Monday, December 6, 2010

Lancaster Arms: Still Can't Be Trusted

Well, it appears things never change at Lancaster Arms. Complaints are still being posted on this blog and throughout the Internet with great regularity, mostly involving the same ol’ thing: Chet Durda’s complete and total inability to operate his business in an honest and ethical manner.

The latest complaint, posted below, sounds all too usual…Lancaster is paid upfront based upon a promise to ship within a couple weeks, then MONTHS going by with delays, stalling tactics, excuses, and then outright belligerence towards customers when those customers complain about Chet Durda’s now famous (or is it infamous?) dishonesty.

From on December 2:


“First off, my good friend bought a stamped AK-47 and stamped AK-74 from Lancaster. Also, he had another kit that Lancaster built on their milled receiver and different/custom stock. It took 6 months for the kit gun, but he was told up front about it. He ordered the other two 4 months later, and at 6 months, after all kinds of BS as to why the AK's were not sent immediately, all three guns showed up at his FFL without any notice from Lancaster that they were on the way.

When they arrived, poorly packed, they DID turn out to be nice guns. The AK-74 is a pleasure to shoot, and according to Lancaster, has an E. German 5.45 x 39 barrel, with remainder being Bulgy. After I shot it, I wanted a MILLED receiver AK-74--model 7471M.

I ordered on 9/16, and foolishly overnighted a Cashier's Check to them. That should have sent up red flags galore, but I wanted the gun, and ignored them. Shane also told me I could deduct shipping cost from the gun cost, so I sent money for the gun and additional magazines. Shane also told me all parts were in stock, so my gun would be built and ready to go quickly.

Chet signed for the USPS envelope on 9/17. Lancaster never contacted me. I emailed them on 9/23--no response. I called them five days later on Tuesday 9/28 and Shane told me that my gun would go out on 10/1 so I should call back on 9/30 for tracking. I called to get no answer and again, no gun. On 10/9 I received an e-mail from Chet responding to the 9/23 email, acting as if he'd never heard of me or that Shane had never promised me a delivery date earlier. The email said I'd be notified by phone or email as to the ship date withing the week. That never happened, thus broken promise #2.

All throughout this, I've been calling them to no avail--i.e. phone system down, hours of operation changed, illness, etc. On 10/14/2010 since I received no contact as per the email, I contacted Lancaster and informed the secretary this was the third message I’d left for Shane or Chet that had not been returned. She called back approximately 30 mins later and told me my rifle was being test fired and would go out on the following Monday, 10/18/2010. That was broken delivery date/lie #3.

On 11/01/2010 I called Lancaster and spoke with Chet. I was told my rifle to be shipped out on 11/04/2010, and he needed to verify my FFL. This was done. I spoke to his secretary in a second call to confirm the FFL. Guess What??? Broken Delivery Date/Lie #4!

On 11/18/10 I spoke to the secretary at 12:42. She said Shane and Chet were out after putting me on hold for 10 minutes. I told her of the broken deliver dates, and that I want the gun or the money, and that I’m perfectly willing to follow legal routes to get my money. She said Chet would be in in 2 hours, he would be given the message: no returned call. On 12/02/10 I spoke to secretary at 1551. I asked for Shane or Chet, she said she’d see if they were in. I was on hold for 8 minutes, then she said neither was in the building, and promised a call back. I told the secretary that I had been promised multiple delivery times that had not been fulfilled, and that I wanted the rifle or my money, and if my call was not returned promptly that I would call the police and pursue fraud charges.

Chet returned my call and stated my rifle OR my money would go out Monday. I stated I didn’t believe the rifle would be shipped, due to past behavior, and that I just wanted my money back. He said the girl who cuts the checks will mail it Monday. I stated that if I don’t receive it by Friday, December 10th, 2010, I will press fraud charges with the Goodyear PD. He told me to go ahead and do that now, and I responded that I would give him until Friday. He said again to go ahead file charges now, but this time in a more menacing tone, and then he hung up on me. I did not, at any time, raise my voice with these people, nor did I threaten them, I just stated my belief and what I would do if I didn't receive my money within a week.

I'm afraid that Chet wasn't just mouthing off with BS bravado when he told me to proceed with Fraud. I'm afraid, however, that if I file charges, at the preliminary hearing, the judge, as is commonplace, will tell Chet or his atty, to make restitution in the amount I paid, but that he has 6 months to pay, which he'd drag out to the end. Worst case scenario is that kind of delay, but still, 6 months is better than no money at all.”


So there you have it, folks. Unfortuantely, this type of complaint is pretty typical when dealing with Lancaster, and is just one more reason - of many - that doing business with Lancaster Arms is a really, really bad idea.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lancaster Arms Rips Off Group Of Californians

In a post several months ago, I mentioned that a group of people from the forum had placed a group buy order of Dracos from Lancaster Arms. This was back in late August of 2009. True to form, Chet Durda of Lancaster Arms LLC promised these guys the sun and the moon. As is typical of Mr. Durda and his toadie Shane, these guys told the members of this group whatever they thought the group wanted to hear in order to get the sale. And of course, Lancaster required the money up front.

From what I read, this group was initially told they would get their Dracos within a couple weeks. They did get a few of the pistols after a month and a half. I’ll spare you all the details of what happened after that since, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you can probably guess how this ended. After about two months, people started growing impatient and suspicious. Lancaster missed several delivery deadlines, employed their usual arsenal of stall tactics and excuses as to why they hadn’t delivered, and to this day – over a year later – Lancaster has STILL not delivered all of the Dracos for which members of this group have paid.

If you have an hour to kill, the entire fiasco is laid out in great detail here.

If you’re one of the victims from and you’re reading this right now, understand that if you haven’t received your gun by now, you never will. You have essentially been defrauded by Chet Durda and Shane. Lawyer up or, better yet, just file a theft report with the Goodyear, Arizona Police Department. And if you’re not willing to do this, then just kiss your money good-bye, and understand that your failure to take action will only embolden Durda to do this again to someone else. In other words, if you have not received your gun, you have an obligation to take action so that others are not conned by Chet Durda like you were. If you need help finding a lawyer or dealing with the Goodyear Police, contact me and I’ll be happy to assist.

For everyone else, yes…this is typical of how Lancaster Arms operates. I don’t know of a more shady, dishonest seller of AK rifles out there than Lancaster Arms. Chet Durda’s refusal to run his business in an honest and ethical manner is now common knowledge amongst the firearms community. If you need other reasons to avoid Lancaster, just read the rest of the blog to learn about the dozens and dozens of people Chet Durda has conned and/or ripped-off.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lancaster Arms No Longer Selling To Public?

Lancaster Arms recently announced that, as of January 1, 2011, they will no longer be selling firearms direct to the public. Whether this is actually true or not remains to be seen, since - as those of you who follow this blog already know - you can't really believe anything Lancaster says anyway.

But if it is true, one can only wonder: "Lancaster, what took you so long?"

Those who have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with Lancaster Arms during the last two years are keenly aware that Lancaster was never set-up or equipped to do business with the public; a point enforced by the fact that even though Lancaster Arms' victims were often promised ship times measured in weeks, in reality it often took months to get a rifle shipped. The buffoons who work at Lancaster Arms, headed by Chief Buffoon Chet Durda, couldn't seem to do simple stuff like, oh, I don't know...remember to actually build and ship the rifle after they were paid for it?

This new situation at Lancaster (again, assuming it's true) should solve one of Lancaster's problems. That is, the problem of pissed off retail consumers who were systematically lied to by Chet Durda. Now, Chet will have to lie directly to FFL holders, who I suspect (and hope) will be less tolerant of his mountains of pure, unadulterated bullshit.

Does this all mean I might now by a Lancaster Arms AK rifle?

