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View Full Version : GunVault Biometric Gun Safes - Worst ever


SOCOMII
January 3, 2008, 03:00 PM
I bought 2 GunVault Biometric gun safes. Wow! What pieces of junk. After 6 months of opening them about twice a week for practice, cleaning, matches, they are both broken.

GunVault will not respond to communication left via their contact forms, will not return messages left with Tech Support and customer service, will not answer their phones. I have tried for weeks to get someone other than reception to speak to me to no avail.

My advice is to steer clear of these safes for no other reason than if something DOES happen, too bad for you. At $300+ a pop, it's a mistake I shall never make again.

dan1leg
January 8, 2008, 07:11 PM
Sorry you have had trouble with the biometric safes. I have two standard models and they have been trouble free for years. I tell everyone I meet that keeps a handgun for defense at home that they should get one.

I will steer clear of the biometrics. Maybe the technology just isn't ready for real world use.

My 2 Cents Anyway.

DAN

SOCOMII
January 8, 2008, 11:05 PM
The worst part is that Gunvault appears to have a single soul in charge of technical support. He does not return calls, you cannot leave a message because the voicemail box is always full. They will not reply to queries made through their website.

The FAQ on the GunVault website says if your Biometric Gunvault make a whirl sound and will not open, call Technical Support. Clearly the problem is common.

As a business owner myself I find the way this company does business to be completely disrespectful, arrogant and mean.

I will try and fix it myself thus voiding the chance of having them fix it. What a waste of money. I am glad I did not need to access the contents to proect my family before finding out what an inferior product it is, and what an inferior company Gunvault is.

mcanders
January 9, 2008, 09:31 AM
You could always contact the better business bureau, if they (gunvault) participate. I have had to contact the BBB in the past on several issues and they got things moving for me!

hogdogs
January 10, 2008, 09:17 AM
I am a fan of fingerprint technology. The only ones on my HD shotgun are mine!
Hope you get it worked out!
Brent

ShipWreck
January 10, 2008, 05:47 PM
I think U posted this on another forum too.

The pres of the company is a member of the Beretta Forum. I saw him participate on that forum in a thread about his product.

If U do a search for gun vault on that forum, I'll bet U can quickly find his user ID there and try to PM/Email him.

SOCOMII
January 10, 2008, 07:08 PM
Yeah. Posted to glocktalk and a couple 1911 forums. I'll check out the beretta forum.

I normally take this kind of stuff in stride, as most companies will at least give you the time of day even if it's to tell you you that your SOL via email. And reception saying to leave a message and the VM box being full takes the cake. And this is a month since my first attempt. Plus it was $350 from midway, and my families life depends on it. And they could care less.

I've never experienced anything like their customer service, or lack there of.

ShipWreck
January 10, 2008, 08:49 PM
I have the standard Gunvault - I like it. But yea - I do understand why U are upset...

SOCOMII
January 10, 2008, 09:23 PM
problem found. i guess either the motor is too strong or the cable too weak. the motor spins and pulls the cable which pulls the bar which opens the lock. this will work unless your cable breaks.

Looks to be a serious defect. It appears that since the cable runs out the inside of the clamp on the spidle, the angle of the cable as it attaches to the release rod causes the edge to rub on the cable and eventually cut it.

http://206.246.118.40/broken_gunvault.jpg

TheBluesMan
January 10, 2008, 09:32 PM
Interesting. Do you think you can fix it? Looks like it might be a custom part.

Let us know the outcome - and don't let GunVault off the hook. Call them every hour for a day and don't let the receptionist put you into voicemail. The customer service guy obviously isn't doing his job, so you're going to have to make the receptionists life hell for a little while. Call her every twenty minutes from the time she gets there until she leaves. Start out by telling her what you intend to do and perhaps she'll put the guy on the phone so her life isn't miserable.

They should send you a replacement part for free. That is a manufacturer's defect.

Good luck!

SOCOMII
January 10, 2008, 11:26 PM
My best McGyver impersonation. I cut up an AC adapter with some thin copper and used 4 pieces of that which I kept twisting together, so its actually 4 thinner pieces. It works great.

