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The United States Gold Bureau might sound like an official government entity, but it is actually a private dealer of precious metals. Though they've been in the industry since 2003, there are some somewhat concerning customer reviews. The BBB has also issued a notice because of issues with their advertising.
What exactly does this company offer? Why has the BBB taken issue with their ads, and what should you know before you invest?
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About United States Gold Bureau
The US Gold Bureau is a precious metals company that helps people to diversify their investment portfolios. However, it is very clear that the company representatives are not eligible to offer investment advice.
When you call to make a purchase, you'll speak to an experienced precious metals specialist. They will guide you through the process of deciding on the best precious metals for your needs. Every specialist has experience in the industry and goes through a rigorous training program to make sure they're equipped with the skills to help.
The company does have some good reviews online, and they also say that they rely on business from referrals. Satisfied customers recommend the company to their friends and family. While that's undoubtedly true, we are concerned about the customer service given to people who aren't satisfied.
History of the Company
The company was first started in 2003, but the ownership changed in the middle of 2008. After the change in ownership, the company has grown significantly to encompass clients all over the US. They are owned by Lone Star Tangible Assets, a larger company that is in charge of maintaining the only state storage facility for precious metals in Texas.
Since United States Gold Bureau is owned by Lone Star, they can give customers access to vaults in this facility. The storage options have the oversight of the state and are also priced competitively.
The company states that their mission is to be the main precious metals supplier in the industry. They want to build ongoing client relationships built around your investment goals.
There are a variety of different assets available for purchase in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. The company itself doesn't appear to have many IRA services, but it's possible that their parent company will have IRA streamlining services for those who want to secure their retirement assets.
Is United States Gold Bureau a Scam?
United States Gold Bureau is not technically a scam. They are a legitimate business, and they offer the services that they claim to. There are satisfied reviews from customers online, indicating that not everyone has been unhappy. But they have also been subject to an alarming number of BBB complaints, and the BBB has stated that there are advertising issues with the company.
The Better Business Bureau has posted a detailed outline of exactly what happened with the company's advertising. The organization's biggest concern was that the company was misrepresenting itself and the investments it offered.
A review of the company's advertisements was conducted between 2015 and 2016. The BBB made a request for the company to remove some of the problematic claims in one of its Youtube videos. They also requested that the company remove any phrasing from their website that might mislead people about the value of precious metals in the future.
Some of the advertising claims in question included:
The issue here was that the company is not authorized to provide people with investment advice. But the BBB believed that those claims construed advice.
The company did remove or alter the phrasing that the BBB found concerning with their website. But promotional materials like their gold buying guide also had these concerning claims. The BBB said that the company's advertisements seemed to guarantee that an investor's assets would be safe, which no one can guarantee.
In order to be compliant with the BBB Code of Advertising, companies must not use deceptive language in their ads, even if the facts they share are objectively true. It is the responsibility of the advertiser to make sure that their ads are ethical and compliant with the various financial regulations in place.
There have been a whopping fifteen complaints filed against the company in the prior three years, five of which were closed within the last year. While there's no way for us to go through every single complaint, we can take a look at a few.
Five complaints were related to billing. Four were related to delivery issues, four were related to issues with a product, and two were related to the advertising tactics used by the business.
The most recent complaint was posted in the beginning of November in 2021. The customer said that they called to purchase some precious metals at the spot price, but their card was charged full price. Since this happened at the end of the day on a Friday, the company closed before the customer could call.
Nobody called back in the morning on Monday, so the customer called again on Monday afternoon. Since the item had yet to ship, they didn't think there would be an issue. But the agent repeatedly told the customer that the charge was correct. The customer realized the discrepancy wouldn't be fixed, so they asked for their order to be cancelled.
They were on the phone for twenty minutes and talked to two different agents. Then they were told that the order would not be cancelled and the ad the customer had responded to would not be honored. Apparently the representatives told the customer they were sorry about the experience, but they made no effort to fix it.
The company responded to say that they had refunded the customer for the full amount of the transaction. The customer indicated that they found this resolution satisfactory.
Another complaint is from September of 2021. The customer said that they made an attempt to purchase 30 ounces of silver, an order that cost over $900. Since the products were unavailable, the order failed to go through. But the customer's card was charged anyway. There was no order confirmation.
The customer said that they had contacted the company several times. But nobody they talked to seemed able to help. They'd sent three emails, but nobody had responded. They concluded by saying that unless they were refunded, they would be resorting to legal action.
The company responded to say that the customer's card was being refunded for the $900 charge.
One complaint was filed in April of 2021. This customer said that their items were put into the company's storage facility, even though this was not discussed with the salesman. When eight days had gone by with no tracking number, the customer called the company. They were told the item would arrive within a week.
It had been several weeks since then, and the customer had called about their order status multiple times. Nobody at the company had been able to give them a definitive delivery date.
The company responded to say that they regretted the order delay and that they were sorry for the inconvenience. They further added that the order was processed and had been shipped that day. The customer was being sent an email with their tracking number.
The consumer response was that the solution was satisfactory. They noted that if the items didn't arrive, they would file a new claim; as they never did, it seems the issue was resolved.
The company seems to have handled these issues very well. They didn't argue with the customers about the refunds or cite policy. They didn't make excuses for themselves. They just tried to solve the problem. That would be encouraging, except that they only seem to have taken action after a public complaint was filed.
Multiple customers have stated that they've called and emailed the business several times about issues with their orders. But it's not until they take their complaints to the BBB that they actually get their money back or have their order processed.
There are plenty of companies that have fewer complaints lodged against them... largely because they do things right the first time. You don't want to deal with the hassle of playing phone tag with a company representative. It's better to invest in a place with better consumer feedback.
Pros & Cons of United States Gold Bureau
United States Gold Bureau is a precious metals dealer that offers a variety of platinum, palladium, gold, and silver. They also have some collectible coins and numismatic rarities available. Though the company seems like they're one of the best options, there are several issues at hand.
One of the issues is the large number of customer complaints. The company has made an issue to respond to and resolve these without issue. But many customers have indicated that they've been unable to resolve their consumer problems because their phone calls and emails are ignored until they make a public complaint.
That's not a good sign. You want a company that's attentive to your needs at every step of the purchase process, from paying to acquiring your metals. And you certainly don't want to have to chase them down to get answers about issues with your order.
Another problem is that the BBB has found issues with the company's advertising. They say that the company's promotional materials make claims and guarantees about the value of precious metals. But this company is not supposed to be an investment advisor, and they cannot guarantee that precious metals will perform well in the future.
Though the company removed several of the videos and phrases that seemed to push this idea, they didn't completely eradicate it. It continued to be part of their gold buying guide and other copy in the years following. Because of this, the BBB has kept the notice up on their website. The company also doesn't have an A+ rating because of the issue.
There are other precious metals companies that offer the same types of products and services that United States Gold Bureau does. But these companies do so without struggling to offer good customer service. And they have overwhelmingly positive feedback from their previous clients.
It's better to work with a company that has a history of resolving customer issues without any hassle. That way, if anything does go wrong with your order, you can get it fixed as quickly as possible. Every company makes the occasional mistake. What matters is how they respond to and fix it.
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 United States Gold Bureau below!