Not just "No.", but "Hell no!" With this change, I still expect that Lancaster will continue to over-promise and under-deliver. The only difference, is that there will just be a new middleman (the buyer's FLL or dealer) involved now. I still don't trust Lancaster's products, many of which have proven to be shoddily built. And I for certain still don't trust Chet Durda. He is in this business strictly for the money, and if that means you might get a crappy AK because he doesn't want to spend the money on building it correctly, he doesn't care. (Those of you who want an example of this, need only look at the post below, where one of Lancaster's AK's blew itself apart due to sub-standard build quality.) As far as I'm concerned, doing business with Lancaster Arms is still a huge, huge gamble and mistake .

Lancaster Arms has essentially lost the trust of the AK community, and if you doubt that, just go to any of the major AK forums and mention Lancaster Arms. On nearly every forum, you'll hear variations of the same thing: "Those guys went downhill bigtime!" "They have a history of ripping people off." "Don't believe a word Lancaster tells you!" "Lancaster's guns are bottom of the barrel, perhaps even worse than Century." "Avoid at all cost!"

Whatever you do, don't be lulled into a false sense of security that because you ordered your Lancaster gun from a dealer, you won't have any problems. The same person is still in charge at Lancaster. As long as he is running the show at Lancaster Arms, then a Lancaster Arms rifle simply won't be worth owning. Any questions?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thinking of buying a Lancaster Arms rifle? Think again.

For those new to this blog (there are many of you), please read this ENTIRE blog before attempting to buy anything from Lancaster Arms. They have a terrible habit of taking your money, and then not delivering product as agreed-upon. This blog contains complaints from dozens and dozens of people who, over the last 18 months, have been burned by Lancaster Arms and its owner, Chet "The Pathological Liar" Durda.

Lancaster is still apparently refusing to provide refunds on orders that are months overdue, as evidenced both by an email I received this week (where the victim literally had to call the police to get his refund), and recent posts like this, where a guy had to do a chargeback because he still hadn't received his refund more than a month after Chet Durda promised it.

Even worse, Chet Durda knows this blog exists, and he knows that when he lies to people it is going to be broadcast to the entire Internet...and yet he still does it! Folks, that's the sign of a person who is recklessly brazen, and who just doesn't give a damn about what he's doing.

So, if you ignore the warnings on this blog, and decide to order from Lancaster Arms anyway, understand that you do so at your own very significant risk! I can't tell you how many emails I've received from people who state, "I wish I had found this blog before I ordered from Lancaster! They've had my money for months now, and all I can get are empty promises, excuses, and the constant run-around."

Caveat Emptor.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fail: Lancaster Arms Rifle Blows Itself Apart

I hadn't planned on putting up another post so soon, until yet another defective Lancaster Arms rifle caught my attention today.

Apparently, the rifle in the picture below was being used in a tactical course when the top cover blew off of it. Being a tactical rifle course, the operator of the rifle did what he might need to do in a "real" tactical situation: he tried to make lemons out of lemonade, and unwisely fired the rifle again.


This rifle essentially blew itself apart. The entire story on what happened to this rifle can be seen here. Apparently, this was not an old or high round count rifle. So why did it do this? While we can't be sure just yet, AK expert Jim Fuller of Rifle Dynamics thinks this catastrophic failure was probably the result of Lancaster using "substandard rivets" to build this firearm.

And while Lancaster recently had a significant batch of rifles recalled for overdrilled gas ports, this particular rifle was not on the recall list. Which makes the failure even more scary. How many other Lancaster AKs are out there that were built to this same, low standard of quality?

I wish I could say I was surprised. But to any of you regular readers of this blog, you already know what I think of the owner and management of Lancaster Arms. Due to their extensive, documented history of engaging in questionable business ethics, I don't trust any of 'em as far as I can throw them. The fact that they've now also put out rifles (with both known and, apparently, uknown defects), only solidifies my extremely low opinion of Lancaster Arms.

As always, are free to comment here if you'd like. I will not edit your comments in any way (although I will most certainly respond in-kind).

Lancaster Screw You Over? Here's How To Deal With Them:

I continue getting emails on a weekly basis, and this blog continues getting user posts, where current Lancaster Arms customers are claiming some familiar things: Either they ordered their rifle months ago and it still hasn't been delivered (even though they were given a delivery date of weeks instead of months), or they called Lancaster to get a status update, were told "Your rifle is shipping tomorrow", and then 3 weeks later they still mysteriously don't have this rifle. In other words, nothing of substance has changed at Lancaster. Still the same ol' BS.

Since I am getting a lot of "What should I do???" emails, here is what you should do if you have become one of Lancaster Arms and Chet Durda's most recent victims:

1. IMMEDIATELY call Lancaster and demand that your money be returned to you within 48 hours. Explain to them that you are a reasonable and patient person, but that you don't appreciate being blatantly lied to, and that Lancaster will need to return all of your funds without further delay.

2. At this point, Chet or Shane will themselves immediately switch into damage control mode. Chet or Shane will try to "feel you out" on the phone, and will tell you whatever they think you want to hear so that you don't cancel your order. They will throw out every excuse in the book..."the CNC machine is broken", "everyone has the flu", "the wood isn't finished yet", "the dog ate your AK", "blah blah blah".

But don't buy any of it...Chet's word means nothing, and Shane isn't much better. At this point, they will take one of two tacts with you: either they will continue trying to "sweet talk" you into waiting just a little bit longer (they'll give you another empty promise of a delivery date they again won't meet), or they'll be outright rude and tell you that you can't cancel, or in some other way they'll cop an attitude and try to bully you. Don't fall for either of these tricks! A person who has already lied to you once, will have no problem lying to you again. When dealing with Lancaster Arms, don't forget this! Chet knows that you probably still want the rifle, and he will use your own emotions against you. He's very manipulative like this. But make peace with the fact that you've been screwed over and lied to, and demand your money back. Not doing so, only sends the message to Lancaster that "Yes, in fact, you CAN get away with lying to your customers!". That is not the message Lancaster needs to hear. Stay strong. Do not "wimp out". Get your damn money back! (And BTW, document this phone call you make to Lancaster. Note the time, who you spoke with, and the outcome. You can even use a cheap service like to record the phone call. It's completely legal to do, and I would advise that you do it so that there's no "confusion" later on as to who said what.)

3. If you were smart enough to have paid with a credit card, call your credit card company 48 hours after your phone call with Lancaster, and make sure your money has been refunded. If not, do a chargeback. Your bank will credit you the money, and will notify Lancaster of what has happened. (Lancaster will lose its ability to accept credit cards if they get too many chargebacks. And in fact, Lancaster currently claims they won't take credit cards...although at least one person has told me they will if you demand it.)

If you were foolish enough to have sent a check or a money order to Lancaster, things will be more difficult, as Lancaster knows your options are more limited. They HAVE been known to tell you "We'll refund your money", only for weeks or months to pass by with no refund in sight. Here too, if Chet Durda's mouth is open...he's probably lying. So, again, give them only 48 hours to have a check back in your hands. Notify Lancaster that if this does not occur, you will immediately contact law enforcement. And do NOT, under any circumstances, accept any excuses from Lancaster.

4. If you were told you were getting a refund and it doesn't appear, or if Lancaster refuses to give you 100% of your money back, your next step is to contact the Attorney General's Office in Arizona. I've spoken with them myself, and unfortunately, they are already familiar with Lancaster Arms. Nonetheless, they will help you get your money back if Lancaster exercises its common habit of not doing what they say they're going to do.

