How to Buy Bullion Intelligently

Instead of learning painfully through costly mistakes, we will try and help you acquire bullion with the right moves, right away.

How to find the best gold and silver dealers?

Bullion Dealer Reviews & Track Records

Thanks to the downward price action of silver and gold over the last +5 years, most of the ‘Johnny Come Latelies’ have been weeded out through how highly competitive this industry is, lowering bullion buy/sell business volumes, shrinking premiums and thus lower per transaction profitability.

That all said, there are still many active alleged online “Bait & Switchers” or alleged greed enticing “Leverage Account” pitchers who still advertising in magazines, on radio, and through television commercials. All these forms of expensive advertising campaigns are usually a dead giveaway sign that the business doing the advertising is running a high profit margin business model which may perhaps be good for them, but likely not for their unknowing customers.

When it comes to the bullion dealer(s) you choose, make sure they mostly offer low premium bullion products competitively priced which you can buy in real time (24x7) without having to call anyone or send money by check or bank wire ahead of time. Doing this helps you avoid the bait and switch practitioners who use hard sales tactics after they have your funds cleared in their bank accounts.

The amount of years a gold dealer has been in business successfully is important but it doesn’t mean said dealer has not gotten away with decades of nefarious business practices.

There have recently been high volume ( over $300 USD million a year revenue ) online bullion dealers with over 20 year track records of fine service, who have unexpectedly imploded into bankruptcy over a smattering of months. Those bullion buyers who had their capital tied up when the company went down have been fighting to get back pennies on the dollar for years now.

Our actionable suggestion is prior to each and every time before you buy from a bullion dealer is to check their latest hard to rig online reviews on third party maintained websites like GoldDealerReviews.com.

How to Find Bullion Dealer Dirt on their BBB Website?

It used to be you could simply check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of a company. If the rating was an A or better, you could rest assured the company was ethical. Unfortunately, according to this investigative report by ABC’s 20/20, the BBB rating system has allegedly become somewhat corruptible.

Better Business Bureau Probe ABC 20/20Source

While perhaps BBB ratings do not count for much anymore, you can still get a good feel for how a company runs its business by reading all the official customer complaints currently on the right hand side of the website.

You can drill down and see what these complaints are about and how they were resolved (if at all). It’s kind of like reading book reviews on amazon, only about a business being reviewed by its upset customer base.

SD Bullion Better Business Bureau Rating

There you will be able to see the customer's complaints in full, then if the business has chosen to respond you’ll see their official response. It may also detail how the situation was finally resolved.

While it’s a little contradictory, it is good to see some complaints about a company. At minimum, it shows the company does enough volume to generate some unhappy customers. But better still it gives us insight into how they run their business.It’s not necessarily a good thing to find a company with zero complaints. This could simply be a sign that the company just doesn’t have enough customers to complain (possibly signaling other potential issues).

This is similar to your credit score history. A bank prefers extending credit to someone with a credit history with a few minor dings over someone with zero credit history.

What you are looking for are (#1) the ratio of company complaints vs positive reviews as well as (#2) how the company resolves each complaint. What you’re hoping to see are a few minor issues. A slight delay in delivery, an unknown shipping charge, etc.

Many complaints are either due to customers simply not fully understanding the process and then overreacting and going to the BBB before clarifying or rectifying the situation with the company directly. Or often too simple honest mistakes made by the business itself.

Physical precious metal gold and silver bullion items are so expensive, even a single failed order could cost you years of hard earned savings. Thus I don’t care how many times you have successfully bought from a specific bullion dealer before. Always perform your proper due diligence on recent customer reviews each and every single time you risk your hard earned savings.

Hard to rig organic (not affiliate) review websites have helped bullion buyers avoid losing their hard earned capital to imploding, incompetent, and or potentially crooked dealers.

Man Standing on Gold Coins

Which Bullion Dealers have Failed Recently?

The track record of failing dealers and millions in people’s hard earned saving lost remains on this important website:

- Merit Gold: an alleged bait and switch dealer subsequently shut down by the Santa Monica District Attorney’s office.

- Northwest Territorial Mint: bad track record of using customer funds for operational expenses resulting in really long delivery times. Owner recently lost a major lawsuit and the company recently filed for bankruptcy.

- Bullion Direct: filed for bankruptcy allegedly missing some $30,000,000 in customer cash and supposed bullion vault holdings.

- Tulving: closed their doors in 2014, went bankrupt, former owner now in prison. Many former regular bullion buying customers from Tulving are still involved in a lawsuit which will likely result in their receiving pennies on the dollars they have had tied up in bankruptcy proceedings.

