What do you do when a gold seller fails to
deliver or the merchandise you received was not as described when you ordered
it? Who can you contact for help
when you don't receive payment for gold you've submitted to sell?
In two recent cases, "Howard" in Mississippi
wired $20,000 several months ago to a California coin and bullion dealer to
purchase gold coins, and "Richard" in Virginia sent $150,000 to the
same dealer. With the recent
run-up in bullion prices they both would have made a nice profit, except they still have not received any
gold from the dealer. Howard
laments, "All I've gotten is the run-around."
you don't know gold coins, you'd better know your gold coin dealer," is
the advice to collectors and investors in a joint advisory from three nonprofit
organizations: the American Numismatic Association (www.money.org), the
Industry Council for Tangible Assets (www.ictaonline.org) and the Professional
Numismatists Guild (www.pngdealers.com).
are many reputable, professional numismatists in the United States," the
three organizations emphasized in a joint statement. "Before you make a purchase or offer something for
sale, do your homework and check the dealer's credentials. For example, contact the Better
Business Bureau to check the company's BBB rating or if the company is even
accredited by the BBB."
listing of Better Business Bureau accredited and rated companies nationwide can
be found online at www.bbb.org.
dealer that received the combined $170,000 in unfulfilled purchase orders from
"Howard" and "Richard" had an "F" rating from the
dealers who are unresponsive to reasonable requests from customers seeking
resolution of disputes are not involved in the mainstream of numismatics, but
may advertise in prominent, mainstream news media.
on the experiences of the ANA, ICTA and PNG, and in consultation with law enforcement
agencies, the three organizations suggest that buyers or sellers of gold coins
who encounter problems consider taking these actions:
Make copies of all correspondence, receipts and transactions and
if possible have copies of advertisements or the dates and times ads were
Always contact the company directly to try to resolve the
dispute. Ask for the manager or
Take thorough notes of your conversation(s).
the problem is still not resolved after a reasonable amount of time, contact
the Customer Service and/or Advertising Departments of the news media
organization(s) that published or broadcast the company's advertisements and
let them know about the problems.
ANA, ICTA and PNG advise: "It's your money, so do your homework before
placing an order, and if there is a problem then don't just sit back and
wait. Be persistent in your
efforts to resolve the dispute. Follow up with the company you did business
with and the agencies where you've filed a complaint. You may also want to consult with an attorney."
on the specific circumstances of the situation, one or more of these agencies
also may be able to assist in the resolution of the dispute.
Numismatic Consumer Alliance, Inc.
(www.StopCoinFraud.org) helps consumers secure relief for allegedly fraudulent
and illegal conduct within the coin industry. Address: P.O. Box 144,
Bedminster, New Jersey 07921.
Phone: (908) 781-7947.
Numismatic Crime Information Center
(www.NumismaticCrimes.org) can help with investigative resources, information
and direction for customers, dealers and law enforcement agencies. Address: P.O. Box 14080, Arlington,
Texas 76094. Phone: (817) 723-7231.
Credit Card Companies if the purchase
in dispute was made with a credit card within the past six months. Call the Customer Service number on the
credit card and inquire about doing a chargeback for undelivered merchandise.
Local Police Department or Sheriff's
Department, the local District Attorney or County Prosecutor and the State Attorney
General in the city, county and/or state in which you live or in which the
dealer has a place of business.
Contact the law enforcement agencies in the city, county or state where
the transaction took place. Phone
numbers can be found in the Government pages of local phone books or
online. A convenient listing of
contact information for every state attorney general can be found on the
National Association of Attorneys General website, www.naag.org.
Federal Bureau of Investigation or Secret
Service depending on the dollar amount of the transaction and whether
interstate commerce or counterfeit coins were involved in the transaction. Phone numbers for the nearest FBI and
Secret Service offices can be found in the Government pages of local telephone
United States Postal Service may be
able to provide assistance if the transaction occurred using the U.S.
Mail. Go to your main post office
and ask to talk with the local Postmaster or Postal Inspector.
American Numismatic Association (www.money.org)
if the dealers involved in the dispute are ANA members and the dispute involves
alleged violation of the ANA Code of Ethics, the association offers complaint
mediation services for a fee based on the dollar value of the transaction. Address: 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado
Springs, Colorado 80903. Phone:
Professional Numismatists Guild
(www.PNGdealers.com) if the dealers in question are PNG members they must
adhere to the Guild's Code of Ethics, support the PNG Collector's Bill of
Rights and must agree to binding arbitration to resolve any disputes involving
numismatic merchandise. Address:
3950 Concordia Lane, Fallbrook, California 92028. Phone: (760) 728-1300.
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Sentinel
Network (www.FTC.gov); however, don't expect an immediate response. The FTC usually responds when a
significant number of serious complaints accumulate against a company, but it
is still good to alert the FTC about unresolved disputes so they can be added
to the agency's files. Information about filing a complaint can be found online
at www.consumeraction.gov. Phone:
consumer protection information from the American Numismatic Association about
"How to Buy Gold & Silver" can be found online at
and the Professional Numismatists Guild offers consumer education information
about "Three Things Gold Buyers Must Know First" online at