There you have it, folks. If you're tired of excuses and lies from Lancaster Arms and Chet Durda, the above steps are what need to be done to get your money back. And I can't emphasize enough: When dealing with Lancaster Arms, do not let Lancaster call the shots. After all, trusting Lancaster is what got you into this mess to begin with. Do not try to be a "nice guy" when dealing with Lancaster, as Chet Durda will smell your weakness a mile away and will play it for all its worth. Do what you need to do, and send a message: "Lancaster, you can't expect that when you repeatedly lie to customers and constantly give them the run-around, that those customers are simply going to put up with it." No more.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lancaster Arms "Complaints": A Day Late and a Dollar Short

While I was thinking the other day about the disaster called "Lancaster Arms", I decided to visit their website to see if anything had changed on it. I didn't notice much. Their website was still promising that they would provide details on their "Black Widow" rifle on July 4th. (Keep in mind, this was on August 29th. Whoops.) And then I saw that they added a new section to their website called "Complaints". LOL!

Funny, how after over 18 months of screwing people over, they finally decided to make at least SOME effort to acknowledge the fact that over the last 18 months, they have completely, utterly decimated their own reputation with an avalanche of lies and piss-poor customer no-service.

So, I clicked on this link, and what I read was utterly predictable. Chet had posted a few hand-selected complaints, none of which addressed the dozens of people who feel like they've been thoroughly screwed by Lancaster.

As for delivery date issues, Chet predictably attempts to pass the buck by saying they've made changes in the "Personnel Department". This is comical on several fronts. First, Lancaster's "Personnel Department" consists of whoever happens to answer the phone. I can certainly understand Chet trying to puff his sad company up however, making it sound like they're so big they have an entire "Personnel Deapartment". Nice one, Chet! But more funny is the notion that someone ELSE at Lancaster - people who are now ostensibly gone - are the ones responsible for the rampant lying on the telephone, when in fact Chet Durda himself was/is the biggest culprit at Lancaster when it comes to sandbagging customers. Here too, this is completely in-line with Chet refusing to own up to his outrageous dishonesty. But never fear...Lancaster nows says they're going to check their email twice a day! But wait a minute...if you have an entire "Personnel Department", wouldn't they be checking the email every few minutes instead of only twice per day? And what was that "Personnel Department" doing up until recently, that caused them to only check email once every other day?!? Hmmmm...once again, when Chet opens his mouth, things don't really add up.

Chet hilariously goes on to finish that first complaint with, "Complacency has no place in this Economy". LOL! Chet, when you typed that, did you immediately look upward to ensure there wasn't a bolt of lightening about to strike you? "Complancency" has defined Lancaster Arms for the better part of the last 18 months. Well that, and raw, outright dishonesty. The audacity of this guy is mind-blowing.

Chet then goes onto a few other complaints, including posting one where a Florida man allegedly complained about Lancaster stealing his rifle. While Chet doesn't reveal why this guy would come to that conclusion, I suspect it probably had something to do with Lancaster telling him his gun would be returned in a week or two, and then the customer still not having the gun months later. To be sure, similar reports can be found on the Internet. Either way, anytime a customer feels like they have to write an email accusing you of have a severe customer service problem. Big time.

If I didn't know the things about Chet Durda that I do know, I might be fooled by this new "Complaint" section. I might think, "Wow. This company has made some mistakes, and now they're fixing them. Good on them!"

But here's the thing...the fundamental problem with Lancaster Arms isn't "personnel" who are now gone, or unreasonable customers who falsely accuse Lancaster of stealing firearms. No, the problem with Lancaster Arms is that the company is run by a guy who is completely, thoroughly untrustworthy. To believe that Chet Durda has "seen the light" after he has ripped off and lied to as many people as he has (read the rest of this blog for details), might as well be to believe in Santa Claus while you're at it. A leopard doesn't change it's spots, and a shady businessman doesn't all of the sudden recognize the error of his ways, and become an honest businessman. That might make for a nice Hollywood movie, but real life is somewhat different.

If you wish to understand why I've come to this conclusion, just read this entire blog top to bottom. (Or really, bottom to top.) The unfortunate details of how Lancaster Arms runs its business are all here, in plain sight. No sugar-coating or excuses required.

As for Lancaster Arms, Chet's latest attempt at damage control is a day late and a dollar short. Now, whenever Lancaster is brought up on forums, the consensus is usually, "You don't want to do business with them." And look at their complaint site and tell you really want people building your rifle, who aren't even professional enough to use a spell-checker on their own marketing website? If they can't even be bothered to pay attention to obvious details on a simple web page they use to market their business, what on Earth makes you think they're going to pay any attention to details with the rest of their work?

Maybe they can get one of the millions of people who work in their "Personnel Department" on that right away! If they can get the "Personnel Department" to now answer emails twice a day, perhaps there's hope that a third-grade level of proficiency in the English language won't be far behind!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lancaster Arms Called Out on Youtube

Well folks, nothing ever seems to change for the better at Lancaster Arms. Chet Durda, Shane, and the rest of the schmucks at Lancaster continue ripping people off left and right. Yes, the Internet continues to be filled with stories of people who are having very significant problems with Lancaster Arms. These people send money to Lancaster, are told their rifle, repair job or product will arrive in just a few weeks, and then MONTHS later they are still waiting.

"MrLockandload", who is a well-respected and popular firearms commentator on Youtube with over 2,000 subscribers, even got so pissed at Lancaster Arms and Chet Durda that he had to make a 10-minute video just to shame Lancaster into returning the money that he sent Lancaster back in March for 10 barrels. Shane at Lancaster told MrLockandload that he'd send a check three weeks ago. But that's what Lancaster does. Even though they don't send product when the promise they will, they tell customers "the check's in the mail". (Literally, in this case!)

Given the way Lancaster has been operating during the last year or so, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that some kind of ponzi scheme is going on. In fact, one of the leading builders in the AK industry has suggested that that's exactly what's going on at Lancaster...that Lancaster is using money from new customers, to pay for and fulfill orders for customers who have been waiting for many months.

Whatever the case, one thing is for certain. Chet Durda, the owner of Lancaster, can't be trusted as far as he can be thrown. Based on my own personal dealings with him, I know Mr. Durda to be a man of extremely low character, and extremely low integrity. Given the way he attempted to defraud me (see the story elsewhere in thsi blog), at this point I'm somewhat surprised Lancaster Arms is still in business. Especially given the way word is rapidly spreading about Lancaster Arms and Chet Durda's questionable business practices.

As I say at the end of almost every post, if you know what's good for you, do NOT do business with Lancaster Arms. In my opinion, it's just a matter of time before they go under. They've simply screwed over too many people at this point.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lancaster Arms Continues Playing Games with Customers

Here we are, into July, and not only have things with Lancaster not improved…but they actually seem to be getting worse.

Various message boards continue to be filled with people who claim that Lancaster is jerking them around, not shipping rifles by promised ship dates, taking months to repair returned rifles, not returning phone calls and emails, and in general just acting as though their customers are nothing but a nuisance to them. This thread serves as a great example of what to expect if you unwisely decide to do business with Lancaster Arms these days.

Although it is certainly implied in all the posts on this blog, at this point I feel compelled to state this in no unequivocal terms: Given the way Lancaster Arms has been running its operation during the last year in particular, it is my strongly-held opinion that doing business with Lancaster Arms right now is very, very risky. From both my personal experience in dealing with Chet Durda and Lancaster Arms, and from the vast amount of data on the Internet indicating that Lancaster has now perfected the dubious art of over-promising and under-delivering, I absolutely do not trust Chet Durda and Lancaster Arms.

If you choose to ignore this warning, ONLY purchase from them with a credit card. Under no circumstances should you send cash, a check or a money order to Lancaster Arms, as doing so leaves you with little to no recourse in the event Lancaster treats you the same way it is currently treating many other customers. And if Lancaster Arms won’t take your credit card, you should consider that to be a warning sign and go elsewhere.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Page Google Results! Thanks Everyone!

