2 minutes ago. After you go to the specific page linked from here, you see that there are four days to bid on this particular gun. There is no reserve price, as stated in the screen shot…that means that there is no minimum amount that the seller will accept. The seller has the right to refuse sale only under one condition…if said sale would not be in compliance with applicable laws. All sales that are legal are final. That brings up another point…

Legalities

All gun sales on gunbroker.com are totally legal. All federal, state and local laws are observed. This is something that some anti-gunners don’t understand – they see guns for sale on the internet and automatically jump to the conclusion that the sale must be somehow illegal. As long as the buyer can pass the Form 4473 background check at their local FFL dealer, he or she is the proud new owner of the gun. ALL guns are shipped from the seller to the buyer’s local FFL dealer, in their home state. If you try to buy a pistol with a 17-round magazine but your state limits magazines to 10 rounds, that sale would be stopped. The seller must ship guns within the law. After the assassination of John Kennedy (1963) and culminating in the shootings of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy (1968), a new law was passed that stopped the delivery of firearms directly to your home. Lee Harvey Oswald paid $12.08 for his 6.5 mm Carcano Italian rifle plus another $7.07 for a scope, mail order. That cannot happen today, at least through legal channels and GunBroker is a legal channel.

But…

Just because they’re legal doesn’t necessarily mean they are good for the buyer. There are, unfortunately, unscrupulous dealers and individuals out there who sell guns that are not as advertised, optics that are cheap knockoffs, etc. … you get it. Here is where the seller’s rating comes into play. Look here:

seller rating on Gunbroker.com

I’ve blacked out the seller’s business name – this is an actual product for sale. Notice the A+ rating, with over 1700 “good” sales. Here is also where you can ask the seller a question. We see that the seller has an FFL, which is no small thing. The bottom button is a “Watch” link that allows you to keep up with what the seller is selling.

This is a highly-rated seller, but there are those out there who are not so good. You must do your research. Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware. If the seller doesn’t have a decent rating, look elsewhere. There are just too many good sellers out there for you to mess around with someone who just wants your money. That leads me to the GunBroker site ratings panel…

BBB panel

I bring this up only because I know that some out there will see this panel and jump to conclusions. As you look at the above panel, you might wonder why, out of 46 customer reviews, only 1.5 stars was awarded. There’s an old saying…the squeaky wheel gets the grease. What’s that got to do with this? The ”squeaky wheel” in this case would be those who may have been burned by a low-life seller who did not fulfill his or her end of the deal and just took the buyer’s money. Those buyers would, naturally, want to tell everyone that so-and-so is terrible and don’t deal with them and the only outlet they have for that is the rating system here. I truly sympathize with those individuals. We just have to remember that several of these negative reviews may have roots in a transaction gone awry. (And, as a side note, a business not being BBB accredited is not necessarily a bad thing. It simply means that they have not paid to join the BBB group).

A Lot Of Information

Below is the bottom panel from the GunBroker site…it has links to all the pertinent information you’ll need to transact a deal on their site. Here it is:

help sellers panel on Gunbroker

And, if you don’t see what you need here, there’s always the Help page.

Conclusion

If you want to sell a gun, try GunBroker. It won’t cost you all that much – notice in the example above a gun that sold for $1000 would cost you only $41.25 in commissions to GunBroker. That’s probably a way-better deal than you would get if you took the gun to your local FFL dealer for him or her to buy. And, if you want to buy a gun, try GunBroker. You can most likely find what you want here…if not today, then maybe tomorrow as the listings change daily. Search for what you want, make a bid, watch your bid and if you win it, pay for it and pick it up at your local dealer’s shop. That’s all there is to it. And, if you wanted to buy, say, a WWII German paratrooper’s (fallschirmjager – can’t help it – I am a WWII buff) helmet, as of today they had one for $114.99. They have a LOT of stuff listed on the site. Check it out and tell us of your experience below. As always, keep shooting and stay safe!

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