TGSCom, online firearms and accessory retailer based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, closed its doors last week. The owner, Eric Thompson, said it was due to financial issues but there have also been fraud complaints against the company. According to a WTAQ article, the Green Bay police are looking into pressing criminal charges against Thompson for theft by fraud for intentionally accepting internet orders and payment without providing products. According to Thompson, they are actively trying to get new investors for the business and hopes to get things turned back around and “get it going once again real soon”. He also denied that orders have not been fulfilled.
If you are unfamiliar with TGSCom, they own many sites such as OutdoorSportsUSA.com and TopGlock.com along with many other online storefronts.
They also ran an affiliate program called TheOutdoorAffiliate.com which I promoted which is where my part of the story comes in. I have been promoting their affiliate program for the past few months. Everything seems to be going fine. I saw orders going through, being marked as shipped and then received commission checks on those orders. Some orders were marked as pending which I assumed were just backordered items that haven’t been shipped yet. (Note: they do not pay out on pending orders, only shipped orders after 45 days of the ship date.)
Starting around the beginning on May 2012, I was unable to check my stats. All I would receive is an error message which I am still receiving as of this writing:
Error Certain features of the website are currently undergoing routine maintanence. Please try again later.Thank you for your patience.TGSCOM, Inc IT Team
I tried to email their Affiliate Manager but received no response. After sending a few emails with no response I figured I would call them to find out what was going on. It was to my surprise that I was unable to find any phone numbers listed on their websites. So I did a look up on their domain name to find their toll free number 800-518-3808. After calling, I received the following recording:
Thanks for calling TGSCom. Your leading online supplier of firarm accessories and outdoor gear.
We are having technical difficulties with our systems. We hope to respond to every concern as quickly as possible.
After the message the phone is disconnected. That’s when I started to get worried and searching around the net to see what I could find. And it didn’t take long to find many customers complaining about orders they have placed and never received. A quick Google search on TGSCom brings up forum discussions about these issues. The wall on their Facebook page has many complaints about this as well with most of them not being responded to.
Next was a search for their BBB status which at the time was a D-. The BBB received 2,258 within the past year and continues to receive hundreds of calls per week. Now the BB shows the following message:
On May 30 2012, BBB was informed by the Green Bay, Wisconsin Police Department that Eric Thompson, owner of TGS.Com, stated that the company was no longer in operation.
According to information in BBB files, it appears that this business is no longer in business.
After doing some more digging, I was able to find out that the only people left at the company at that time was Eric Thompson and maybe his accountant. I emailed them both on May 30, 2012 asking for a status of the company and why customers were complaining about not receiving orders they had purchased but received no response.
This morning is when I found the WTAQ article stating that they have closed down.
This has taught me a very good lesson, research the companies you are buying from and promoting. When I was contacted by them to promote OutdoorSportsUSA.com through their affiliate program TheOutdoorAffiliate.com, I found no complaints and assumed they were a reputable company. What I should have searched on was the parent company TGSCom which bring up many complaints, some going back as far as 2006.
As of this morning I have filed my own complaint to the BBB and will be contacting the Wisconsin Department of Justice Monday morning. If you have placed any orders with them, been charged and not received your order I would suggest contacting your credit card company, filing a BBB report and contating the Wisconsin Department of Justice as well.
You can find a list of their partner sites on their website here, all of which seem to list every product as Out of Stock.
Update 6/2/2012 8:26AM CST – Here’s a story and video from FoxNews11:
Update 6/2/2012 8:32AM CST – Green Bay gun shop faces fraud complaints