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[Review] Gunbroker.com: Fees, Laws, Potential Problems

At this point, cruising around the internet, you have probably seen GunBroker.com.

Maybe you have seen a link for a particular firearm, or perhaps you have had a buddy sell something on the website.

Gunbroker (1)

Today, I am going to break down what the website is, how it works, and what to potentially look for so you don’t get scammed by some low-life. Grab your laptop, tablet, or phone.

The future is now, and its time to shop for the next piece of your firearm collection online.

What It Is (And Isn’t)

First, to explain what GunBroker is, let’s go over what it definitely ISN’T. GunBroker is not a dark web, black market to buy firearms.

Despite what some politicians may think or say, buying a firearm online is 100% legal, even from a non-licensed, private individual. GunBroker isn’t a loophole in the system and all laws must still be followed.

GunBroker is not an FFL, or a retailer. They are in the business of setting up transactions as a third-party broker.

Makes sense, right? It is kind of in their name.

They charge fees based off of the different services they provide for sellers. More info on that below.

Gunbroker (3)
While this movie rocks, GunBroker isn’t in the business of arms dealing

Essentially, GunBroker is the “eBay” of firearm and ammo sales for private or commercial entities.

Creating an account is easy and straight forward, and it allows someone to sell or buy firearms, firearm parts, ammunition, optics and more.

For the shooter, or outdoors sportsman, GunBroker can be a handy online market place to find stuff you need.

How the Site Works

Regardless of whether you are buying or selling, signing up on GunBroker is exactly the same.

First, you will need to supply your email address, pick a user name and password, and supply personal information like your home address, phone number, and date of birth.

This is done to verify identity and your information is not shared or sold to any other parties without your consent.

Gunbroker (2)
Screenshots of the registration process

Once you are fully registered and activated, a welcome email is sent which includes links to helpful topics such as a Buyer’s Tutorial, how to sell, a breakdown of the fees GunBroker charges for sellers, and a link to their Customer Help Center.

There are no reoccurring membership fees involved with creating an account on GunBroker, and only if your account is red flagged for a fraud suspicion, you could be charged with a $2 fee so that GunBroker can do a security check to verify your identity.

Fees are only gathered when you sell an item on the website, whether it be on an auction or outright sale. Buyers don’t pay a fee. In fact, you don’t even have to pay a fee to setup a basic listing on the website which includes your thumbnail image.

How the Fees Work

The only time that a seller has to pay anything is if the item is sold or won at auction. At that point, GunBroker assesses a “Final Value Fee”, which is based on the selling price.

The website charges 6% of the first $250 on the selling price.

If your item sold for under $250, 6% is the only cut that GunBroker charges. If it is over $250, the 6% of the first $250 is charged, and the remainder of the selling price is charged at 3.5%.

Now bear with me… I am a Marine, so mathematics is not my strong suit.

If an item is sold at $1,000 then 6% of the first $250 is $15. The remaining $750 charged at 3.5% would be $26.25.

Gunbroker (1)
I had more crayons…. But someone ate them…

If the order of operations is still a thing from 8th grade, and the calculator on my phone is correct, that means you pay GunBroker a $41.25 fee for a $1,000 selling price.

Considering how big of a hit people take by trying to sell, or trade a firearm at their local gun shop, this makes economic sense to list a firearm on GunBroker.

Gunbroker (5)
Walking into a pawn shop like…

You can also garner more attention to your listing by paying additional fees. This can range from GunBroker sponsoring the listing with both on-site or off-site advertising, colored titles, and adding a view counter on the listing.

Listings have a duration of 90 days if auctioned, or you can also pay an added fee for a specialized duration.

Any fees that are accrued by a seller will be added up throughout the month. Around the 2nd of every month, a statement will be sent to the seller, and billing will be done with whatever payment method you put on file with GunBroker.

They make it very easy with their system of operation.

The Laws and Regs to Keep in Mind

Obviously, all laws must be followed in regards to firearms. The way our government is set up, there are a lot of things to keep in mind, specifically the differences between federal, state, and local laws.

Per federal law, a private individual can ship a firearm without an FFL (Federal Firearms License), but be sure to ship the firearm to a shop or individual with an FFL.

Further information can be found with the support section of GunBroker. They cite plenty of information about laws concerning firearm sales and transfers, and also the regulations involved with shipping firearms.

For instance, a handgun can not be shipped by the U.S. Postal Service. It must be shipped by a contract carrier like FedEx or UPS to an FFL holder.

Gunbroker (4)
Typical label used for shipping ammunition.

Ammunition is in its own shipping classification and is treated differently as a hazardous material. Every carrier is different, so attention to details with the different carrier policies is something to keep in mind.

GunBroker has a wealth of information, and they make it easy to reach in their support section.

