How to beat the Airsoft Scammers

The Scammers of the Internet seem to have become aware of the Airsoft community lately, with a noticeable increase in reports of people being conned on social media, forums etc. They’ve obviously worked out that the value of  used Airsoft guns is fairly high, and they could stand to make a fair bit of money from us.

It seems that the current method is to sell an item to an unsuspecting buyer, then trick them into using an unprotected  payment method such as a Bank Transfer,  PayPal “Friends and Family”  or a Paypal money “pool” rather than a normal PayPal address.   You should only use these methods if you know someone personally and know you can trust them.

The item often isn’t even theirs to sell, as in many cases the auction text and images are stolen from elsewhere on the net (which is why sellers must comply with our image rules).  Once they have your money the seller obviously never sends the item, and then becomes unresponsive to the buyers queries when it doesn’t arrive.

Frustrating as it may seem, there’s is almost no point whatsoever trying to bring the scammers to justice.  They are most likely using a fake or stolen identity which along with anonymising internet IP services and bogus email addresses will make it difficult, if not impossible to track them down.

So if if the unthinkable actually happens to you and you get scammed when buying used Airsoft stuff online, what should you do?  Well the first step should be to contact us or whichever platform you are using to let them know you’re having a problem-  That way the seller can be prevented from doing it to others.  Then you should do whichever of the following steps applies to you:

UPDATE:  A Prefired member has recently made a successful claim under PayPal buyer protection for an undelivered Airsoft gun, so it seems they may no longer be treating Airsoft guns as Firearms.  It’s now worth trying this step first, then moving on to chargeback if unsuccessful.

For Airsoft Guns:  Claim a Chargeback

The best chance of recovering your money when a gun sale goes wrong is to tell your card issuer what’s happened as soon as possible and ask them to start a chargeback claim.

What’s a Chargeback?

Chargeback is a  scheme which gives you a chance of getting your money back from your bank if you don’t receive the goods you’ve paid for.   This is NOT a legal requirement for the card processors to do this, but a part of Visa, Mastercard and Amex’s internal policies, under which you have 120 days to claim.

A Prefired Chargeback success story

One of our unsuspecting users contacted us about a seller who had disappeared offline after their item never arrived.  With a bit of support from our team he managed to get his money back in full!

I would just like to thank you for your help as without I would have been hopeless, after ringing paypal the only solution was to contact the card issuer and I have just rung them and I have been accepted a chargeback on the payment and will be receiving my money back within 1-10 days! Thanks you once again!

So it does work and it’s that’s why we consider it the first port of call for Airsoft Gun purchases that have gone wrong.

Please note:  The chargeback system only applies to purchases made by credit/debit card, NOT bank transfers, which are unprotected.

For Non Gun sales:  File a dispute claim with PayPal

Whilst it doesn’t hurt to try this, if you paid by “Friends and Family” you’re not very likely to get much help from PayPal, as payments made using this option are not eligible for Buyer Protection.  It’s best to contact them by phone so you can explain the situation to a real person as this can prove to be more effective in getting a positive outcome.

Even if you paid using the “Goods and Services” option you may not fare any better.  We’ve seen conflicting accounts of whether PayPal will cover sales of Airsoft guns via their platform as in their Terms they do not allow:

“ammunition, firearms, or certain firearm parts or accessories”

So to put it simply, if you bought a Replica Imitation Firearm via PayPal you’re probably out of luck, but most other items should be fine.

Advice on Swaps/Trades

If you are looking to arrange a swap or trade we’d advise you to do so in person rather than by post, as there is no way to actually ensure the other person posts their item once you have sent yours!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of Cure

It may be stating the obvious, but it is better to avoid being scammed in the first place.  If you follow these simple rules you shouldn’t go far wrong.

  • Don’t pay for any Airsoft items by PayPal “Friends and Family” or PayPal Pools- no matter what story the seller comes up with.
  • Don’t Pay via a Bank Transfer unless the person is someone you know and trust.
  • Make sure that the seller’s PayPal name and address details match the name they are using to sell the item.
  • Insist on tracked postage, or better yet collect the item yourself.

Check out the seller’s Prefired profile page

  • How long have they been a member?
  • Do they have a profile Picture?
  • Do they have a connected Facebook account?

While every effort has been made to ensure this article’s accuracy, it doesn’t constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you act on it, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. We can’t assume responsibility and don’t accept liability for any damage or loss which may arise as a result of your reliance upon it.

March 23, 2017 9:36 am