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UPS Alert

1494 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Al Ricci
This was recently emailed to me. Anyone else have an experience similar to this one?
Jay G.

From: Al Ricci

1454 Main Street
West Warwick, RI 02893
Phone/Fax 401-823-7186
Cell 401-481-2252

To all recipients…..
I am writing to alert all in the shooting community of a potential problem we, as individual, may suffer when dealing with the United Parcel Service. Let me explain.

I, as an individual, sold a valuable firearm to a dealer in Nevada. This transaction is perfectly legal under all Federal and State laws. The firearm was shipped via UPS and insured for $1,400. One would think that the GCA and applicable state laws would be the defining authority in transactions such as these. This isn't the case when UPS is involved.

The package arrived and upon inspection of the contents, the rifle was severely damaged. It's apparent that the package was subjected to prolonged intense heat as would be the case of sitting is a trailer in the middle of Nevada. The foam disintegrated and the rifle was badly damaged as a result of shifting and banging against the steel piano hinge of the aluminum case.

I'm sure some of you will question the packaging and am I in any way at fault for the damage. I think not since this is the way manufacturer's ship firearms. The case was wrapped in heavy cardboard, strapped, impact cushions placed on all sides, wrapped again, strapped and wrapped one more time and strapped. It was then properly labeled and sent on its way. This is not the issue. The issue is the contradictory regulations of UPS.

My claim has been denied on the basis of the UPS tariff section 425 that states firearms will only be shipped between FFL holders with the exception of firearms being shipped for repair, modification, etc. Since I was unaware of this regulation, I will take the loss and consider it tuition of sorts. However, another UPS regulation states that firearms will only be shipped between licensed dealers only with no exceptions noted. These contradictory regulations are not very well known by shooting enthusiasts and, in my research, not very well known by dealers either.

The problem here is simply that individuals like myself leave themselves open for loss even when they believe they are complying with all laws and regulations. Based on these contradictory regulations, UPS would have denied my claim regardless of what the purpose of the shipment was; be it a sale or repair.

Based on this contradiction, a question arises. If a gun owner ships his firearm back to the manufacturer, via UPS, and damage or loss occurs, UPS regulations state that he in violation. Hence, he will be denied the claim. I have spoken with the legal of a couple of firearms manufacturers and they tell me they have a contract with UPS and shipments from an individual to their facility are within the regulations and that the return of the firearm is also within their regulations. I have to wonder, if Browning or Winchester ships my firearm back to me and damage or loss occurs am I going to take the loss? Any damage that occurs on the return trip back the individual will be paid on their (the manufacturer's UPS insurance). However, damage that occurs on the way to the manufacturer would be covered under the individuals insurance. Either way, contract or not, UPS is violating its own regulations by shipping the firearms back to the individual owner. UPS sells the insurance, accepts the package and if damage occurs has these contradictory regulations that will cause a denial of a claim. An interesting situation wouldn't you agree?

I have contacted the National Office of the NRA and am awaiting a reply. I also have participated in various forums in the on line community.

My purpose for this writing is not to seek absolution, forgiveness or shake a tin cup. My purpose is to try to alert as many others as possible of this potential problem with UPS. I don't want my loss to be for nothing. If others are spared this aggravation, my loss would have served a purpose.

I urge that you review the UPS regulations and, if you see the regulations as I do as posing a potential problem for us law abiding gun owners, alert your organizations. I firmly believe that organization such as yours, the NRA, the ATA, etc. are obligated to warn their members of this very unfair and potentially costly loophole.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

Yours truly,

Al Ricci
Contradicting UPS policies are at: ... earms.html
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Do you think this UPS regulation would come into play if you shipped only part of a gun? For instance, I have considered sending my trigger assembly to a specialist for trigger work. I would expect this to be treated like any other package by UPS. What are your thoughts in this case?
IMHO, anything other than the receiver would be ok.

The easy way around this?

Get the OK from your local FFL to use his address as a return address. Use the UPS website to create your shipping label and bill to a CC or third party bill to your UPS account. While that won't help on incoming items, it will get you around the restrictions on outgoing items.

The problem with UPS is their contradictory regulations that make it impossible for an INDIVIDUAL to ship a firearm regardless of what the laws allow.

Consider this; federal law does not allow a firearm to be labeled as such when shipped therefore the UPS shipping label will not indicate the contents. UPS then affixes a "adult signature required" tag to the carton. It's not too much of a stretch to realize that long, narrow carton contains a firearm and therefore is a good target for theft.

The rifle that prompted me to begin the email alert campaign has finally been returned to me. UPS generated the call tag and shipping label, not my buyer. The shipping label listed the contents of the carton as a "rifle case" and was shipped without the adult signature requirement. UPS violates its own regualtions when the need suits them.