As of a few days ago, the "Lancaster Arms Sucks Blog" achieved a first-page Google ranking for searches of "Lancaster Arms". That was a big goal of mine with this blog. (Or at least, one of 'em.) I wanted EVERYONE who does a search for Lancaster Arms, to see who they're really doing business with. And now they will.

Thanks everyone for your backlinks! Keep 'em coming. Now that we're on the first page (woo hoo!), let's move on up and grab the #2 spot!

Lancaster Arms: Still the "BP" of the Firearms Industry

So, this blog has been up over six months now. Rational people might assume that Lancaster Arms would have “seen the light” by now, and fixed the many problems with its business. But has that happened? Nah. Not a chance. You see, getting Lancaster to “a good place” would take an owner who cared. And Chet Durda, the owner of Lancaster Arms, simply does not care. At least, that’s the only rational explanation for behavior and customer service that remains, in every way, bottom-of-the-barrel in the firearms industry.

One might think that having been publicly called out to the extent Lancaster has, that they’d be on their very best behavior until things settled down. But to think that, is to underestimate how much Chet Durda really, truly does not care. The man, and several of his staff, continue to lie to customers as if they don’t even know that not lying is actually an option. As a case in point, read this recent disaster of an experience that a Pennsylvania man had with Lancaster. When he ordered his rifle in January, the fork-tongued Durda told this man his rifle would be done in 8-10 days. It then took 5 MONTHS for the customer to get…a defective rifle. All the while, when he contacted Lancaster about these constant delays, he was shamelessly lied to multiple times by Chet Durda and the rest of the incompetent stooges employed at Lancaster.

To those of us familiar with Lancaster Arms and its owner Chet Durda, that episode is not at all surprising. Several of us (including yours truly) have had similar experiences, and the basic story is always the same: Durda tells you you’ll get your gun in a timeframe he knows damn well he can’t deliver on, people eventually call up wondering where in the hell their rifle is, Durda and his bumbling staff go down their list of “the dog ate your AK” type excuses, and eventually, after all that, Lancaster winds up delivering a rifle that has something wrong with it. There are literally dozens and dozens of versions of this basic story documented online, from people who exercised the bad judgment to trust anything Chet Durda says. In fact, one can now read certain gun forums and find the term “Durda’d”, to describe when one has been lied to. Yes folks, you KNOW things are bad when your last name literally becomes a synonym for lying!

So what’s the result of all this? Well, it’s pretty much as you might guess. An “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau, a growing problem file with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, and a reputation (especially online) that speaks to the level of distrust the firearms community has developed towards Lancaster Arms and Chet Durda. These days, when new people stop by a firearms forum and ask “I’m thinking of buying a rifle. What do you guys think of Lancaster?”, without fail, those new people are met with an avalanche of warnings to stay the hell away from Lancaster. Apparently Lancaster never heard the saying, “Nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news.”

There you have it, folks. Doing business with Lancaster Arms is bad, bad news, and if you attempt to buy something from them…don’t say you weren’t warned.

As a reminder, for those new to this blog (Google Analytics tells me there are several of you), read all the posts here to get a good sense of the problems with Lancaster. In particular, read the January complaint threads. You'll quickly learn why this company is SO bad...there's actually a blog dedicated to discussing how bad it is.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lancaster Arms likes this blog!!! So, let's get more hits to it!

Folks, thanks for your support of this blog. As I noted in the previous post, this blog now ranks #18 for searches of "Lancaster Arms". We've passed 10,000 hits, and visits to this site are increasing exponentially. That's quite good, as it means word is spreading quickly that doing business with Lancaster Arms is a bad, bad idea!

But, we can do even better. So, please link to this blog whenever you appropriately can. The goal is to get front page Google results for "Lancaster Arms". We're almost there! Together, we'll help "remind" Lancaster Arms and Chet Durda that ethics, integrity and honesty actually DO matter. It's just a damn shame they need to be reminded.

And don't worry...Lancaster Arms and Chet Durda WANT this blog publicized! How do I know? Because Lancaster's own website told me so. From Lancaster's website, on November 7, 2007: "I [Chet Durda] believe open discussion is healthy for the consumer and the Industry in general. We don't live in a perfect world and exposing problems is the best way to resolve them. So, keep the discussions and comments coming, and try to keep the praise or criticism directed to those that actually deserve it."

Gee...I couldn't agree more, Chet! Glad this blog meets with your approval!

“How To Destroy Your Own Reputation 101”. Taught by the experts at Lancaster Arms.

Well, I’d say it’s pretty much official. The transformation is almost entirely complete: Lancaster Arms is now widely regarded as a bottom-of-the-barrel AK manufacturer that should be avoided at all costs. And how do we know this? Simple. Nowadays, when the subject of Lancaster comes up on forums, there isn’t a whole lot of debate or drama anymore. Just several people responding with some variation of, “You don’t want to do business with Lancaster. They’ve dicked over too many people, and at this point you’d be foolish to take your chances with them.” This thread is a great example of what I’m talking about. Simple, direct, and straight to the unfortunate point.

It would be nice to think that the Lancaster fiasco of the last year would have caused the people who run Lancaster to re-think how they do business. But as I’ve stated several times now, a leopard doesn’t change its spots. Once it has been established that the owner of a company is prone to committing frequent dishonest acts, the idea that the owner is going to suddenly stop being dishonest is enticing…but ultimately elusive. Sure enough, reports are still coming in that “Lancaster told me weeks ago that they were going to do XXX, and they still haven’t done it. You guys were right. I should have steered clear of Lancaster.”

And BTW, I’ve gotten two emails from people asking, “Why did you start this blog? What did Lancaster do to you?” Well, if you read the first two posts on this blog, you’ll see why it was necessary to create it. Towards the end of last year, literally dozens of people came out of the woodwork to complain that they had somehow been wronged by Lancaster. Most of these complaints revolved around simple dishonesty, and Lancaster’s almost comical inability to actually do what they tell customers they’re going to do. Lancaster talks a good game, but ultimately, talk is cheap. It’s how a company executes that matters, and in this regard Lancaster is a disaster of epic proportions. It was only right and fair to warn others before they were lulled into a false sense of security by Lancaster’s owner, Chet “I make used car salesmen look good in comparison” Durda.

With regard to me personally, I was a victim of Lancaster’s fraud. Durda told me on two separate occasions that a rifle I had ordered was being shipped “tomorrow”. He once even told me the rifle was sitting right there in front of him. But on my last call about the rifle that never showed up “tomorrow”, a Lancaster employee informed me that not only had the rifle never shipped, but Lancaster didn’t even have the parts to build the rifle. Good ol’ Chet Durda had just flat-out lied to me, and was holding onto funds for a rifle he knew he didn’t even have the parts to build. I don’t know about you, but I call that “fraud”. A less despicable human would have called and said “Sorry, we can’t build the rifle you paid for. We’re sending your money back.” But Durda decided to play the “let’s see how long this sucker will let me hold his funds” game because…well…the guy is a scumbag like that.

Stay tuned. Much more to come…

P.S. Thanks for all the backlinks! This blog is quickly climbing in relevant search rankings for "Lancaster Arms", and is now ranked #18 for that phrase! That would certainly explain why traffic to this blog is exploding!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Lancaster Arms Sucks" Blog Achieves 10,000 hits!

Thanks to everyone who has visited this blog! As of May 16th, this blog has achieved 10,000 page views. That represents thousands of people who, while doing research, have stumbled upon this page and discovered that buying a Lancaster gun might not be in their own best interest. That’s the power of the Internet. In past decades, dirtbags could operate a shady business for a LONG time before anyone knew their business was shady. But nowadays “people talk”, and they do so almost in real-time. This can only be a good thing. Well, good for those who have nothing to hide. As for the Lancasters of the world, maybe it isn’t such a good thing.

