APMEX Review

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APMEX, otherwise known as American Precious Metals Exchange, is a US-based precious metals dealer. Though they have sold bullion all over the country and have several positive customer reviews, there are some major red flags. For one, they have had 65 complaints filed with the BBB in the past three years. For another, there has been government action taken against the business.

  • Product Type: Precious Metals
  • Owner: Scott Thomas
  • Rating: 1.5/5

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About APMEX

APMEX Review

APMEX has been part of the precious metals industry since 2000. When the company first started out, the founder was just selling the coin collection he had inherited from his grandfather. But now the company has handled over a billion dollars in transaction revenue, and there are over 200 employees.

APMEX began as a storefront in the early 2000's that was run by four people. Now, the company headquarters is an 80,000 square foot building. The company has sold over 130 ounces of precious metals to consumers in over 60 global countries.

Selling Gold and Silver

APMEX Review

In addition to buying a wide variety of precious metals, you can also sell your items to the company. The company purchases more items than many of the other dealers on the market. You can sell bullion, semi-numismatic collectibles, numismatic coins, rare coins, and various types of currency.

You can either call or email the company to get a quote for your items. They guarantee that once your items are delivered and inspected, you will receive your payment the next day. That makes this company a popular option for those who want to liquidate their assets quickly.

If you already know that you want to sell your metals without needing a quote, the process to get set up is even faster. The company's website explains the process and has FAQs with more details.

Is APMEX a Scam?

APMEX Review

APMEX is not a scam. This is a legitimate business that operates from its headquarters in Oklahoma City. Many customers have written positive reviews of the company online, indicating that they have had good experiences with the salespeople and the products.

But not being a scam doesn't necessarily mean that the company has the best practices. In addition to a large amount of consumer complaints, there has also been government action taken against the firm by the state of Minnesota.

Government Action

APMEX Review

One of the purposes of the BBB is to keep track of whether businesses have been subject to any government actions. That happens to be the case with APMEX. The action has been resolved using a consent order, which functions as a civil settlement of the allegations against the company.

The consent order was agreed to in March of 2021. Prior to that, there were allegations that the business hadn't obtained the proper registration for its representatives to sell bullion products in the state. The company agreed that it would pay civil damages to the state, as well as stop violating any regulations related to the precious metals industry.

This action doesn't necessarily point to any malicious wrongdoing by the company. There's a lot of paperwork involved in selling precious metals, especially when different state legislatures have different regulations. APMEX isn't the only company that has failed to comply with Minnesota regulations in this regard.

But government actions are concerning for any business. They indicate that a company operated without regard for the rules of commerce in an area, which means that they might have operated without doing their research on the Minnesota laws in the first place.

Because of the government actions that have been taken, APMEX has a rating of A- with the Better Business Bureau. It's possible that this would be an A+ otherwise, although the large number of complaints leaves something to be desired.

BBB Complaints

APMEX Review

Let's examine a few of the complaints that have been lodged against the company recently. Most large companies have some complaints, and the big question is how they resolve the issues. Complaints can also reveal patterns of mismanagement or potential negligence.

The track record for APMEX isn't the best. There have been 65 total complaints filed in the past three years, of which 30 were in the last twelve months alone.

Most complaints were related to problems with the products (35) or issues with the delivery (25). There were also three complaints about billing and two about the company's advertising tactics.

We can't analyze all 65 complaints, but we can look at what consumers most recently had to say.

Lost Package with No Refund

One complaint was written in the middle of November of 2021 by a customer who had purchased $2,500 worth of product. The package was misplaced during the transportation. The customer was complaining because the company said that it would take six weeks for an insurance claim to process, and their refund would not be sent until then.

Apparently the customer had purchased the items as gifts, but the time to deliver them had gone by. They didn't want the products anymore. But the company was refusing to process a refund. The customer said that this wasn't the first time they had had something like this happen.

The company responded to say that they replied to the customer's report of their problem the day after their email was sent. But they also said that the tracking number had received an update in the prior three days. The company was unwilling to settle the insurance claim without having proof of the package being truly lost, rather than just taking a long time in transit.

The customer said that they weren't happy with the response. They said that when products from other industries were lost in the mail, the other companies had very responsive customer service. They also mentioned that several years ago, another package had gotten lost, and the company had accused the customer of stealing it.

The company said that they were bound by certain rules and regulations of the precious metals industry. They needed to fully investigate the issue before they could refund the items without losing money.

Incorrect Item with No Return Option

This review was posted at the end of October in 2021. It was related to a purchase made in March of the same year. The customer had bought a product that was worth about $3,500, but their package had the wrong item. Instead, they were shipped a product that had a value of about $2,000.

