There is only one safe way to pay for guns and ammo online, but GunBroker won't mention it. There's no conspiracy, it's just business. GunBroker's owner is launching a competing platform to earn more money from you.
What is GunBroker?
GunBroker is the largest online firearms marketplace. In fact, it's the third-largest auction website in the world, after eBay and eBay Motors. It launched in 1999 and is now the Goliath in the online gun industry. It helps buyers and sellers find each other and agree on prices for around $1 billion in merchandise per year. It was acquired by AMMO, Inc in May of 2021.
What is GunTab?
GunTab is the only safe way for people to pay and get paid online for gun-related transactions. It launched in 2015 as a sort of "PayPal for guns", intended as a plug-and-play solution for marketplaces and retailers. It continues to protect buyers and sellers from all types of online fraud.
Why GunTab is useful for GunBroker users
GunBroker and GunTab are complementary – they should be used together. GunBroker is a great way for buyers and sellers to find each other, and GunTab is a great way for them to complete their transactions.
Unfortunately, much of GunBroker's transaction volume is still paid by methods that are extremely vulnerable to fraud. In particular, payment methods like money orders and personal checks make buyers susceptible to scams. Even PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle are dangerous for gun and ammo transactions. Obviously scammers know this. Scammers love GunBroker because there is no equally large marketplace where buyers still pay using such unsafe payment methods.
Many buyers believe they're safe from scams thanks to GunBroker's "Buyer Protection Program", but they're not safe. Due to a $100 deductible, they are guaranteed to lose money if they pay a scammer. At most price points, buyers lose more than 80% of their payment. And this assumes GunBroker approves their claim. If it doesn't, buyers lose 100% of their payment.
GunBroker does not publish data about how many of its users lose money to scams. However, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. Search for "GunBroker scam" on Reddit, Twitter, or even GunBroker's own forum. You will find countless reports of scams. Thousands of people are getting scammed on GunBroker every year due to these unsafe payments.
To put it simply, GunBroker transactions without GunTab are not safe. On the other hand, GunBroker transactions with GunTab are safe for both buyers and sellers. There is plenty of proof. For example, see a side-by-side case study, read a story from a buyer, or read the testimonials.
GunBroker won't mention GunTab
GunBroker refuses to mention GunTab anywhere, to the extent that it's awkward and even inappropriate:
- GunBroker currently lists 10 payment method options, but none are "GunTab". That's ironic for multiple reasons. First, GunTab is the only platform built for safe firearm payments. Second, one option is "Escrow", and GunTab is the only gun-friendly escrow in existence. Third, because it lists "BitRail," which is a younger, smaller, less safe competitor to GunTab (this is a clue - more on this below).
- GunBroker won't mention GunTab on its page about "Using an Online Escrow Service". This is ironic because it previously listed businesses by name, including Tradiator. And again, GunTab is the only gun-friendly escrow.
- GunBroker won't even mention GunTab on its page about "PayPal/Venmo/Zelle/Apple Pay Policy on Firearms", which it plagiarized from GunTab. See the original GunTab page versus GunBroker's obvious copy. In February 2022, GunTab opened support request #1479608 with GunBroker, suggesting: "linking to GunTab on the GunBroker page, because that is the standard practice when using another company's content." Six weeks later, GunBroker simply closed the request without responding.
- GunBroker didn't respond when GunTab reached out about improving some dangerous guidance about shipping guns.
Obviously GunBroker is avoiding mentioning GunTab. Although GunBroker allows sellers to mention GunTab in listings and even use GunTab Checkout buttons, it won't mention GunTab in any official documentation or posts. It turns out there's a reason.
Why GunBroker doesn't want you to know about GunTab
There is a simple reason GunBroker doesn't want you to know about GunTab. GunBroker's owner is launching a competitor.
In May of 2021, GunBroker was acquired by AMMO, Inc. In October of 2022, AMMO said it had been building a payment solution ever since: "The AMMO team charted a course as it closed on the GunBroker.com acquisition to develop this internal capability and has been diligently working to bring this new and exciting feature to the Marketplace since that time." This is why GunBroker has been ignoring GunTab for so long.
How AMMO payments compare to GunTab
As of October 2022, we don't know much about AMMO's new payment processing platform. Here's what AMMO says it will do:
- "substantially improve the Marketplace experience for buyers and sellers"
- "support ... crypto related transaction"
- "transition away from ... 3rd party processing relationships"
AMMO acknowledges this new platform is intended to "drive substantial additional revenue". Although it has not revealed any pricing details, it says "The fee structure will be competitive within the market".
Will the AMMO payment platform protect buyers from scams and sellers from chargebacks? At this point, it's not clear. AMMO only says, "The new service will include secure identification and fraud security tools". If AMMO's platform is similar to existing platforms, it will not protect buyers or sellers – it will simply transfer money from one account to another. If so, your protection is still up to you.
Watch out for yourself
A firearm-friendly payment platform means you no longer risk getting banned by the platform itself. But buyers still risk getting scammed, and sellers still risk getting charged back – and those are the bigger risks.
So you still need to watch out for yourself when you're doing business online. If you want safe payments, there's only one option: GunTab. It's free to open an account, try it now.
Updated 2022-10-17 to reflect AMMO's announcement of eliminating its BitRail relationship and launching a new payment processing platform.