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...