Gun collector says Valley shop never gave him the rifle he paid for

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by Meredith Yeomans & Carey Pena

azfamily.com

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 13 at 6:30 PM

OREGON - An Oregon man had hoped to add another rifle to his collection when he bought one from a Goodyear-based business, Lancaster Arms.

“I like to shoot them with friends,” he said.

Stephen paid more than $800 for the gun and said it was only supposed to take two weeks to be shipped to Oregon, where Stephen lives.

“Then months and months went by without a rifle being sent,” he said.

Stephen said when he tried to find out what the hold-up was, he kept getting excuses.

“Everyone here has the flu, the wood isn't finished with your rifle,” he said. “It was a different excuse every time I called.”

That’s when he called 3 On Your Side.

We found Lancaster Arms has 52 complaints and an F-rating with the Better Business Bureau.

We've also learned the ATF, Arizona Attorney General's Office, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Goodyear police are looking into Lancaster Arms as well.

But we're told these investigations found no criminal wrongdoing, only accusations of bad business.

We asked owner Chester Durda about all of this.

While he didn't want to appear on camera, he did send this statement:

“In spite of losses caused by an inept government agency, bad barrels from a US vendor, long delays for imported goods, a costly recall of over 500 rifles, and an unauthorized deletion of company records by a former employee, we have weathered the storm.

We do not have the luxury of a government bailout and as fashionable as Bankruptcy has become we do not believe in walking out on our customers.

We build an excellent product and will continue to honor our commitments regardless of personal loss. We regret that we are not able to satisfy each customer as quickly as we would both like but they will be satisfied none the less.

We anticipate correcting any outstanding commitments by the end of August, 2011.”

Stephen said he's waited long enough.

He was able to dispute the charge with his credit card company.

He's also started a blog, he says to warn other gun collectors.

“The firearms community is pretty tight knit and people tend to trust each other. So, I gave this guy the benefit of the doubt, time and time again, thinking that he would come through on his word and do what he said he would do,” Stephen said. “But, apparently that was a mistake on my part.”

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