Also, thank you for all the kind emails. Clearly, this blog has helped many of you arrive at a smarter buying decision. I’m glad some of you won’t get to experience the legendarily bad customer service that has become Lancaster’s calling card. I’m also thankful that with each passing day, more and more people are discovering this (and other) boards, and are deciding with their wallets that “ethics matter!” It’s unfortunate that Lancaster still hasn’t gotten the memo.

And speaking of them, it appears from various posts on the Internet that Lancaster continues with its old tricks of over-promising and under-delivering. As recently as today, there are still fresh posts on the various firearms forums claiming that “Lancaster told me my gun would be done in 4 weeks, and here we are 8 weeks later and all I get from them are lame excuses and their trademarked run-around.” Yup, good ol’ Chet Durda (who couldn’t tell the truth about anything if he had to) is STILL at it, telling customers whatever he thinks they want to hear. You’d think the ol’ coot would figure out by now that the jig is up, and that his constant lying has become the topic of conversation on firearms forums from Connecticut to California. And yet, he’s still at it! He is either completely unaware (doubtful), or he completely doesn’t care (most likely). But then, you can’t “make” someone care. All you can do is warn others.

Glad I could warn others more than 10,000 times.

Stay tuned. Lots of good stuff in the pipeline...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lancaster Arms Continues to Struggle with Quality Control and Customer Service Issues

Well, here we are, solidly into spring. The grass is once again growing, the birds are chirping...and Lancaster Arms is still the epitome of how NOT to run a business.

Rather than review Lancaster's problems, I'll let you read for yourself.

Here is a thread from (the largest firearms-related website in America), where over a period of almost two months various issues with poor Lancaster Arms quality and poor Lancaster Arms customer service are discussed. This 10-page long thread is an insightful read, and should give you a good idea as to why Lancaster Arms has developed such a poor reputation in the AK-owning firearms world: (Sorry, Google's hot-linking mechanism isn't working at the moment. Just cut-and-paste these links into a new browser window))

Likewise, here is another thread on (another well-known and popular firearms-related website) detailing extensive problems with poor Lancaster Arms quality and customer service:

Read up, folks. And if after reading all of that you STILL want to do business with Lancaster Arms...well, don't complain that you weren't warned! Lancaster Arms is bad news.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lancaster Arms Pathetic Mea Culpa (a day late and a dollar short)

So, you recall how Lancaster kept proclaiming that nothing was wrong with its rifles? Well, as of April 10th, Lancaster has posted a "mea culpa" on its website, verifying that yes, in fact, some of its rifles have problems. But even with that admission, Lancaster is still lying. They claim they've retrieved almost all of the problem rifles, when Lancaster's own vendors state that they've sold HUNDREDS with only a few returns. Somebody isn't telling the truth here (cough Chet cough)...

But luckily, I speak Lancastereese, so I have translated their admission right here:


"Notice: We Lied Before. Yes, Our AK-74 Rifles DO Suck:

Look, we know that we told several of you that there were no problems with our rifles. And we know that we told a few of you that all the bad things being said about us on the Internet were just "Internet Urban Legends".

But apparently, a few people have called our bluff, as all of the popular AK forums (and gun forums in general) are buzzing about how much Lancaster Arms sucks. And besides, our sales are falling off a cliff! We had better engage in some damage control QUICK so that we can keep our doors open. After all, if I - Chet Durda - can't spend my days lying my ass off to everyone who calls - what in the hell am I going to do with all my time. Kick puppies? (Only in my dreams.)

Yes, we ignored this problem for as long as we could, and pretended as if it didn't exist. But truth be told, we've had so many charge-backs on these (and other) rifles, that we lost our credit card merchant account, and had people complain to the Arizona Attorney General's office. Yeah, we tried to sweep this problem under the rug, and we told several of our customers on the phone that we had no idea what might be causing these problems. But of course, that was just one more lie from us. We knew EXACTLY what was causing these problems. We were just hoping that all you jackasses (oh, excuse me..."customers") wouldn't put two and two together, and figure out that we were full of shit. Apparently we were wrong.

But rest assured, we will fix your broke-ass rifle! Even if it's not convenient for us! Sure, we might just ship another broken-ass rifle right back to you, just as we've done to a few other jackasses (whoops, I mean "customers".) We're classy like that! And when you call, we also might give you some attitude on the phone because, well...we're really stressed out these days that people have FINALLY figured out that all of us here at Lancaster are COMPLETELY FULL OF SHIT!

So if you have a problem, call us. Sure, unless you're buying something, you won't actually be able to talk to me, Chet Durda. I tell my office staff to say "He's in a meeting" anytime someone calls looking for me. And in this regard, I've even been caught red-handed lying before. I don't want to talk to you unless you've got money for me! But if by some stroke of luck you get to talk to me personally, ask me how all those military sales are going! Better yet, ask me if I've ever sold a single AK rifle to the US military! But beware...I might, uh, well, "be less than entirely truthful" when it comes to such things.

In conclusion, yes...we at Lancaster are in a pickle right now. Word has spread (and it's still spreading) that we are bad news. In fact, if you Google "Chet Durda", you will find out that I'm not exactly the most trustworthy guy in the world. But look...I really care about all you jackasses (damn...I mean, "customers"), so please hold your nose, pretend as if you don't care about little things like "honesty, "integrity" and "ethics", and give me your money! I'll make you a REAL nice rifle, and I'll ship tomorrow! I'm Chet Durda...would I lie to you?!?

My very bestest, bestest most goodest and bestest regards,
Chet Durda

P.S. If you're not interested in one of my crap rifles, can I interest you in a nice car I have for sale? It's a really nice 1985 Yugo, and this baby is CHERRY! I'll even throw in free floor mats! What'll it take to get this in your garage? Oh, those aren't rust holes, they're "air vents". And you've heard of "anti-lock brakes"? Well this gem has "anti-lock doors". It's the latest thing! They aren't building these collector models anymore! Its only got twenty-seven and a few zero miles. And because I like you, I'll let it go for $9,999. I'm Chet Durda...would I lie to you?"


But seriously, this Lancaster admission won't do it. Given that this flaw makes these rifles potentially dangerous, I suspect Lancaster and its distributors have a legal obligation to recall all of them. Certainly, I intend to file a complaint with the BATF myself on Monday morning.

Oh, and others are not impressed by this Lancaster notice either. Here is a post about this on, wherein members display their outrage that Lancaster pretended as if there was no problem until they couldn't deny it any longer.

Bring on the lawyers...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lancaster Arms and Chet Durda: Still Bad News

Well, here we are, into April. And Lancaster Arms is – quite remarkably – still in business. Some interesting things going on these days with regard to Lancaster:

1. Problems with Lancaster rifles are STILL cropping up on the various AK message boards on a regular basis. Lancaster has apparently admitted that some of its barrels were out-of-spec, and that some of its rifles have problems. (If you merely call a rifle tearing itself apart in only a couple hundred rounds a “problem”. I call it a “disaster”.) One poster even claimed that his stainless steel barreled Lancaster rifle lasted only 120 rounds. ONLY 120 ROUNDS! Lancaster blamed it on the barrel supplier, which is funny, seeing as how Chet Durda once told me that Lancaster makes all of its own barrels. (You see Chet, this is what happens when you lie all the time. You start contradicting yourself all over the place.) Regardless, if you go to the “AK Discussions” or the board and do a search on “Lancaster”, you will find literally dozens of complaints about the low quality of Lancaster’s most recent rifles. If, after reading all those threads, you STILL want to own a Lancaster rifle, something is wrong with you.

2. Lancaster is STILL well-known for telling people “Your rifle will ship tomorrow, and we’ll email you a tracking number”, when they never ship it that next day nor provide a working tracking number. Hey Lancaster…are you guys TOTALLY and COMPLETELY incapable of telling the truth? Seriously, WTF?!? How hard is it to tell a customer, “It may take several weeks before we get to your rifle?” When you tell a customer “Your rifle is shipping tomorrow”, and they don’t have it a week later, how in the hell do you think that customer is going to react?!? Lancaster has become infamous for its inability to estimate repair and shipping times. (And yes, plenty of their rifles have needed repair lately.)