My first attempt was with a paper clip but a solid piece was no good. Needs some inertia as the motor is not that powerful. My best guess is the sharp edge of the piece they clamp on to the motor to hold the end of the OEM cable rubs the steel cable and eventually cuts through it.

On the motor side I used some kind of hitch and soldered it to the larger spindle, then I looped it around the rod and wound it around a couple times on itself and soldered it.

In my solution the motor only moves about half a revolution and does not rub as it sits on the larger spindle instead of coming out the inside edge and rubbing. When it locks the rod is forced away from the motor and the spindle rotates back the way it spun.

It definately appears to be a defect whereby eventually the edge of the spindle clamp will cut through the cable.

I will patent my solution and sue GV if they try and use it ;)


http://206.246.118.40/gv_fix.jpg

TheBluesMan
January 12, 2008, 09:29 PM
Good solution, but the copper is going to wear out quickly.

See if you can find some galvanized braided picture hanging wire at your local hardware store. That ought to hold up a little better than the copper.

-Dave

glennfish
January 13, 2008, 10:00 AM
I have about a dozen patents for biometrics and worked in the field for a decade before I decided to get a real job.

Biometrics work perfectly well for 80% of the population. Biometrics suck big time for the other 20%. Find out which percentage you're in before you invest in biometric anything.

If you use it in a gun safe, enroll two fingers, one on each hand, avoid paper cuts, gardening, and hand lotion, and don't ever ever sweat.

WWP
January 13, 2008, 01:21 PM
I have a regular gunvault - pushbutton type - not biometric. It had almost two years of daily use when it broke just like SOCOMII describes. I had to use the key to open it. Customer service returned my call in a couple of days. I described the problem and they sent me a brand new Gunvault with instructions to put my broken one back in the box, slap the provided return shipping label on it and drop it off at UPS. Top notch service as far as I'm concerned.

Tim Carpenter
January 25, 2008, 10:19 PM
I bought a BioVault 2.0 about 3 months ago.
Thought it was some cool technology.
I'm less than enchanted with mine also.
Unreliable read on my fingers... sometimes have to drag my finger(s) across the reader up to 10 times.
Zero customer service response.
I now just leave it open when I'm home & remember to close it when I leave the house.
I really feel foolish for buying it.

SOCOMII
January 26, 2008, 12:10 AM
I STILL have had no response from Gunvault.

I redid the mechanism with picture wire as suggested by thebluesman and I feel confdident it will not let me down. also i can check it by looking in the area to the left of the latch.

i have not had many problems with the recognition but i make sure that for the first two prints my finger is as far forward as possible and then add the same finger in different positions a few more times.

with an 8 month old son whose not getting any younger i still feel like it is less tamper-proof than a key or a combo

FreedomRings
March 30, 2008, 12:42 PM
I'm glad I found this blog, and thank you to SOCOMII for doing to dirty work of finding the problem, and maybe, solution for the "If you hear a whirling sound when you try to open your gun vault".

My GunVault GVB2000 is only one month old, one month, and I heard the "whirling" sound last night.

I'm still going to contact, or try to contact, GunVault customer service, and see what kind of spin they give me, but I'm pretty sure I'm just going to void the warrenty and fix it myself.

One month old, and they obviously have had this problem for quite some time if it is in their FAQ's, and they seem content to not fix the problem and lead people to believe that it's no big deal.

Unreal!

Freedom

yourotherleft
March 31, 2008, 12:46 AM
I have the deluxe model. It's been ok so far for 2 years. Hope some of GunVault employees see this complain, so they can get their act right. Good luck.

Jamie Young
April 1, 2008, 11:35 PM
JohnKsa- just told me about this thread because I just had a deluxe model fail on me. I was turning around and the thing would open up as I walked out of the room. I have kids around so I'm pretty upset about this. I'll report back after I talk to Gun Vault. Mine is about 3 1/2 yrs old.

SOCOMII
April 2, 2008, 06:57 AM
I would like to see what kind of support others are able to get out of GV.

Freedom rings, are you able to see the busted cable in the area left where the door locks?

UniversalFrost
April 2, 2008, 02:13 PM
Guys, I am glad i saw this thread. I was going to pick one up, but I have since decided against it based upon the issues you are having with the faulty design and the lack of customer support.