Potential Problems to Keep in Mind

Just like in all things, there are people in the world that are not angels. People can always lie about the condition of a rifle, or give fraudulent information about a weapon.

Worse yet, scammers trying to sell fake, or knock-off items are always something to be concerned about. Half of the battle is being educated enough to know when something is wrong.

The other half of the battle is filling out the proper paperwork through GunBroker for a fraudulent claim. In the support section, you can easily find links to fill out a claim in the event something doesn’t go quite right. Buyers and sellers have between 30-60 days after the close of the sale to file all the appropriate paperwork to rectify the issue.

Gunbroker
Left side, real Trijicon MRO. Right side, fake “Chinesium MRO”.

The best way to catch an issue like this is to know the product. Research it heavily. Look up reviews and as much video and photography as possible. Research knock-off products as well.

It is absolutely astonishing at how close companies can mimic certain optics on the market currently. For example, Trijicon products, or EOTech. Learn the differences, and don’t be taken advantage of.

Parting Shots

GunBroker isn’t the only place where you can buy and sell firearms and firearm accessories, Armslist is another option that is more locally oriented.

If you want to move into the big leagues or have something extra special to sell, you might want to look at a real auction house like Rock Island Auction Company.

Wonder how many lists John was on...

Lastly, Guns.com has some great used and new guns for solid prices plus they buy used firearms also.

In all – there are lots of safe and secure ways for you to buy and sell your gats!

Have you ever used GunBroker.com? Have you had any issues, or found a great deal that couldn’t compare to your local gun-shop or big box store?

If you want to just buy from a real retailer though, take a look at the Best Places to Buy Guns Online!

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36 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    TWR2005

    i have had nothing but problems with gunbroker. firstly they have no customer service. should you get scammed you are on your own. secondly the DO keep your personal and financial information for sale to 3rd parties. and its not minor. as a potential seller i was asked to supply, name, dob, ssn, address, checking account number, routing number, drivers license, vehicle registration and photograph...i am not sure if there is any personal information they didn't ask for. personally i refused as it was too much, then asked them to delete what the had already and close my account. after a week of asking for them to delete my financial and personal information the finally refused stating it was against their policy to do so. so i reported them for identity/information theft and misuse to the FTC and my bank. avoid these people as they are a scam waiting to happen

    September 8, 2021 11:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mario K

    First time buyer and big on one gun but found the same for instant sale, so I purchased that. My fault, I should have read the fine print. Reached out the seller to offer to pay the listing fees for rescinding the bid and got zip back. As an attempt of goodwill, tried to outright purchase an additional gun from the same seller, but accidentally picked the wrong payment method (send MO instead of credit card). Reached out to the seller, apologized, and asked how we can convert my payment method to credit card? No response. Now I have two guns in some state of limbo and Gunbroker's broken record "support" is that it's a legally binding transaction and the sale must go through, but that I could offer to pay the seller's fees to cancel the order if they are open to it. I pointed out that I already tried that and haven't gotten a response from the seller now in about 72 hours.

    June 10, 2021 7:00 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    John O

    I was charged $16 by GB for two magazines I purchased from a vendor that cost less than $80. My credit card company will shoot them down but why do I have to deal with this headache?

    May 4, 2021 8:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dan T

    Gunbroker.com is crap.

    You have to send some guy whois not even a store a copy of your drivers license to buy 100 bullets.

    Do you know how easy it is to steal someones identity with their driver license?

    Screw those people.

    April 30, 2021 5:32 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Gale

    "For instance, a handgun can not be shipped by the U.S. Postal Service. It must be shipped by a contract carrier like FedEx or UPS to an FFL holder." This is an incorrect statement. The USPS can indeed and will ship a handgun FFL to FFL and is the preferred method of Gunbroker.

    March 23, 2021 7:04 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      That section is specifically talking about non-FFL holders shipping firearms and in that case the USPS cannot be used to ship a handgun per the ATF and USC 18 478.31.

      March 23, 2021 7:15 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    William Hou

    GunBroker.com is dishonest and always wants to trick more money out of customers. I bid on three items, all of which were the same stuff: "RWS 22LR Subsonic Hollow Point 500 Rounds/ 1 Brick". At three separate times, I was outbid on all of them. The original price was $99.95. My bid was $100. And one by one, I was outbid by $2. I was outbid on the first two just a few minutes before the bids ended. And then the third 22 hours before. How do I know GunBroker.com is dishonest? -- well, because there were four items, all the same stuff; all were $99.95 each (one was just $99). Three had "0" bid each. Only the one I bid on had two bids: mine $100, and the other $102. Who would be so stupid to outbid me while there were three other items that were $99.95 each (one was just $99)? GunBroker.com is doing this out of bad faith. Really disgraceful.