3. Lancaster’s website says that they are STILL not accepting credit cards. Sorry folks, but anytime a gun dealer doesn’t accept credit cards, that is a HUGE, HUGE red flag. If you think that sending a check or money order to Lancaster is a good idea…you’re more brave than I.

4. Recently, a well-known and highly respected builder in the AK world posted a message on one of the public AK forums. He had some extremely negative things to say about Lancaster, which included calling into question the character, integrity and honesty of Lancaster’s owner, Chet Durda. Read this devastating post here.

5. Recently, Lancaster has advertised that it is selling milled Bulgarian rifles with “original Bulgarian barrels.” Let me just say…I’m suspicious. Original Bulgarian barrels don’t grow on trees, and they tend to be somewhat expensive even when you can find them. So to anyone who has bought one of these, I offer this up: If you bought one of these $688 milled Lancaster rifles, let me know and I will PERSONALLY pay for you to send the rifle to a qualified AK-smith to verify barrel origin. If four or five people take me up on this offer and all barrels come back as genuine Bulgarian, that’ll be that. But if these barrels turn out NOT to be Bulgarian, I will personally write the fraud complaint to the Arizona Attorney Generals Office and the BATF. Sorry, but I know from personal experience that Chet Durda has a habit of lying, so I thus question anything Lancaster is doing that appears suspicious. And selling milled Bulgarian AK’s with original barrels for $688, appears suspicious. Send me an email if you bought one of these rifles, and want to know the TRUE origin of your barrel.

6. Some guys on the Calguns forum are STILL waiting on group buy rifles that they purchased from Lancaster LAST OCTOBER! Yup, going on seven months now and Lancaster can’t fulfill this group buy order. That’s just raw, flat-out incompetence.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chet Durda credulously refers to Lancaster Arms' many problems as "Internet Urban Legends".

So it seems that, according to at least one report on a popular Internet firearms forum, if you call Lancaster these days and tell them you might be interested in ordering if not for all the negative Internet “chatter” surrounding Lancaster, Chet Durda - the owner and CEL (Chief Executive Liar) of Lancaster Arms - will tell you that all this chatter is nothing but “Internet Urban Legend” put out there by “unhappy armchair warriors”. Yes, it seems that everyone’s favorite firearms dealer/used-car salesman, Chet Durda of Lancaster Arms, still refuses to own-up to the very significant problems with both himself and his company.

We’ll review those problems in a minute. But first let me say, I have been a participant on various firearms-related Internet forums for many years. And I can tell you this with certainty: when people start dogging one person or firm in particular on those forums, if that criticism is not warranted or is unfair, others will very quickly stand up and say as much! On these forums, there are generally enough people around, with enough experience, to be able to quickly sort through criticism that is just, and criticism that is unjust. And the reason that the criticism of Lancaster has NOT gone away (in fact, I’d say it’s picking up steam), is because – Mr. Durda’s wishful thinking aside – the gripes about his company are unfortunately quite real.

So with that said Mr. Durda, please provide answers to the following facts and questions:

1. On this blog alone, there are approximately 30 complaints about Lancaster’s customer service and quality control. 30 complaints! Just on this single blog! And on other Internet forums, there are far more. Are these all just “Internet Urban Legends”, Mr. Durda?

2. Lancaster Arms currently has an “F” rating with the Arizona Better Business Bureau. Is this just an “Internet Urban Legend” too, Mr. Durda?

3. There are now several videos on Youtube of recently-built Lancaster rifles literally falling apart after only a small number of rounds are put through those rifles? I suppose that’s just “Internet Urban Legend” too, Mr. Durda?

4. According to the Lancaster website, Lancaster recently stopped accepting credit cards. With most companies that sell high dollar value items, that is a HUGE red flag. I suppose this, too, is just “Internet Urban Legend” Mr. Durda?

5. The Arizona Attorney General’s office has opened a complaint file on Lancaster Arms, in response to Lancaster’s failure to timely resolve problems. And let me guess Chet Durda…this is also part of the “Internet Urban Legend”?

6. On another website, a very highly-respected and award-winning AK builder who knows Mr. Durda personally, called Chet Durda out as “a pathological liar", "a cheat", a "con man" and "a sociopath". Yes…this is actually somebody who personally knows you Mr. Durda, and who has worked with you and your company, Lancaster! But let me guess…this is just all part of the unfair “Internet Urban Legend” you describe? There can't POSSIBLY be anything wrong with little ol' innocent you, right???

Gee, Mr. Durda. It kinda seems like the complaints lodged against Lancaster Arms, and you personally, aren’t “Internet Urban Legend” at all, but in fact are based on a series of problems that are both well-documented and easy to verify. And given that I also personally know you to be a dishonest and fairly despicable human, I can understand how you would attempt to whitewash things, and try to proclaim that it is everyone ELSE with the problem. That's what people like you do.

So with this allegation Mr. Chet Durda, the only thing you got right was that I (and several others) are “unhappy”. We’re unhappy that you seemingly lack any character or integrity. We’re unhappy that your word means nothing. We’re unhappy that people like you give this entire industry a black eye. We’re unhappy that the Arizona Attorney General’s office has not sanctioned you (yet). We’re unhappy that you apparently think you can outsmart the entire Internet. We’re unhappy that, even after being exposed as a liar in public, you continue to lie like a rug. And mostly, we’re unhappy that you’ve attempted to sweep these problems under the rung and pretend as if they don’t exist. And on a personal level, I’m unhappy that you directly lied to me on three occasions, apparently with no concern whatsoever.

So Mr. Durda and Lancaster, the next time someone calls you and inquires as to why you’ve developed such a bad reputation, you might want to think twice about trying to just blow off the criticism. People ARE going to hear the truth about you and Lancaster…no matter how hard you try and hide it from them.

** As a programming note, to everyone who is new to this blog (and there are many of you according to my hit counter), please read all the posts…ESPECIALLY the post from January containing all the complaints about Lancaster and Chet. **

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lancaster Arms: Still Major Problems

Last time I posted an update in late January, Lancaster Arms and Chet Durda were busy pissing off their retail customers. Since that last post, some interesting developments have taken place with Lancaster Arms:

1. Very recently, Lancaster changed their website and noted that they are no longer accepting credit cards. Gee…now why would a company that mostly sells high dollar-value (over $500+) items, all of a sudden stop taking credit cards?!? If I had to guess, I might speculate that Lancaster Arms lost its credit card merchant account. I know for a fact that several people – me included – had to do a chargeback to get our money back from Lancaster after Chet Durda constantly lied about the shipping dates on products we bought from him. I would not at all be surprised if this is what happened. To be sure, it is strange that a company like Lancaster Arms would just stop accepting credit cards all of a sudden. Real strange. As in, “This can’t be good” strange.

2. Also recently posted on Lancaster’s website is a note that they are stopping production of their “Rough Rider” series of AK-74’s. At first thought this also seems strange, since it sure does appear that many people have purchased this rifle in the last month or two. It’s not as if it was a commercial flop or something. But when you do a little digging, it appears that Lancaster’s “Rough Rider” series is plagued with quality-control problems. There have been a couple of videos posted on Youtube of people who bought Lancaster Arms Rough Rider rifles that literally started to fall apart after fewer than 1,000 rounds! And when I say “fall apart”, I mean exactly that…rivets popping loose, dust covers blowing off, etc. One guy on Youtube even claims that he will be sending his Lancaster rifle back because he is afraid of it! Nice. Apparently Chet Durda wasn’t content to just offer shitty customer service…now quality problems seem to be cropping up on the forums on a more frequent basis.