I have since decided to get a DAC safe and since they are way cheaper I was able to get 2 (one for the bedroom and the other for my living room).

Sorry to hear of the problems, but thanks for posting for others to see.

Michael A. Le Lack
April 4, 2008, 06:27 PM
Hey SOCOMII, did you apply for a patent?

contender6030
April 4, 2008, 06:49 PM
I'll keep my protection on the nightstand or in my belt.:D

FreedomRings
April 9, 2008, 02:00 AM
Yes, I can clearly see the exact same broken cable that you showed upthread with a flashlight.

The safe is one month old, and same as you, no response of any kind from GunVault.

Oh well, live and learn a little more.

Jamie Young
April 9, 2008, 08:23 AM
I called Gunvault and left a message on Monday. They responded to my message in 30 minutes and I'm in the process of replacing the safe.

I have had no problems with customer service.

SOCOMII
April 10, 2008, 01:31 PM
FreedomRings, my suggestion is to try again.

I decided to make known to GV that this thread exists a few days ago and received contact from their CS dept. I did not mention TFL or THR but obviously the thread was not hard to find which is satisfying.

I returned their call and they did offer to send me a replacement unit. I was told the design is different now. I declined another potentially defective safe from GunVault having fixed it better myself.

Call 800-242-1055 ext 459

If they will not replace yours, FreedomRings, I will tell them to send me my replacement and I will ship it to you.

The anger I felt at GunVault for not caring about my money or my safety enough to return a phone call or email after months has been replaced by the satisfaction that the Internet can make them care.

I am a small business owner, and I can not accept poor customer service from any size company.

So yeah, they got back to me and offered a replacement.


Jamie, I would be curious to know if the cable design was changed on your new safe.

SOCOMII
April 19, 2008, 08:56 AM
This morning I went to open one of my bio GV safes. It is dead. Plugged in, with a battery and nothing happens when you hit the button. Nothing happens when you unplug and plug it in. No beeps like the other one.

Just dead. I urge anyone thinking about buying a GunVault Biometric Safe

DO NOT BUY IT!!!!!!

Had this been an emergency I would be dead.

Both of mine had cable failures that would not allow them to open (see the GV faq for "whirring noise") and now one of them receives no power to the mechanism. They were purchased in August 2007.

TheBluesMan
April 19, 2008, 11:36 AM
I think this thread is a good lesson in the malfunctions of complex mechanical objects. Thanks to SOCOMII for sharing his experience so we can learn as well.

Unfortunately, it seems that either the technology just isn't quite there yet in regard to biometrics and safes, or GunVault is just making junk. Possibly both are true, maybe only one.

I have three key & lock safes in my house, one in my car and I have two daughters, so I have the same concerns as SOCOMII. My keys have never failed me.

Remember, it is more important to gun-proof your kids than it is to kid-proof your guns. When the kids are old enough, teach them the four rules with Eddie Eagle (http://www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie/).

davidduarte
July 31, 2008, 09:55 PM
I've had the deluxe multi gunvault (non-biometric) for a year or so, and today I went to put my G26 away, but when I put in my code, all I got was a whirring sound, so I had to get the keys and open it. I called up their contact line, but kept getting voicemail, so I left a couple of messages. An hour or so later I got a call back. The guy asked for the date of manufacture, took my address, and told me I would receive a new one, and would also receive a return box to send the old one back. So while I'm not happy that the unit failed, I am glad that I'll be getting a new one.

Dave

mniesen89
August 1, 2008, 12:23 AM
I paid for a Eagle rifle buttstock pack weeks ago and still have not recieved my item.I tried writing multiple e-mails with no response. tried calling a "customer service":barf: number and of course it goes straight to voicemail claiming they'll be out of the office for a couple days!


AVoid at all cost!!

Anyone dealt with this company before?

alexplus
November 28, 2009, 07:27 PM
I found this forum when searching for a new Biometric Safe for my new gun. I'm using a BioMETRX BioVault 2.0 right now and it's been working great. I only use this particular safe for home safety so it is only opened once a week for shooting at the range. I use a regular key safe for my other guns that I use more often. But it's a great safe so far, I found it at http://www.smarttouchstore.com/ and though it is somewhat expensive being just for $400 including s/h and tax in my opinion you really don't get quality without some out of pocket change added into the equation. I hope all of you end up getting what you're looking for in a safe though.