    March 8, 2021 1:00 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      JT

      I scratch my head all the time about people. There are really stupid buyers all over the internet that are not smart enough to shop around. Some will even pay over MSRP on used items that are highly available. They are on every auction site I have ever used.

      May 28, 2021 9:32 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    PAUL REGNA

    BEWARE!!! GUNBROKER.com is such an unethical company, I cannot believe they are still in business. They DO NOT Return any contact, and will not help you one way or another. They are just in it to make money and do not care about the buyers at all.

    October 15, 2020 8:58 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Bob

      They have 25 employees and took 9 months to reply only because I confronted them at a booth they set up at a show... AND will only cover max $400 if you paid by m.o. AND you have to send them ALL the items from the auction, (which I never received) Otherwise they wont help at all if you pay by paypal or credit card, which is a better option for fraud cases...

      February 12, 2021 2:24 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Artur Hidvegi

        The WORST! They let a seller do negative reviews but not the buyer even when its the buyer that got screwed.

        February 25, 2021 9:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    JOHN TILLER

    It amazes me that some of these sellers have so many of the ar15's to sell. I live in the DFW area of Texas and none can be found. There is one online seller that has sold over 24 ar15's in August, really!!!!!! The prices are as high as what the local dealers charge if/when they get any. Something smells fishy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 31, 2020 5:50 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Church

    Gunbroker.com is a good place to find firearms but they have NO customer service . They have a phone number but no person will ever answer it. If they had some kind of human customer service this company would be great ,but they don't

    August 10, 2020 8:46 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dan B

    Sold a gun there and then the buyer didn't pay, re-listed and sold it again, next buyer didn't pay either. After that, I sold it locally. GunBroker.com was a waste of time.... then they decided to charge me for the auctions! I contested it with them but no dice, also contested it with my credit card company and was refunded. Then GunBroker charged me the auction fees a second time since I got refunded the 1st time through my credit card company. It was too much hassle to get a new credit card and contest it yet again so I'm just taking the loss. Lots of hassles later, I'm never using them again, they don't treat sellers fairly.

    July 25, 2020 7:36 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    gcd

    I buy and sell things through gunbroker regularly, I am not an FFL. I have had more problems with buyers than I have had with gunbroker itself. It is mostly with buyers who do not read the listings clearly and/or are unfamiliar with the FFL process.

    April 18, 2020 4:39 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Donna

      I second that!! People do not like to read. I have tried all kinds of things to get people to read the important stuff. It has gotten a little better, but still have lots that just want to be told what to do.

      April 22, 2020 9:56 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    M

    As others have noted below, this site has ZERO customer support for the average site user. You want to chat about your issue, better pay extra for that service, because only those folks who have a premium service receive access. Horrible, horrible, horrible. Recommend anyone considering GunBroker instead use other sites for your lawful purchase of firearm related items. Over two months of emails sent to customer service and never one response.

    March 9, 2020 9:50 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike Barthel

    I honestly can't believe the negative responses I have been reading. My son and I have purchased many things on GunBroker.com. All without incident. Sure, some sellers are more responsive or faster with shipping, but all that is generally visible in the seller ratings. The bottom line for buying ANYTHINg online, through and service, is to do your homework. I know that someone needs to be the first buyer from a new seller, but it is not likely to be me. I stick with people that have an established record and I have never been let down. Don't be afraid of the site because some of these other posters didn't use the site wisely or correctly. Give it a shot and judge for yourself. There are some good deals out there and most sellers are good and honorable.

    February 15, 2020 11:20 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sam

    Sounds like you're a shill for the site.

    Definitely brand new, there were only 15 pistols listed on the site when I looked at it. Only 2 rifles.

    Nearly all the pistols are from one gun shop. I wouldn't be surprised if this shop was friends (or the same people) with the creators of this 3rdcoastguns.

    Overuse of java creates boggy load times, and I'm on gigabit internet.

    Looks like someone wanted to make what they thought would be a more fancy Armslist/Gunbroker. Didn't put a lot of effort into it.

    Thumbs down.

    December 10, 2019 3:29 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sam

      This was in response to someone posting up about 3rdCoastGuns.

      It appears they deleted their comment, which didn't show until after I posted mine. Either way, avoid 3rdcoastguns.co.

      December 10, 2019 3:31 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Joseph Maese

    I hate Gunbroker. I have purchased extensively, from Sportsman Supply, a vendor on Gunbroker. My account keeps locking up, and Gunbroker support is lousy. You can only contact Gunbroker through email, and they rarely respond. You would think that Gunbroker would be service oriented. They aren't. Furthermore, on another order through a different vendor on Gunbroker, I never received the product, and FedEx confirmed that the box was damaged, and they sent it back to the vendor. Gunbroker did not help. I had to use Visa to get a refund.