Google “Lancaster, Rough Rider, problem”, or some similar combination of search terms, and you’ll find a mountain of problems with this particular model of Lancaster rifle. No wonder Lancaster is discontinuing these!

3. I recently discovered a group of people in California who did a “group buy” of Lancaster Draco rifles. As might be predicted, Lancaster screwed them, left them hanging, and to this day continues to give them the run-around (Chet’s specialty) every time they call to see where their rifles are. As of today, they have an Internet thread that is 103 pages long (not a typo), complaining about how bad they’ve been lied to and screwed over by various personnel at Lancaster. A couple guys there are even starting to talk about hiring a lawyer to keep Lancaster honest. And yet, having dealt with Lancaster myself for months just trying to get someone there to give me a straight story, I’m not even remotely surprised.

So there you have it. Now, for those of you who are new to this blog, keep reading. In particular, read the previous posts about all the complaints that have been circulating on the Internet about Lancaster. I absolutely, positively do NOT trust Lancaster Arms or Chet Durda, and in my opinion, doing business with them is AT YOUR OWN VERY SIGNIFICANT RISK! Particularly now that they don’t take credit cards, you are basically going to be screwed if you order anything from Lancaster, and they treat you like they’ve treated so many of their other customers. As Chet proved to me, once he has your money…he couldn’t care less about you or what you ordered. If you’ve read this blog and yet still decide to order a firearm directly from Lancaster Arms, don’t come back here crying if you get screwed. You’ve been warned.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lancaster still up to its old tricks...

So, you'd think that with this blog out there, Lancaster might engage in a bit of self-reflection, and understand that it needs to change it's business practices, right? Well, that's what a well-run company would do. But this is not a well-run company. This is Lancaster Arms.

Just today (January 29, 2010), yet another person came out of the woodwork on one of the big gun forums, and had this to say about Lancaster:

"Almost 2 months for mine and still waiting. I don't care if it takes time, just don't lie to me. If they told me they couldn't ship my rifle for 2 months, I would have said fine. But these characters told me my rifle would ship "tomorrow" back in Dec, and it never did. When I called, they said they would call me back later that day, but they never did. This has happened 5 times. What a shady outfit."

You hear that Lancaster? People are now starting to use terms like "shady" and "dishonest" to describe your business. And nowadays, whenever the Lancaster name comes up in a post, it is almost always followed by the same warning from someone: "Do not do business directly with Lancaster! They are not trustworthy, and they will NOT ship your rifle when they say they will. Those guys are lying bastards!" You're definitely doing something wrong when people feel compelled to warn others everytime your name is mentioned.

Any by the way, I'd still like an answer as to why I was lied to for two months about the rifle I ordered from you. You told me multiple times "It's shipping tomorrow", and it never did. And yet, for some reason, no one at Lancaster seems to be able to muster up the courage to call and apologize for lying. I mean, it's as if you guys really are as shady as everyone on all the popular gun boards is saying.

This forum will stay up, and be publicized, until someone at Lancaster owns up to their dishonesty.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

And so it begins...

Greetings, folks. This blog has been started in response to some horrible (beyond horrible, really) customer service I received when doing business with Lancaster Arms, of Goodyear, Arizona. Lancaster is a manufactuer of military-style arms. They are a military contractor, and they also sell firearms to dealers and eligible individuals. (I.e., basically any U.S. citizen over the age of 18, without a criminal history.)

As of late, this company has developed a reputation for lying to customers with regard to orders that have been placed. Whenever a customer calls Lancaster to initially place an order, the owner of Lancaster Arms (Chet Durda) is more than happy to provide outstanding service. But once he has your money...well, then the real fun begins. At that point, the promises he made in order to get you to buy one of his products, start to reveal themselves as more than a little hollow. (This guy comes off as having all the genuineness of a used-car salesman.)

Lancaster's most famous (infamous?) trick is to tell customers that "your order is shipping in two days". This seems to be their canned response to any inquiries about customer orders. Often, customers are calling because the initial product shipment date they were given by Chet Durda, appeared to be...uh..."optimistic". (Many people believe Mr. Durda simply lied to them.) One has to wonder what makes Chet Durda think that when he gives customers a bogus shipping date, those same customers aren't going to be pissed off a week later when they discover that Mr. Durda appeared to be "less than entirely truthful" with them.

And let me be of the funny things here, is that Lancaster Arms' products are actually pretty good. They have a good reputation for building quality rifles. Which makes it all the more interesting that their customer service is SOOO bad, it still leaves people wanting to complain about them! Incompetence, anyone?

So, without further delay, let Lancaster Arms' customers tell you everything you need to know about this company. [All of the comments I'm posting are from real customers. I have not used their real names or online ID's, although if any of them want to take "pride of ownership" in a comment they recognize is theirs, they are more than welcome to. Also, I have a record of every single comment I post, just in case anyone wants to accuse me of making anything up.]

Buyer beware...

A history of abusing and being dishonest with customers...

Lancaster Customer #1, on January 4, 2010: “I began my order with Lancaster via XXXXX in XXX in July 2009. A stamped AK with Amber/Norinco colored stained wood. After XXXX shipped me a non-test fired rifle in unacceptable condition in September- Lancaster told myself and XXXX that they would get a replacement out in less than a month with a new barrel and receiver (same special stained wood.) Again folks this was in late September 2009. I reaize Lancaster has or had a good reputation previously but their reputation has apparently fallen by the way side and they have demonstrated that they DON'T CARE. 6 months for a "Special Order" stamped AK 7.62 is unacceptable by anyone's standards. In fact XXXXX is well aware of the transaction- apparently it's NOT XXXXX first problem with Lancaster.”

Lancaster Customer #2, on January 5, 2010: “Add one more to the list of people that have been burned by Lancaster.

To make a long story short, after 3 weeks of both Chet and Mike dodging my phone calls and emails I finally caught them red handed. I called them up one morning and Heather answered the phone and as usual told me that both Chet and Mike were "out of the office" for various reasons, same BS I got everytime I called. This time I had my father call back no more then a minute later and acted as if he was a new customer looking to place an order. Sure enough Heather transferred him right through to Chet. I hopped on the phone and identified myself and was immediately put on hold and transferred back to Heather. At that point my suspicions had been confirmed and I just told her to cancel my order. She proceeded to get very rude with me demanding credit card info so she could process the refund and then promptly hung up on me after I read off the expiration date.

All I can say is BEWARE of purchasing from Lancaster, they are about as crooked as they come. “

Lancaster Customer #3, on January 5, 2010: “I ordered my AK the first week of October and followed up on three ocassions, the most recent from Heather two weeks ago. I was told that it's on the way. Today nothing. Atlantic Firearms will get my money once I complete my business with Lancaster. Hope I can get a credit back to my card.”

Lancaster Customer #4, on January 5, 2010: “I sent my AK back to Lancaster before Xmas because it was a lemon and I keep the ‘it's shipping in two days’ excuse.”

Lancaster Observer #1, on January 5, 2010: “I was never planning on getting a Lancaster, and this thread just made me realize that I never will. Their rifles look good, but it looks obvious that they don't give a shit about their customers. That is not a business I want to send money to in any way shape or form.”

