Sportsman's Guide Buyer's Club complaint/rant
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:11 AM   #1
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Default Sportsman's Guide Buyer's Club complaint/rant

In my opinion, we live in the greatest country on earth. One of the greatest things about it is that its economy is a capitalist one. That means, among other things, companies are largely free to be managed however their management sees fit. An even greater thing, however, about this country is that we all have the right to free speech. So in a democracy, if I feel that a company is being managed poorly and it results in a negative customer experience, I have the right to tell anyone and everyone about it so that they can avoid the same headache.

As I tell my story here, then, please take heed and consider it the next time you are shopping for ammunition and other hunting/shooting supplies.

Up front, I would like to apologize to anyone who, like me, browses numerous forums. I’ve posted this lots of places, so I apologize that for many of you, it will be redundant.

Due to uncertainty over the results of the recent election, I decided to stock up on ammo. By “stock up,” I mean to buy enough for a couple of years. That would be no small feat, as there are weeks in which I go through 1,000 rounds. So my plan was to set aside as much as possible from each paycheck for 6-8 months, and order as many good deals as possible each month. About month two (October), I placed a small ($300 or $400) order at Sportsman’s Guide (www.sportsmansguide.com). I noticed their “Buyer’s Club” at that time. For $30, you save 5% on ammo and 10% on everything else; for a whole year. Since it wouldn’t have saved me any money on that order, I didn’t join. After my order, I got an e-mail offering to credit me what I would have saved on that order towards purchasing a membership. This e-mail mentioned nothing about any limitations of the discount during that year.

A month later (November), it was time to place another order; this time, a large one. I decided to accept Sportsman’s Guide’s offer and join their Buyer’s Club. Knowing that I was going to order large quantities of ammunition, I knew that my $30 would pay off several times over the next year. It’s important to note that I thoroughly reviewed the Buyer’s Club page on their website (http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/club/ClubTour.aspx?) and saw nothing to indicate that I wouldn’t be able to use this discount for a whole year or that there were any limitations to it. I ordered a Buyer’s Club membership and then placed the larger order on which I received the discount to which I was entitled.

A few days later, I received a Buyer’s Club membership package in the mail. Once again, there was nothing in it indicating any limitations to the discount. Again, 5% on ammo, 10% on everything else, for a year.

December rolled around, and my ammo buying was in full swing. I gathered up another batch of stuff I wanted to order from Sportsman’s Guide, placed the order using my Buyer’s Club number, and thought all was well. When I came in from hunting at about 6:30 PM the next day (Friday), there was a message on my answering machine from Sportsman’s Guide asking me to call them back. This was not unexpected. On the previous two orders, I had to pay extra shipping for heavy/bulky items. The customer service representative gave me the shipping amount, which was reasonable. Then, however, she told me that my Buyer’s Club membership had been cancelled because “upper management” reviewed my order and determined that I was a commercial customer. Hence, I would receive no discount for which I had paid on the current order or on future ones. I was dumbfounded. I asked to speak to someone in “upper management,” but they had gone home for the day. So I left a voicemail for a Ted, asking for a return call on Monday.

Ted called me back Monday, but I was temporarily unavailable. I called back later, and Ted was not available. I spoke to someone else who assured me that she was in the same position as Ted (I did not ask her name). I asked her to explain the policy to me. She only stated – several times – that because of the quantity of items I ordered, I was a commercial customer. I clarified that I am not an ammo dealer of some sort – I’m a CPA – but that didn’t matter. It was solely based on the quantity. I asked what criteria qualify someone as a commercial customer, but she said it varies. She wouldn’t tell me a certain number of rounds or dollar amount or anything that triggers it. I pointed out that it was not on the webpage that explained the Buyer’s Club, and she pointed me to a small, out-of-the-way section of the shipping and handling page (http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/main/shipping.aspx?) of the website. Sure enough, in small print, there it was: “Large quantity orders may be considered commercial account orders, which would not be eligible for the Buyer's Club discount, and may require additional shipping charges.” So I pointed out what seemed obvious: that the Buyer’s Club is an advertising gimmick to draw in customers, but if someone attempts to actually use it and save some real money with it, Sportsman’s Guide pulls the plug on it. She disagreed, stating again that the policy is that ordering a large quantity of items permanently tags someone as a commercial customer ineligible for the Buyer’s Club discount for which they have paid.

So what was a guy to do? I told her to go ahead with this order but that they had lost a customer in the future. I asked to speak to someone in their complaint department, but there is no such thing. She assured me that she entered my concerns in her computer and that someone in “upper management” would review them. So I assured her that I would do all I could to make other folks aware of my concerns so that they wouldn’t have to endure the same deceit that I have from Sportsman’s Guide.

