June 1, 2012, Milwaukee, Wis. — The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) is issuing an alert about Green Bay-based TGSCOM, Inc., an internet gun, supplies and sporting goods dealer, which has gone out of business, leaving dozens of consumers without products.
TGSCOM, Inc. received notoriety after law enforcement authorities said that guns or firearm accessories sold by the company were used by the gunmen in the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University, the 2008 massacre at Northern Illinois University, and the 2009 massacre at a health club in Pittsburgh.
Now, Green Bay police say they want to press criminal charges against owner Eric Thompson for theft by fraud for intentionally accepting internet orders and payment without providing products. Green Bay Police detectives say that Thompson told them on Wednesday that the company was out of business.
In addition, the BBB has received more than 170 complaints against the business, 50 of which were received in the past few weeks and are considered “pending." Complaints concern products ordered not received, delay in shipment and delivery of goods, and advertising and selling issues. Consumers also report they are unable to reach the company by email or phone.
In addition, the BBB has been receiving hundreds of inquiries per week.
Complaints against TGSCOM have come from consumers in 43 states, with the highest number of complaints coming from Florida (16), Pennsylvania (11), California (10), Texas (10) and North Carolina (10). Three complainants are from Wisconsin.
Since mid-March, all phone numbers to TGSCOM lead to a voicemail message stating, “We are experiencing technical difficulties within our system. We hope to be able to respond to every concern as quickly as possible.”
TGSCOM also does business under the names “The Gun Source,” “Midwest Hunters Outlet,” and “Saltwater Fishing Source,” and operates approximately six websites.
Stewart P. of Central, South Carolina states he ordered a gun from this company which was advertised and listed online as “in stock.” He was billed for the gun, though it has not been received.
“The gun has not been shipped and the company phone number and emails are not functional. I am certain that this company does not intend to ship the gun and they have billed my credit card. I want this company to face fraud charges for deceptive and misleading practices.”
Daniel R. of Neshanic Station, New Jersey ordered a product a month ago and has similar complaints.
“I can’t believe they are still open for operation. They are a scam and they are literally stealing from people wishing to purchase goods from them. Last I checked this is a criminal offense in the U.S.A.”
The BBB has been unable to reach Thompson. In addition, he has not responded to several standard business questionnaires sent to it by the BBB since early 2009.
“TGSCOM has sold a large amount of product via internet sales,” said Randall Hoth, Wisconsin BBB president/CEO. “Our concern now is for customers who have paid for merchandise they have not received. Consumers are urged to contact their credit card companies and put the amount paid to TGSCOM in dispute immediately.”
Hoth says the BBB has received 2,258 inquiries on TGSCOM in the last year and continues to receive hundreds of calls per week from consumers throughout the U.S.
If consumers have a complaint against this company, they are advised to file a complaint with the Wisconsin BBB https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started and the Green Bay Police Department, Specialist Dave Steffens, at (920) 448-3287 or DaveSt@greenbaywi.gov as well as file a dispute with their credit company.
For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.wisconsin.bbb.org or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.