- Penn Metals: closed their doors in late 2016, supposedly due to an unforeseen and unpredictable personal health crisis of the owner of the business. Penn Metals allegedly ceased operations and accepting new orders after December 9th, 2016.

As often happens in these situations, high volumes of bad customer reviews get increasingly posted online before a company goes bankrupt or shuts their doors perhaps unexpectedly. I suggest you stay on top of any bullion dealers customer complaint trends before each and every order you might place online.

In the case of the somewhat recent bankruptcy of the Tulving Company in the spring of 2014, most of Tulving’s regular and even newer clients didn’t do the proper pre-order due-diligence before ordering in late 2013 or early 2014.

Understandably many repeat customers had ordered successfully from that company year after year so they likely assumed all was well and it would be business as usual (order at a cheap price, bullion delivered fast, safe, etc.).

You know what military professionals say about assumptions?

Many poor souls who were trying to buy bullion from Tulving are still stuck in a settlement lawsuit, hoping to somehow retrieve dimes on their lost dollars.

You may be thinking to yourself, “O.K., screw these online risks, I’ll just buy locally”.

If you are buying a decent amount of bullion understand that most local coin shops are simply mint and larger bullion dealer middlemen. For most $10k to over $100k orders for bullion locally, you’ll have to likely give the local dealer 100% of good funds cleared before the order you want is placed and the price gets ‘locked in’. The local dealer will most likely simply order the bullion items you want from a mint or larger bullion dealer and make a small profit or spread between them and you. In this scenario you will simply have to wait it out for delivery, in full regardless.

For example, it wasn’t just online buyers who got hit by the recent Tulving bankruptcy, it was also street level retail bullion buyers who were left flailing without delivery of what they supposedly bought at their local dealer.

Our suggestion is as follows.

If you buy bullion locally, get it in your hands that very same day.

If you buy online, investigate each and every time before you buy.

Make sure to confirm organic customer reviews are trending positive and whether or not a company is indeed still delivering products sold within acceptable delivery time frames to be more confident on their solvency and ongoing business practices.

Online vs Local Bullion Dealers?

Even if you live in or near a major city, your best bullion prices will still most likely be found online. This is mainly due to what in business is referred to economies of scale.

High volume online bullion dealers typically have way larger sales volumes and lower overhead costs without a retail storefront. Online bullion dealers can market to their entire respective countries of delivery, this gives them a much larger population of potential clients.

Finding a trusted local coin shop is great if you are in need of a quick purchase or a sale for cash. There is also a sensical argument for privacy being stronger in a local coin shop but I would also point out the fact that if you are buying in bulk ($10,000 USD or more) you will still get a paper trail from either a check or bank wire transfer used in payment (this is due to Anti-Money Laundering policies will cover later, known in short by its acronym AML). The employees, other customers, and even bystanders on the street nearby could begin recognizing your face or worse trail you on your way home.

Bottom line is all choices of whether to buy bullion online or locally have various risks associated. In a coming section of this guide (Taking Delivery) I shall propose some potentially safer alternatives for you to consider before acting.

Bullion Dealer Prices?

Before buying bullion you should competitively check total prices either locally to hand, to your direct non-bank vault account, or to your door. You will also want to steer clear of any potential loss leader products sold by dealers at low prices, with the ulterior motive of getting you on up-sell phone call or mailing lists.

Every month or so there is a new article online documenting poor people who mistakenly bought fake counterfeit ‘bullion’ products locally, via Craigslist, or other exchanges.

This is most often done with criminals buying fake Chinese products and then advertising them priced at or below spot to entice unknowing buyers who then fall for the scam.

Stick with only trusted proven bullion sellers to ensure you get the genuine articles. Know that any offers to buy bullion heavily priced under spot is virtually 100% of the time, a scam in waiting.

Bullion Dealer Value?

Consider the company’s value propositions from which you are buying potential bullion products from. Do they offer expedient friendly customer service and valuable free information? Are they educating you on your best options as a potential buyers? Is there any intelligence to the information they provide are they simply playing on fear or greed based emotions to steer you into some higher premium ‘exclusive’ or ‘collectible’ product(s) they want you to buy?

Bullion Dealer Product Selection?

Does the dealer offer high volume two way bought and sold bullion brands? Or do they merely offer an overwhelming number of specialized high price products to choose from?

Perhaps steer clear of those who only specialize in once hoarded, now graded, great-granddaddy pre-1933 coins, proof coins, or rare high profit margin collectibles.

