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Scam: #20509

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Preys on first time gold/silver investors, selling them premium

Woodland Hills, California

Technically, this is more "rip-off" than "scam." I rated the severity "8" because of the large chunks of money involved. I nearly lost an estimated $25,000. Here's my story....
I am new to gold/silver investing. I can see there is a dollar crisis looming, and wanted to roll a large portion of my IRA into a self-directed IRA and buy physical gold. So I researched precious metals dealers online, and found Goldco was very highly rated. (These ratings are paid-for and/or vetted, I would come to find later. If there's a "scam", it's those ranking sites that rate Goldco #1.) My Goldco rep David Taylor was extremely helpful and responsive, answered all my questions, assured me that Goldco markups were some of the lowest in the industry (7-21%), and sent me the paperwork to set up an account with a trustee/custodian to handle the SDIRA rollover. We agreed that silver coins made the most sense for me, and I placed an order for American Eagle proof coins from the Perth mint. THEN I GOT THE ORDER CONFIRMATION:
Silver American Bald Eagle - 1oz Qty 667 $74.90
What the heck did I just buy??? The spot for silver that day was ~$26.50; this price was nearly triple! I was shocked. Further research confirmed that these are just 1 ounce silver proof coins, worth about $48 retail. They are collectible, premium coins, such as you might buy as a graduation gift. But if you took this same coin to a gold/silver coin dealer, you'd be lucky to get $40. (As of this writing.) But Goldco insists they're worth $75! Nonsense. This is robbery!
Do your homework. Call some dealers. A good place to start might be apmddealers dot org . You will find that many of these coin dealers are routinely confronted by disillusioned Goldco (and other, similar predatory dealers') customers whom have spent their retirement savings buying expensive collectible coins, only to be informed by an honest dealer that their "premium" coins are worth only half what they paid for them. To keep novice investors in the dark, Goldco appears to have "exclusive" deals with the Perth Mint on whatever flavor-of-the-month coin design they are peddling. This prevents Joe Consumer from comparison shopping. Because there are no direct price comps, Goldco is able to claim their coins are premium, limited edition, super high value... even up to $75/oz. They are not. But it's tough to disprove their claim when no other dealer has the exact same coin because of Goldco's "exclusive." Case in point, the coins I (almost) purchased were "1 oz silver American Bald Eagle 2020 reverse proof" coins from the Perth Mint, with a bald eagle on one side and Queen Elizabeth II (???) on the other. (What a peculiar multi-national juxtaposition!) Just try to find that exact coin anywhere else but Goldco. Go ahead, I'll wait...
If you want to invest in gold/silver, it's probably because you understand that there is intrinsic value in the metal itself. You are right. But what you probably want is bullion, or bulk, investment grade coins, and you want to pay as little over spot price as possible. Collectible "proof coins" are for birthday and graduation gifts, in fancy packaging with certificates of authenticity. Buying hundreds or thousands of these at retail (or worse) price is NOT a wise investment strategy. Silver/gold prices would have to double or triple before you would break even.
So here's my Goldco experience, in summary:
Stellar customer service
Ranked the #1 or #2 coin dealer by multiple sites
Responsive and helpful.
Website is helpful and well done!
Ordering process was easy!
Provided all the paperwork to set up custodian and depository.
Answered all my newbie questions.
Five Star reviews on all the 'rating' sites
Sold me the wrong product, at markups so high that my retirement savings would have taken a $25,000 loss the instant the sale closed.
"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"
Fast forward a few days. By this time I am relieved but still upset, and I left a negative review with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB posted it, along with a short rebuttal from Goldco. Next thing you know I began to receive text messages and calls from Goldco wanting to "clear the air," but with the obvious aim of talking me out of my review. Remaining convinced about the character of their business, I refused. The very next evening I received an email from the San Jose BBB, informing me that my review is being removed from their site (!) because "the review is not from a customer of the business." !?! WHAT?!
Of course I was a customer! I placed and order and I have my order confirmation. Yes, I canceled the order and was able to protect my money, but the public deserves to know about my experience. Goldco misled the BBB in an attempt to scrub the BBB site of a negative review. This is wrong. I appealed this determination of the San Jose BBB, sending them a copy of my sales order confirmation from Goldco. I have not heard a determination, but it has only been a few days as of this writing. If the BBB is conscientious about their mission, they'll leave my review up. (Right now it's still pulled.) However, Goldco is a paying client of the BBB and advertises with them -- while I'm just an unknown consumer. So I'm not optimistic.
---------------- My advice... ---------------
If you're new to gold/silver investing and want to add physical gold/silver to your IRA, try this site instead:
apmddealers dot org
The Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) maintains a list of accredited dealers, who hold to a strict code of ethics.
It may be a good place to look for a precious metals dealer who won't take you to the cleaners.
Here's a quote from the PNG:
"The personal finance market is filled with slick advertisements touting gold bullion coins labeled with a superb grade or in holders with decorative, autographed inserts. These may be fine collectibles for some, but you could pay more than twice the value of the precious metal content of the coin. There certainly are better ways for investors to buy bullion coins much closer to their actual intrinsic value," Barry Stuppler, president of the Professional Numismatists Guild
Here's a quote from the website of the dealer that I decided to work with:
"We have spent years consoling clients that found us AFTER they funded their gold IRA. Many of them had fallen victim to the most common Gold IRA Review Scam in the market, believing that they had found credible Gold IRA review sites, only to find that these reviews were empty copied content from a gold dealer, by people who have never owned a precious metals IRA. Worse yet, they often found that they landed with a dealer that sold them overpriced gold and silver for their precious metals IRA, the very dealer that was rated #1 in the 'reviews'."
Good luck!


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