DT Guy
November 28, 2009, 09:51 PM
Simplex locks rule this application. Durable, resettable and extremely fast, even in the dark.

If they're still around, the 'Handgun Box' (catchy name, no?) is formidable, IMHO.

Larry

m.p.driver
November 29, 2009, 12:03 AM
The funny thing is i was looking at one of these yesterday and debating on whether to buy it,i'll pass now.

alexplus
November 29, 2009, 07:40 AM
Yeah, to be in my honest opinion, biometric technology isn't that great for public use yet. I mean it's getting there, but when it comes to gun safes, using them constantly, and the durability of the scanning equipment and locking mechanisms, they aren't the greatest. I'd stick to a regular key lock for regular use and maybe a biometric one for quick access in case of an emergency.

DT Guy
November 29, 2009, 09:19 AM
Something to consider is the inability to remotely grant access to the safe. For instance-my brother is staying over, watching my kids. He has some reason for concern about their safety, and calls me.

With a simplex lock, I can tell him the combination and allow him access to a firearm over the phone. Never possible with biometrics.

Will this come up often? No. Ever? Probably not...but combined with all the other disadvantages biometrics have, taking access out of the intellectual realm and putting it in the physical realm is not an improvement, IMHO.


Larry

MikeGoob
November 29, 2009, 11:14 AM
I have the 4 button lock box, perfectly secure for my use. nobody can guess the combo and if you guess wrong too many times the box wont open till you get the key.

Hogberry
November 29, 2009, 01:35 PM
Thanks for the heads-up. Since my guns will only need to be locked up when I'm not home, a more traditional safe will more than suffice.

bimmer*tr
November 30, 2009, 12:47 AM
Try the LockSAF...much better and zero problems...

Bimmer

sspanky
November 30, 2009, 11:42 PM
DT GUY, the bio gun vaults use your fingerprint AND also have a key that will open it as well. So,if there is a power failure and you forgot to ensure that the battery was fresh, you can still access the safe.
In my opinion the older safes had some problems, not only in the equipment but also with customer service.
I'm assuming here (I know...) that they have corrected the problem with the cable breaking and it also sounds like they have started to realize they had some customer relation problems.
I purchased my bio vault this fall due to the speed access with the scanner and so far-knocking on wood- it's hasn't failed me yet.
I WILL let everyone know if there is a failure!

langenc
November 30, 2009, 11:58 PM
Midway was mentioned on one post. What happens if you contact them and tell them not to sell the junk. Maybe they can put some heat on Gunvault.

ShipWreck
December 17, 2009, 12:29 AM
This is an old thread - but mine broke a few months ago after having it about 2.5 years. The cable broke. I called and expected to have to pay to fix it. They sent me a brand new one, and then I shipped back the old one.

This one is different. The buttons are not quite the same. They do not have a "tactile feel" and instead are somewhat mushy.

I was told that the locking mechanism is different, and the wire will not break. After playing with a bit, I think the internal lock is made a bit differently. So, the new one should have the same fate.

I AM trying to get used to the new button design, however.

petesull
December 17, 2009, 01:18 PM
I have about a dozen patents for biometrics and worked in the field for a decade before I decided to get a real job.

Biometrics work perfectly well for 80% of the population. Biometrics suck big time for the other 20%. Find out which percentage you're in before you invest in biometric anything.

If you use it in a gun safe, enroll two fingers, one on each hand, avoid paper cuts, gardening, and hand lotion, and don't ever ever sweat.


Haha thanks for the advice--I was looking at fingerprint gun safes.

output
December 17, 2009, 01:18 PM
As stated in the title I would not bet my life on a $200 Biometric safe made by anyone for any amount of money. It just isn't worth the chance of failure. Just recently I made a post in another section basically parsing my GV but I always open my safe with the Key, also my key is always in it while I am near and it is closed, or I have it in my pocket. I rarely ever open it without the key because I know that there could be a possibility of failure and I do not want to gamble with that. At-any-rate thanks for the heads-up with your experience it definitely reinforced my beliefs.