Large product premiums, when given enough time almost always disappear. Bullion market veterans know this and thus virtually whenever any silver or gold product develops large premiums over their precious metal content, the savvy bullion buyer tends to sell off the premium product and uses the proceeds to buy cheaper lower premium bullion items in order to increase the number of physical precious metal ounces one holds in total.

Bullion Dealer Speed of Delivery?

Huge demand upheavals in the physical bullion markets aside, in calm markets after your payment clears with your chosen bullion dealer you should get tracking information and delivery to follow in a matter of mere business days.

The CFTC declares the time limit for retail delivery of bullion to be 28 days. If it takes longer than that for physical delivery of your order you may be financing a losing venture.

Bullion Dealer Shipping Fees?

A recent trend in the high volume online bullion dealer industry is to front load premiums and prices with shipping and insurance costs included, and simply offer FREE SHIPPING with a minimal spending threshold to qualify.

If negotiated well by a high volume bullion dealer, the cost to safely ship bullion fully insured to domestic USA customer’s doors or direct non-bank vault accounts should vary from $5 to $50 USD per 5 to 500 ounces of silver shipped or 1 to 10 ounces of gold shipped.

Unless you are shipping to or taking bullion delivery from sources internationally, shipping and full insurance fees should be minimal, yet still dependent upon the size of the order and distance being shipped.

Bullion Dealer Buy Back Prices?

Does the dealer you are buying from buy the products back and at what prices? Perhaps they indeed publish both live bid and ask prices?

Bid prices are what the dealer is offering to buy the like kind product at. Ask prices are what they dealer is actively selling the bullion product at. Ask prices will always be higher than bid prices, unless the bullion dealer intends to eventually go broke.

Additional Bullion Dealers Services?

Bullion IRA's

By using a Traditional IRA, investors are able to make contributions to their retirement account tax deductible.

Conversely with a Roth IRA, investors won’t be able to deduct their contribution now but the may be able to circumvent future capital gains taxes on bullion price appreciations (which currently can be as high as 28%).

Also depending on the state you reside in, IRAs may be totally protected against bankruptcy liens or lawsuits aimed at an individual or individual’s estate.

Be careful with Gold IRAs & Silver IRAs

If you simply google the search term “gold ira”, approximately 80% of the first page’s search results will have either (#1) paid for by $25 a click google advertisements (e.g. Ad ) or (#2) kick-back lead generation affiliate websites.

Likely the end the results of both those paths will be some form of overpriced high premium collector coins, an alleged ‘Bait & Switch’ proposition of some kind, or perhaps even a non-IRS approved ‘physical IRA possession pitch’ for you to store you IRA bullion at home (this is IRS unapproved and would likely forfeit your entire Individual Retirement Fund’s tax shelter status).

Almost none of google’s 1st page Gold / Silver IRA results will be in your long term best interest.

To acquire honest and fair bullion products for your IRA, the process is still pretty simple.

Try the following 5 steps.

Step 1) Find a trustworthy bullion dealer who offers proven, well organically reviewed IRA services.

Step 2) Find out which IRA custodians they work with for physical precious metal bullion IRAs. Perform your proper due diligence on the various physical bullion IRA custodians offered.

Step 3) Choose and complete your new IRA paperwork along with all other required rollover forms from your soon to be former retirement account custodian(s).

Step 4) Fund your IRA with a monetary contribution, or a direct transfer of rollover funds received from another IRA or retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b).

Choose the right IRS bullion approved products in line with your long term investment objectives. High trust bullion dealers like us at SDBullion.com will have experienced staff members who can assist you throughout the bullion IRA buying process.

Step 5) Purchase your selected bullion products with the proceeds from your IRA paid for them by your new IRA custodian. The bullion in your IRA will then be shipped to the trusted non-bank depository the custodian or you perhaps have selected.

The most important part of the entire process will be finding the combination of a highly trustworthy bullion dealer and IRA custodian(s) who offer responsive high touch service and product options which best suit your long term needs.

Bullion Product Decisions

Up next we help you narrow down your bullion product choices amongst the 1000s of bullion products available according to your personal objectives and nuanced bullion product differentiated characteristics.

We will cover critical content like:

  • government guaranteed vs privately minted bullion products
  • cutting edge anti-counterfeit bullion product technologies
  • lowest bullion product premiums / lowest bullion prices over spot
  • which bullion products are currently exempt from IRS 1099-b bullion dealer reporting
  • Which bullion products are not private when sold back to bullion dealers in high volume

And more... just click and find out below.

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