I say deceit, because I’m not the only one who has been through this ordeal. Since my experience last Friday, I have searched for and found similar complaints. See:
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=16&t=406240
http://www.hk94.com/hk/BULLSHT-t11939.html
https://www.snipercentral.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=19582&sid=70ec89d1315cd2f22f39b877 d5b700a0
http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=30055
http://www.1919a4.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1376
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3118381
http://www.xdtalk.com/forums/ammo-can/25204-unhappy-sportsmans-guide.html

In addition, I checked them out on the Better Business Bureau’s website (http://minnesota.app.bbb.org/report/8634) and as you can see if you follow that link, they have had numerous complaints filed against them in the last 36 months and that the BBB rates them as an unsatisfactory business. I’ve filed another one against them.

In conclusion, one more great aspect of participating in a capitalist economy is that, as consumers, we’re ultimately in charge. As I told Sportsman’s Guide, they have lost my business. They’ve caused me to do two things I never have before: file a BBB complaint, and get on every gun forum I know of and post this description of the experience I had with their Buyer’s Club. I hope that people will hear the complaints of myself and others who have been deceived by their marketing practices surrounding the scam that is their Buyer’s Club and will avoid the same headaches. Eventually, they might lose a noticeable amount of business; and hopefully, change their practices to more honest and ethical ones.

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Old 12-24-2008, 02:45 AM   #2
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I am an occasional buyer at sportsmansguide.com. I have always been treated well but with the impending doom of the Obama administration in sight this becomes an issue. I will voice my concerns with sportsmansguide and I would expect the administration of this forum and its members to do the same!! Aint that some s**t!!

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Old 12-24-2008, 11:40 AM   #3
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Kinda strange to post a complaint/ rant as your first on our forum, not a great way to join us and start to establish yourself. Guess your intent was to inform us / warn us so no damage.
Never had an issue out of SG, but I have never bought huge amounts either. Didnt know that was their policy. Thanks for the heads up in case, and it is prolly a good indicator of other customer service rot that is invisible to most of us.

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Old 12-26-2008, 03:48 AM   #4
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I used to be a customer of SG years ago. I always got good service from them with never a complaint. They had some great deals on stuff, especially clothing and footwear items, but the reason I no longer deal with them is because they no longer ship 90% of the items I'd like to buy to Massachusetts. This is very frustrating because they still send me the damn catalogs, but I can't buy what I want.

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Old 12-26-2008, 06:18 AM   #5
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you gotta be careful of that fine print man its everywhere. its on leases, credit card apps., come to think about it, its on everything you sign your name on. well atleast you got to learn a lesson. and welcome to the forum

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Old 12-26-2008, 01:26 PM   #6
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I think I placed one order with them and didn't have any problems. They were out of stock on one item I wanted but said they would call me when they had some available. Over 6 months later I got a phone call saying they had finally gotten some in and asked if I still wanted to place the order. I found what I wanted somewhere else but was impressed with the follow up.

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Old 01-01-2009, 03:40 PM   #7
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I like them, but I buy a lot of milsurp ammo from other cheaper sources.

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Old 01-01-2009, 04:14 PM   #8
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Got a reply to my e-mail inquiry as to why they impose their policy on buyers that are obviously NOT dealers, and got the canned answer "That's our Policy". I had to laugh; for a minute I thought I had e-mailed Ron White!!

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Old 01-03-2009, 08:32 PM   #9
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Well I'm sorry to say, but just about everybody has volume limitations. A couple of years ago I got tired of always looking for ammo for our Full Auto Belt feds. Every time I turned around the price would go up another $.04/round. Since CMP hand limits on how much I could by ie: 3/4 cases, I called J&G sales in Prescott AZ. I told them I wanted to buy 25,000 round of the Greek HXP 30-06 that they had for $.27/round. Since I bought a lot of stuff from then in the past they had me in their computer. I told them I would be up in the morning to pick the ammo.

Well I get there in the morning and the guy I talked to tells me that he can only sell me 21,000 rounds because they have a policy of not selling to one person more than 15% of their inventory for any item. So I only ended up with 21k, but I still have over 15k of it left and its still only $.27/round two years later.

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Old 01-06-2009, 04:12 AM   #10
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I don't remember where I saw it the other day but there was a link to sportsmans guide's website and if you punch in a random last name and a zip code you can see who ordered what (including ammo). Pretty bad idea letting the world know who bought x boxes of z ammo. I'll try to find the link.

Here's your link to find out what your neighbors are buying.
http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/OrderStatus/OrderDisplayNew.aspx

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