The customer emailed the company immediately after receiving the wrong package. They were sent return shipping instructions to send the item back and receive a replacement. But the customer had a COVID-related family emergency and needed to care for their loved one, which meant they didn't have a chance to return the item within the 30 days.

Having finally finished taking care of their loved one, the customer got in contact with APMEX in the hopes of having a new return shipping label sent. But they were told by the representative that since the order had been placed over seven months prior, there was no way for them to exchange or return the item.

The customer stated that if they were the one in charge of the company, they would have done their best to get a refund or exchange to the consumer. They were upset because they had paid almost $1,500 more for their order than the worth of the item they received.

The company responded to say that a new return shipping label was being sent to the customer because they were able to look through their account notes and confirm that there was an error. They also said that the customer should try to contact them in a much sooner time frame if anything like this ever happened again.

From there, there was some argumentative back and forth between the company and the customer:

The customer said that they were unhappy with the response because they had contacted the company immediately, they had been given the wrong item, and all of the issues had been documented in writing. In addition, the representative they talked to never explained that the company actually did have a record of the error.

The company said that they had reached out with the new return authorization immediately after the complaint was filed, and the customer had accepted the authorization the day after. They mentioned that the customer filed a payment dispute for the order originally, even though they had been given a return shipping label.

The customer said that this response did not satisfy them because the company had not actually addressed their issues. Their biggest problem was that the company had documentation of the error the entire time, but the representative they spoke to refused to share that. The customer concluded that the company was at fault and that their actions bordered on fraudulent.

While calling this "fraud" seems like a stretch, the customer does make some valid points. It's odd that the company originally refused to initiate a return, even though they had documentation that the wrong item was sent. Yes, it was significantly outside the return policy's time frame, but that shouldn't have mattered when the issue was company-caused.

Damaged Products with No Exchange

One customer's complaint said that they were sent multiple silver bars that were damaged and in poor condition. When the customer tried to initiate an exchange, the company refused. Instead of being neatly and protectively packaged, all of the bars had been tossed into a single baggie and then sealed loosely in a box.

The company responded to say that the customer's return request had been made outside the normal return policy. The customer had been told that the returns department was reviewing the request to decide whether to honor it.

The customer said that he rejected the response because his original email had been rejected. The company repeated their initial response. The customer indicated that he was disgruntled that there was not more help being given to exchange the badly damaged items.

No further public correspondence has been had, so there's no indication of whether the customer ever received his requested return.

Stolen Items with No Approved Claim

A review from the end of September in 2021 said that the customer purchased two ounces of pure gold through APMEX. When the package arrived, the bag holding the gold bars had been torn from the side, and the gold itself was missing.

The customer called the company to explain the situation right away. They said to submit a UPS claim and file a police report. The customer did these things. But then the company decided that they would not file an insurance claim.

This was a case of theft. While the box itself looked undamaged, the sticky sealant material on the side had been removed. This allowed the thieves to access the bag, open it, steal the items, and then put the box back where they'd found it.

The company responded to say that they had done a full investigation with the Postal Service. These were the findings:

  • The package did not lose any of its weight throughout the shipping process, and it was the same weight when it was delivered.
  • There was photographic evidence showing that the package had been in perfect condition during transit.
  • The local mailman said that the package hadn't been damaged or opened when it was delivered.
  • APMEX itself had video evidence showing the packaging and shipment of the order.

Because of this, the company said that they weren't able to file a claim. The customer never responded to this. It's unclear whether the customer was confused or whether they were purposefully trying to engage in fraudulent activities.

Pros & Cons of APMEX

Pros

  • Large number of precious metals available.

Cons

  • Actions taken against the business by the state of Minnesota.
  • 65 total customer complaints with the BBB in the past three years.
  • Multiple reports of the company shipping the wrong items or putting items in damaged packaging.

Final Thoughts

APMEX is one of the most popular companies that people use for purchasing precious metals online. But despite selling to consumers all over the nation, the company has some downsides. They have settled allegations that they traded bullion in Minnesota without being properly licensed, and they have had 30 complaints in the last year alone.

Reviews of the company are also mixed on other websites. Some people say that they've had a great experience. But others say that their items arrived damaged, they were sent the wrong order, they were unable to exchange their damaged goods, and that they had a hard time reaching a resolution with the customer service team.

APMEX has made an effort to respond to each of the customer complaints. In many cases, though, customers have stated that they are not happy with the solution offered. Customers also say that the company has a lack of transparency and doesn't offer a lot of compromise.

There are many other precious metals dealers that have a more reliable reputation overall. You're better off working with one of these instead.

Overall, we believe that there is a better option when it comes to your investment.

The above company is our top recommendation after doing extensive research. Feel free to keep doing your own research, or you can visit APMEX below!

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