From: Al Ricci
1454 Main Street
West Warwick, RI 02893
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.