Lancaster Customer #5, on December 20, 2009: “Lancaster is a bunch of crooks. Im still waiting for them to refund my money on an order i told them to cancle over two weeks ago. I was told my order would ship 11/30 Two weeks went by and didnt hear anything from anyone. I started calling them one a day. Finally got ahold of some girl. She was snotty right off the bat. She said it hadnt shipped yet. I said why, it was suppose to ship 2 weeks ago. She said it just didnt, OK?! That really pissed me off, so i politely told her to cancel the order. She said fine, and hung up. Well, another 4 business days went by and still no refund on my card. So i started calling every day again. Finally i got some one to return my call. She said i have a tracking number for you. What?! a tracking number? I told her i cancled my order about a week prior and im trying to find out why my card hasnt been refunded, im not looking for a stupid tracking number. She was kinda speachless, and transferred me over to the owner. Man, you want to talk about some one who is a real dick, its him! He didnt even want to listen to what i had to say. He just kept saying how patetic i am for cancling an order. Are you kidding me?! How are you going to say that about some one you are trying to do business with. Anyway, he said he was going to refund my card and told me to never call there again and hung up. That has been almost a week ago, and my card STILL hasnt been refunded. So i turned it over to my credit card company. Its under investigation now. Shouldnt be too hard to prove since they cant prove a ffl recieved it. So anyway, i also filled out a complaint with the better business Bureau. Which by the way, they have a F rating with them. I dont expect anything to happen with them. But, Did write a letter to the Arizona Attorney General and my local ATF office. :)

Lancaster Observer #1, to the above comment on Dec. 20, 2009: “What scum!”

Lancaster Potential Customer, on December 20, 2009:

I just confirmed [Lancaster’s] F rating with the Better Business Bureau, I was looking at the AK-74 they made, I wont be buying that one. Thanks for the heads up.

Lancaster Customer #7, on December 21, 2009: “Dealing with Chet is like dealing with a Dirty Used Car Salesman”

Lancaster Customer #8, on December 22, 2009: “I believe it has been approximately 14 months now since I first ordered a rifle from Lancaster…I never dreamed that over a year later, I'd still be dealing with these folks… I've never seen anything like this; this is EXPONENTIALLY worse than any customer service experience I've had in my life. It's beyond negligent; it is disrespectful. I just can't even think of a point of comparison that is even close.”

Lancaster Observer #2, on January 5, 2010: “After reading the posts here anybody who would buy a Lancaster gun is a fool.”

Lancaster Customer #5, on December 22, 2009: “I completely agree. I have never been treated this bad by a company before. I mean they have done everything but say F you we have your money and there isnt anything you can do about it. Like i said, these people [Lancaster] truly are scum. “

Lancaster Customer #9, on December 22, 2009: “I'd trust Obama before I'd trust Lancaster.” [Editors note: Damn! That stings!]

Lancaster Customer #10, on December 27, 2009: “Yes this Company is real bad. They never replied to the BBB. The BBB has sent them 3 letters and not once they took the time to answer to them. Ok they do not have to but this shows how much they care and how so very poor there Business Practice is. Customer Service I do not think they know what it is. I was the one that got the [Arizona] Attorney General involved some time ago. This is situation is not resolved and still waiting for a resolution. The next step I took a few weeks ago was to write a Complained to the FTC. I think the next step will be to take them to Court to get my money back (how ever the small Claims Court in AZ has a cap of $2500 and since I spend way more I can not go this direction. The funny thing is when you write an e-mail to them asking to make a Purchase they answer very quickly and are eager to do what ever it takes to make the sale. I have done this a few time to see if they even check e-mails and they do. As I stated before I would not purchase anything from them nor would I support a Company that sells there Products this also includes Atlantic and all the other Companies. Any Company who does Business with them should be ashamed. In the end if there are problems with you weapon (if you ever get one) you will have to get the Warranty work done by Lancaster.”

Lancaster Customer #11, on December 28, 2009: “Lancaster has promised me to send the tracking no but no email from them so far. So im at a lost whether its on the way or not. COntacting Lancaster again and again is futile. We know its the same promise time and time again. Thats the worst part.”

Lancaster Customer #12, on December 1, 2009: “I would recommend against buying from them directly. Their communication is abysmal - I'm currently waiting on a 3 month old order, my friend is waiting on a 7 month order and both of us have been getting the run around when we try to call. "It's almost ready, we have the flu, the machine broke, we can't find it, oh we found it, it'll go out Tuesday, no Friday...".

Lancaster Customer #13, on December 1, 2009: “I have mixed feelings about Lancaster. In January I ordered one of their Milled guns. At the time I ordered, Lancaster required advance payment in full. They told me the gun would ship in six weeks. Lots of phone calls, many excuses, many unanswered e-mails, a couple of threats to cancel my order and five months later I received my gun. The rifle was nice, but not $1050.00 nice. I would not recommend ordering directly from Lancaster, that was a mistake, I will never repeat.

Lancaster Customer #14, on December 1, 2009: “I would never buy direct from Lancaster Arms, I placed my order February 3, 2009. They required pre-payment. I did get a response to an e-mail in June acknowledging receipt of order and payment and got an excuse for non delivery with a promise to get it shipped right out. They have ignored all additional e-mails for status and with their track record I will not trust anything I'm "told" on the phone so I wanted something with a paper trail. 10 months later I still don't have my rifle. Certified letter demanding a response has been sent with the next step being a formal complaint being filed with the AZ Atty. General Consumer complaints division. Just praying I get my rifle or my money back before they go under. No company can stay in business very long with these types of business practices.”

Lancaster Observer #3, on December 6, 2009: “wow, i had no idea they [Lancaster] were that shitty to their direct customers. sounds kind of like rock river arms. many customers with orders paid for with no delivery, yet they run around to gun shows selling the same product. it just doesn't make sense. after reading several accounts of the same type i would not buy a lancaster. i do own one now but would never purchase again.”

Lancaster Customer #14, on December 7, 2009: “Well, today I finally took delivery of a LancasterArms AK47. It only took 10 months to NOT get what I ordered! I ordered a standard AKM47 with blonde Bulgarian stock and pistol grip. What I received was an AKM47 with a crappy refinished brown laminated stock, forend and standard black plastic pistol grip. The wood looks exactly like what comes on Century Wasr's only with a heavy polyurathane sprayed on it. Did I mention that the rifle was shipped with zero, yes 0, magazines. There was a note that magazines were backordered on the invoice. With their history for rifle (non) delivery I'm not holding my breath on the chances of ever seeing a single magazine. As for calling to complain, you are wasting your time. You need communications in writing, a paper trail, if you ever hope to follow up crappy products and service with higher authorities. E-mails are wothless, because they never respond to them. Dealing with Lancaster Arms, Don't walk away RUN!”

Lancaster Customer #5, on December 21, 2009: “Man, you have no idea what a bunch of crooks and liars these people are. They WILL NOT answer the phones. And they WILL NOT respond to emails. Im still fighting trrying to get my money back from these guys from a month ago. Generally i would agree with you, but i have never delt with scum this bad before. I dont have the words in me to describe how much i hope they go under.”


Alright folks. There you have it…that is only about two month’s worth of complaints on Lancaster, from a single Internet message board! A Google search on “Lancaster Arms” reveals many other unhappy individuals. And remember, these are only the people who actually chose to publicly speak up! You know, it’s one thing when one or two people complain. That’ll happen to any business. But when this many people complain, and often with the same gripes? Well, it very much looks like something ain’t right at Lancaster Arms, doesn’t it?

Lancaster Arms and Chet Durda…shame on you! Your days of abusing customers in the manners described above won’t go undocumented any longer. You've acheived a "critical mass" of pissing people off. Congrats! I'm not sure I could provide such crappy customer service myself if I even tried!

Please leave comments folks. The good, the bad, and the ugly.


About Me

But quite willing to "help" Lancaster Arms fully understand why the way they run their business, is completely unacceptable.

Welcome to

This site exist to help police a firearms manufacturer that has decided to run its business using questionable ethics. Too often, there is not enough complete, accurate information on the Internet about companies engaged in the manufature of firearms. It is my hope that this blog shall serve as a useful tool to help guide potential customers of Lancaster Arms to a fully-informed decision. As of the start date of this blog, many, many people feel as though Lancaster Arms does not run an honest business. We'll let the chips fall where they may...