    November 5, 2019 7:26 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jeffrey

    I just closed my account with Gun Broker. I accidentally did a buy now and I knew instantly I made a mistake. I sent a notification to the seller and Gun Broker. The only two options given were 1) The seller could wait 4 days, close t out as non-payment bidder and the buyer would have their account suspended. 2) I could pay about $90 for my accident. I closed my account and will take my business elsewhere. They were neither buyer or seller friendly in this case.

    October 30, 2019 3:09 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dave

    I have completed over 225 transactions on Gun Broker both buying and selling ammo, components and guns......all transactions were with USPS Money Orders......not one single issue. Dave

    October 3, 2019 4:15 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Thomas M Bradberry

      Will they bye magazines I have 2 brand new calico 50rd magazines and sks 30rd and 5.56 30 rd most are all brand new but having a hard time trying to sell them

      April 5, 2020 7:42 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Josh Fike

      That's a lie because you can't ship ammo usps

      March 8, 2021 1:00 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Gormo Norman

        Um, Josh - he said USPS Money Orders - not shipping through USPS. Reading is fundamental!

        April 6, 2021 10:55 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    vincent

    It's all good until you have any issues with delivery/refund/product.

    They are only on the seller's side. Seller sent me broken gun when I purchased a NEW gun. Gun has been returned over a month ago and still no refund(firearm returned 7/14- review on 8/23). I inquired Gunbroker and all they do is email the seller for status. Seller refuses to refund the whole amount even though there was no fault on my part.

    Also, those reviews for sellers are BS for firearm purchases. Most are for ammo.

    August 23, 2019 12:16 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Toby

      Here is an issue I had like 5 years back. I sent USPS money order overnight to seller with confirmation requested. Seller never received payment as postal service lost. I resent new USPS money orders and seller received money. All was good. Almost 1 year later, the USPS delivered first package with USPS money orders. The individual cashed them. I get letter in mail stating I now owe the government over 3k. After I had lawyers, atf, head honchos at postal service, my local DA, plus my government representative get involved. I was taking care of !!! Gunbroker did absolutely nothing in my defense as they received a letter from lawyer also. The guy did community service for his actions after he admitted he fraudulently admitted me took my money knowingly he was paid twice. Never pay with USPS money orders. You can't cancel them and there is no expiration. Pay 3 percent cc fees. I reported guy many times on gunbroker and no help.

      September 19, 2019 1:54 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Eudell Lyons

        I never pay dealer directly i always pay through gunbroker never had a problem yet

        September 20, 2019 7:42 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Richard C. Shenfeld

    Thank you for an informative article. Also thank you for your service. I loved the self deprecating style. But please remember most Americans are grateful to our service men and women. Without you we wouldn't have country. So again thanks for a wonderful article.

    August 12, 2019 10:05 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    TJ

    I have bought off gunbrokers.com several times for used weapons and weapons that are no longer made. As with any auction site I have only dealt with dealers with long established histories of transactions and I limited my purchases to sellers who have FFLs (just because gunbroker allows sellers without FFLs doesn't you, as a buyer, have to do business with them). One time I had even won an item but within days had an unexpected major medical expense leaving me unable to complete the transaction. The seller graciously allowed me to cancel the purchase for a very nominal cancellation fee. Do your homework first and you won't get burned. Try to bargain shop with lesser sellers and you will probably (ultimately) get what you pay for.

    July 16, 2019 8:49 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    B

    Just a heads up, ammunition is Hazmat class 1.4, not Limited Quantity Hazmat (like the label you posted).

    June 25, 2019 7:11 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Scott

    And most of the time firearms are MSRP+

    June 23, 2019 1:52 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Harold Callahan

    "GunBroker is not a dark web, black market to buy firearms. "

    I know, I was disappointed too. But I guess it'll have to do. :)

    June 22, 2019 12:55 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jerry

      But by what I'm told is if you contact the janitor at the ATF he can set ya up

      June 22, 2019 7:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Connor

    Beware the $1 fee just to sign up. If you sign up using a free e-mail account, like gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc., they are going to charge you $1. And they do this even if you never buy or sell anything.

    If you just want to use the features of their site that requires an account, like "watching" items, etc., they will still charge you $1. If you don't pay the $1, they will keep adding additional charges. They told me I owed them $7 before I finally told them I would never visit their site again and to stop contacting me. I never bought or sold anything on the site, yet they still said I owed them money.

    So beware.

    Here's the info about their $1 email fee: https://support.gunbroker.com/hc/en-us/articles/225254908-Free-Email-Providers

    June 21, 2019 9:55 am
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