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  1. #1
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    GUNPAL- Gpal Investigation

    This might be of interest to some. Gunpal is now under investigation by the Marin County District Attorney's Office.

    There is, or was a new company called "Gunpal" for making online payments that many people were saying was great, and telling everyone to use. I never used them, nor had any confidence in them.

    Here is an email I just received from GunsAmerica.com (a similar site to Gunbroker.com here in the US)

    There is a sentence in this email below that is important I think. (Although it is not guns we are talking about, but just another item, inert ordnance that paypal has dislike for)


    *** "A Paypal-like system for guns with similar fees in the 3% range is impossible for the gun industry" *****


    From: notifications@gunsamerica.com
    Subject: Gpal/Gunpal Public Service Announcement
    Date: October 26, 2010 6:32:28 AM EDT
    To: Steve
    Reply-To: notifications@gunsamerica.com


    Hi Everyone,

    This message is about the 3rd party payment service for guns known as Gpal, or GunPal before that. Down this message a bit you will see a link to file a complaint if you feel you have been wronged. The image on the right here is the form. If you have not been involved with making or taking payments through Gpal this message does not affect you.

    This is solely a public service announcement. Gpal/GunPal has never been an authorized payment system on GunsAmerica. There is some confusion about this because some of the other sites where you can buy and sell guns did endorse and even integrate Gpal/GunPal into their websites. We did not, even though we were offered a "deal" out of the profits like everyone else, and it was for a reason that we didn't. A Paypal-like system for guns with similar fees in the 3% range is impossible for the gun industry.

    Several years ago GunsAmerica tried to create our own third party payment system for guns. We even own the domain guncash.com. Unfortunately we discovered quickly that, when it came to "underwriting" such a system, our industry is too small. There is not enough money in it to risk the tens of millions of dollars to underwrite and FDIC insure all of the money coming and going.

    It took us years to even find a Merchant Services company (merchant credit card accounts for gun dealers) that would deal with guns being sold online. To our knowledge, our Live Payments system through Electronic Transfer Inc. is the only merchant account approved specifically for guns online (FFL dealers only) through a secure internet gateway that is also approved for guns online (authorize.net is not). If a sales rep or anyone else tells you different, or if you are offered another 3rd party payment system for guns, question it. It is not necessarily that the banks are anti-gun. They are anti-risk, and we know what it is like to make your way up the banking chain explaining the very small risks involving guns and credit, even online. The chargeback rate for guns is far below the national average for other products.

    Now, back to Gpal. Because even though we never endorsed Gpal or integrated it into GunsAmerica, a number of our sellers did take payments through them. Many have emailed us that they are unable to withdraw their funds now and have asked for help. We also have a lot of buyers who buy guns on all the online sites who are caught in the middle and have emailed us to see if we know anything.

    I spoke to Carl Chapman from the Marin County District Attorney's Office, who is in charge of managing this case. The Gpal case is an open investigation, not a case that has been labeled criminal at this time. There are several agencies involved and as far as I can tell, nobody should assume right now that Gpal did anything illegal. Everyone who made and accepted payments with them trusted them to be a successful enterprise. This could just be a speed bump from which they have yet to recover. Even PayPal had speed bumps, and they too were accused of fraudulent activity at the time.

    We are sending this email to let you know how to file a complaint. We have nothing to do with Gpal and have no knowledge of their relationships with other online gun buying and selling sites and/or internet discussion forums. We elected to not do business with Gpal from the start because of exactly these concerns.

    Mr. Chapman has asked that all complaints go through The Internet Crime Complaint Center. The URL for the form is at http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/.

    Don't worry, this is not a black hole of government inaction. All the complaints for this case go right to Mr. Chapman in spreadsheet form that is easier for him to deal with than individual complaints on the telephone. There are SEVEN TO TEN SCREENS to click through of questions to get to the final form (which you see hanging on the right here). Hang in there! The questions don't really fit this case, but answer them as close to what makes sense. I clicked through a few times with different answers and it didn't seem to matter how you answered them. They all lead to the final form.

    Hopefully the situation with Gpal-Gunpal will resolve itself and everyone will get their money back. Many small gun dealers, accepting the endorsements of trusted entities (GunsAmerica not being one of them), trusted Gpal and took payments through them. They need those funds! We pray that Gpal does make it through and that no fraudulent activity is found so that everyone gets their money. The gun industry is a very small place and we are attacked from the outside by people and organizations every day. It is better for all of us to assume the best in each other, not the worst, and let the problems work themselves out if at all possible.

    Whether you choose to use Gpal now or in the future is up to you. We do not authorize any third party payment system. It is still a free country to some extent. And we most likely will not be updating our information about Gpal in the future as we have nothing to do with them. The only public support forum we know of was recently closed by those hosting them. Regular customer support at Gpal is support@gpal.net and the customer support phone number is 1-800-813-4725.

    Thanks as always for being a part of GunsAmerica. -ph@ga


    This is an official GunsAmerica Email Notification.
    If you suspect phishing or fraud with any email related to GunsAmerica, please forward the email to CustomerService@GunsAmerica.com

  2. #2
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    I got this email today:

    As some of you may be aware of, GPal has been experiencing growing pains that are typical of a startup business in an industry that banks are often are hostile to. As a result, a small number of GPal customers have experienced delays and extra requests for information related to their transactions, involving our Automatic Clearing House (ACH) bank withdrawal payout system, affecting the timely dispersal of funds outside of GPal.

    Please note that credit cards and GPal-to-GPal transactions have not been affected, and that most customers at GPal are completely unaffected. Only a small number of customers that have had transactions occur at critical times have seen these delays, however we felt it important to notify our customers about these issues.