An interesting sidebar to all this. About the same time this nightmare was beginning, I purchased a very expensive shotgun from an individual in Florida. He packed it securely, took it to the USP service location for shipment. Because of the high insured value the counter person asked to open and inspect the contents. She did and resealed the carton and accepted close to $75 in next day air, insurance and fuel surcharge fees. At no point was the gentleman asked if he was an FFL holder (he is not) and the contents of the packaged, "engraved shotgun" was printed on the UPS receipt. UPS accepted the shipment with full knowledge that if the shotgun was lost or damaged they would not pay the claim.

If you see the hazards of shipping via UPS, spread the message.

Al Ricci
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Al, what other shipper(s) do you recommend?

I always have horrid luck with UPS. For instance, it just took me 12 days to get a gun from CA to OR. Perfectly legal, FFL to FFL transfer. I could have walked faster. I'm currently waiting on a shipment of another item that is slated to take 6 days to get here from Indiana.

I have heard that many other shippers will not accept firearms at all. And no, you really don't want to lie about the contents (or your legality in shipping/receiving same) when the potential for loss exists.

-- Sam

I've heard the post office does a very credible job without the BS of UPS but hand guns are not allowed. FedEx will ship any type of firearm but have some regulations to consider.

UPS does a good job at what it does most of the time. The problem lies with their attitude and deceit. Apparently the MO of the United Parcel Service is to pay no claims and cite whichever regulations suit their needs. I'm not saying they don't have the right to regulate their own operation, but when they routinely knowingly accept firearms for shipment from an INDIVIDUAL and then deny claims based on their regulations is fraud.

The incident I wrote of earlier is a perfect example. The gentleman I bought a shotgun from in Florida (not an FFL) took the package to a UPS counter and it was opened and inspected due to its high insurance value. He paid close to $75 to ship this insured next day air to my dealer in RI. His receipt indicates the contents as a shotgun. They accepted it, the payment, and the package and if something happened to the gun would have denied the claim, period.

UPS takes these "risks" knowing they have nothing to lose. If the shipment goes well (as 99.9% of the do) its business as usual. If the shipment goes bad, they cite their regulations. So, my question is are we to be held to a higher standard than the people UPS hires to "serve" us?

How many people do you know have read the entire tariff of the United Parcel Service or all their rules and regulations. You take the gun to the UPS counter (in my case they come into my business daily), fill out the forms, pay the cash and let it go. Most people would believe that provided the transaction was legal under the gun laws everything is OK. Wrong when UPS is involved.

I've sent my email to well over 2000 gun clubs, gun manufacturers, gun shops and gun clubs. The number of replies I've received has been tremendous. What seems to be a very common thread in most of them is the lack of knowledge of these contradictory regulations. Many have now read the regulations and immediately decided to seek another carrier. They've been lucky so far but realize that one lost or damaged firearm can cost them a bundle.

Don't be a victim of UPS. Check the regulations and if you must ship a firearm through UPS, pay a dealer to ship it for you. This is allowed under UPS regulations but is not required under law. Spare yourself a loss.

Al Ricci
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UPS has gotten a reputation of not paying ANY claims. The solution for the average guy is a trip to your local courthouse and filing an action in small claims court. UPS will not bother to send an attorney to court to fight this small claim and you will recieve a judgement which can then be enforced.
Anonymous said:
UPS has gotten a reputation of not paying ANY claims.
Maybe that should read "not paying very many claims" instead. Last spring I sold and shipped about $800 worth of Ham Radio gear to a fellow out west via UPS. When it got there the box was damaged -- a 3/4" hole was seen on the side of the box and the steel equipment was also punctured... looked like a 3/4" steel rod was driven right through the whole box. Turned it into scrap. We submitted a claim and had a check for the insured value in about 10 days.

Of course I will no longer ship anything valuable via UPS... FedEx has been good, but its a bit longer drive to the customer counter for FedEx than UPS. Can someone point me to the FedEX and USPS (not ups) regs regarding shipping firearms?

73, Steve


It took a lot of arm twisting and some threats of going to ATF since UPS shipped the firearm back to me and I am not a dealer but they finally decided the potential damage far outweighted the claim. Remember, I sold this rifle. I received a check, issued a bill of sale and shipped the rifle to the dealer. Damaged or not, he is the rightful owner and as such cannot return the rifle to me since I am not a dealer. UPS took it upon themselves to issue a call tag and, despite my to warning them of the possible legal problems of shipping the rifle back to me, shipped it back to me without an adult signature tag and marked as containing a rifle case. In any event, it's apparent that the UPS insurer (they are not self issured) was given a good look by UPS. The insurance company did a 180 in about two days.

More importantly, I have been told by UPS that a new tariff will be published effective 1/5/04. I have no idea what the changes will be and urge all of you to check the new, revised regulations. I really can't see UPS making any major changes to their firearms policy and I'm hoping the new tariff will be more in line with FedEx. Either way, I'm done with UPS but for those who still want to use them for whatever reason, perhaps the tariff changes will make the experience less stressful.

Regardless of the what the tariff revisions are, I consider this a victory for the little guy over big business. I've been told by an insider at UPS this issue opened a very large can of worms. It's a good feeling to know you can still prevail when you're right regardless of the opposition.

Al Ricci
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