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Columbia gun shop owner accused of ripping off customers

A mid-Missouri gun shop owner is under fire from some customers after they claim they were ripped off.

Some customers of ZK Guns in Columbia said they paid for firearms they never received and they never got their money back.

Others said they were only partially refunded.

In a Special Report, ABC 17’s Jillian Fertig tracked down the owner, Zach Kean, to get some answers.

ABC 17 News learned Kean is former Boone County Sheriff’s deputy.

For the last week, Fertig talked with some of the customers who happen to be law enforcement officers, firefighters and military veterans. They claim Kean is not delivering what they paid for.

“I paid $900 directly out of my debit,” said Aaron Wood, a frustrated customer. “From there, we went to stall tactics. He stalled at every turn, you know, it was on back order for several months, then went to ‘I’m having surgery,’ ‘It’s in stock, I’m having surgery,’ then it went to ‘I’ve shipped it, now it’s lost, UPS lost it.’ It was never Zach’s fault.”

Wood purchased a rifle from ZK guns in November of last year.

After months of calling and emailing, Wood said he got tired of the excuses from Kean and drove all the way to the store in Columbia from his home in Lake Ozark.

“I had to go twice,” Wood said. “The first time, he gave me a false receipt. He printed up a piece of paper that says I refunded your card, here’s how much I refunded, and it never went into my bank.”

Wood said he then threatened legal action and Kean told him to come back to the store to get a cashier’s check.

“So I went down to the bank, and gave them the cashier’s check and at first he wasn’t going to cash it,” Wood said. “But then he saw it was from Zach and I made a point and said, ‘Look, I’ve received bad stuff from him already,’ and he said, ‘Oh, it’s Zach again.'”

Other customers have a similar story, including several law enforcement officers.

“I was just looking up gun stores to buy my Glock 22 for my duty weapon and I came across ZK Guns, so I went there,” said Brian Sollars, a Howard County deputy.

Sollars said he placed an order with ZK Guns last November. Like Wood, Sollars said he got tired of the excuses and went to talk to Zach in person.

“I went in, asked him for my money back, and when I looked at my receipt after I got out of there, I noticed there was a 10 percent fee he kept out,” Sollars said.

While Wood and Sollars were eventually able to get their money back, or at least part of it, others said they have not been so lucky.

A police officer in Willow Springs told ABC 17 News he’s out money for a knife he ordered from Kean online.

And there are numerous complaints online that span across the country from people who claim they’ve been ripped off by Kean. Some of the complaints are from Waynesville, North Carolina, Houston, Texas and San Ramon, California.

Determined to get some answers, Fertig called ZK Guns several times, but no one at the store ever answered.

So Fertig went to the store to see if Kean was there.

After going to the back of the store to call his attorney friend, Kean agreed to talk to Fertig and let the cameras inside the store.

“The reason I’m here, like I said, people are having trouble getting a hold of you,” Fertig said. “They claim they’ve paid you for a firearm or an accessory. They didn’t get what they ordered and they haven’t gotten their money back, some of them.”

Fertig asked him first about the Willow Springs police officer.

“Okay, well order was placed online,” Kean said. “I really don’t control online ordering. Only thing that is on that site is my name. My distributors that I program into it, they actually, the computer picks the distributor the order goes to.”

Next, Fertig asked him about Aaron Wood.

“It was a special deal on the ordering,” Kean said. “They just, one thing or another, it just didn’t get here in time for him.”

Fertig asked Kean why no one can seem to get a hold of him.

“My communication has been lacking,” Kean said. “That’s one thing we’re going to focus more on. The people who help me out here at the store don’t answer the phone like they’re supposed to.”

“So why did it take me coming in here for you to look into this?,” Fertig asked. “These people have been calling and emailing for months.”

“I mean, some of them haven’t been doing it for months,” Kean said. “We’ve had two people slip through the cracks and I apologize and will get them taken care of.”

But it appears to be more than two people according to reviews online and phone calls ABC 17 News has received.

“Some people say they haven’t gotten their money and they have,” Kean said.

Fertig did some digging into Kean’s background. He used to have a ZK Guns shop in Liberal, Kansas.

According to court documents, Kean’s wages were garnished to pay off a judgment filed last year against him and ZK Guns. That case was settled back in May.

Wood said although he is one of the lucky ones who got his money back, he wants Kean out of the firearms business.

“I want to get this out, because gun members, I think we are a close community that if we find a bad apple, we want him out,” Wood said. “He’s licensed by the federal government to do his job and if he’s scamming us, then it should be fairly easy to get him out.”

Sollars said he’s also concerned.

“I’m definitely disappointed,” he said. “I kind of expected more of him. I mean, a gun shop in general. Someone that sells firearms should be somewhat honest.”

ABC 17 News contacted the ATF to check the status of Kean’s FFL license and confirmed it’s current.

ABC 17 News also contacted the Better Business Bureau and found there have been six complaints filed against Kean.

If you believe you have been scammed, you are urged to file a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.

The ATF headquarters in Kansas City also encourages consumers to call at (816)-559-0899.

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