    We at GPal know that this letter has been a long time coming and we sincerely apologize for any delays or inconveniences regarding this matter. While we cannot get into particulars due to pending litigation, we can give our customers a summation of what has been going on and what we are doing to fix it.

    The Situation.

    When we founded GPal, I knew life would be difficult for a firearms-friendly and otherwise pro-rights payment processor because banks generally do not like working with payment processors, especially ones that cater to the firearms community. Combining the two proved to be a non-starter for years.

    Eventually, we were connected to Bank 1. Bank 1 agreed to take on our business but only with with a substantial cash reserve, which I funded out of pocket. Gpal utilized this bank’s processing services for several months and with excellent results. Then, one day, we received a notice that our ability to disburse funds via ACH had been cancelled. It was found later that our ACH access was cancelled a week prior and without notice. This caused a noticeable delay in funding and thus the first "ripple" that GPal experienced.

    After finding out about Bank 1, we quickly moved to using Bank 2, a bank we were already in negotiations with. Within two weeks, the ripple was over and ACH disbursements continued but my team had to complete each transaction by hand until Bank 2 finished our back-end integration. This process usually takes a grueling 6 months or more but we were ready in less than 20 days.

    Within a short period of time, Bank 2 unceremoniously shut us off. At that point, we decided to begin issuing paper checks to our customers, a solution that cost many thousands of dollars in mailing and printing fees out of my own pocket. We used an established third-party payment vendor to print and send these checks but many of the banks who received these checks told our customers they were fakes. After many teleconferences, all of the banks eventually reversed their opinions and concluded the checks were real, thus allowing our customers to access their funds.

    Soon after new banking agreements were signed with Banks 3 and 4 and 5, we stopped issuing paper checks and went back to conducting transfers through ACH. This went well for about a month, until Bank 3 shut off our services, less than 30 days later.

    We expanded our operations to Bank 6 and Bank 7, who initially accepted our business then reversed their acceptance less than 30 days in. We posted notifications on our Withdrawl Money page, and our support pages, to notify customers that there may be problems affecting a small portion of GPal transactions.

    We now continue to operate with Bank 4, Bank 5, and two new banks Bank 8 and soon Bank 9, as a risk-mitigation move. However, the total amount of processing reserves on the outbound side, plus processing reserves on the inbound side, are significantly larger than we expected. In addition, our credit card processing banks scrutinize each transaction, often asking for secondary validation information before releasing (or holding) funds. This is a normal activity and the reason why we occasionally ask you for a tracking number or some other proof of delivery for a product or service.

    Credit card fraud is rampant in this day and age, and GPal has seen this first-hand. We were able to build a sophisticated munti-aspect fraud mitigation system, and while we are below industry averages, we have taken our share of fraud related losses. This affects the terms of our relationship and funds required on deposit with our credit card processing banks.

    Finally, several individuals hostile to our business have made threatening calls to GPal customers, impersonating GPal staff, and taken other actions against us, which further hurts our ability to conduct business. Please note that GPal will only call you from our support number, and will only communicate with you via support@gpal.net.

    Thought all of this, GPal has fought tooth and nail to continue to bring it’s customers the services they need, and we continue to disburse money to our customers within the bounds of bank requirements. It is our aim to provide you the best pro-rights payment processing possible, and we will not waiver in that commitment.

    What we are doing about it.

    GPal depends on banks both to take in and send out money. Most of what we do is provide a conduit between these banks so that our customers can transact business. We are at the mercy of these banks and their requirements in order to bring you the GPal product, and since banks are involved in both ends of a transaction, we sometimes are asked for more information.

    The various banks that GPal processes with need security. To do that, they retain a varying portion of the funds we transmit. At first I financed many of these reserves with my own funds so when the banks would not pay out you received my money. However, I am unable to do that forever, so GPal is expanding.

    - GPal is growing it's operations and shoring up it's banking relationships with additional funds.
    - GPis is establishing new strategic partnerships that will increase volume and capability of GPal to process payments.
    - GPal is going to offer a Debit Card so that our customers can access their funds in realtime, without depending on the long transit time of ACH.
    - GPal is hiring more email and phone support staff to help deal with the increased level of customer service requests.


    How you can help.

    You can help by:
    1. Promptly providing confirmation information when GPal Support asks for it (usually this is tracking numbers, description of goods, and personal or business identity documentation.)
    2. Please keep issues confined to one email ticket by replying to that same ticket, and do not repeatedly call GPal’s 800 support line so the line can be kept clear for new issues.
    3. If you are interested in other avenues of helping, please contact GPal support at support@gpal.net.


    In order to get back on our feet and fully recover, GPal must expand it's offerings, including but not limited to offering a Debit Card for easier and immediate funds access for our sellers and expanding our processing base. To do so we need your help.

    GPal remains absolutely committed to providing the only RKBA and firearms-friendly payment service in the world.

    Sincerely,

    Ben Cannon
    Chairman/CEO
    GPal, Inc.

    I have yet to use their service. I hope they are successful in becoming a viable alternative to PayPal.

  3. #3
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    [QUOTE=Slick;168841] I have yet to use their service. I hope they are successful in becoming a viable alternative to PayPal.


    I hope so Slick, or another company. Although I agree what email said at start......


    ****"A Paypal-like system for guns with similar fees in the 3% range is impossible for the gun industry" ******


    There is no "inert ordnance industry" really, but a company that allows gun sales to be processed, will also probably allow inert ord. sales.

    If it's not a gun oriented money transfer company that succeeds like Gpal-Gunpal , than we could just get another company that is also anti-gun, anti freedom and possibly anti inert ordnance also.

 

 

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