American Hartford Gold is one of the largest precious metals investment companies in the United States. They operate out of Los Angeles in California and serve customers throughout the US. However, they don't ship internationally.
The company's goal is to help people secure their finances with gold and silver. But there are many companies that do the same thing. How does American Hartford Gold compare to the competition?
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While you can make cash purchases of precious metals, the IRA services are the company's main focus. You can roll over your retirement funds into a self-directed IRA, then use those funds to buy precious metals. This provides a necessary hedge against inflation and stock market volatility.
It can be difficult to set up an IRA because of the amount of paperwork. If you don't have a tax background, the regulations can be overwhelming. That's why there are experts at American Hartford Gold who will walk you through it.
From there, you can purchase precious metals. There is a large variety of different items available through the American Hartford Gold store. Keep in mind, though, that you'll need to call to get price quotes. The online prices don't update in real time like with some other companies.
Most of the products are gold and silver coins from official mints in countries like Austria, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, South Africa, and the US.
The fees for an account are not listed on the website. However, the company does state that the fees change depending on your precious metals holdings and the value of your account. Some people qualify for free storage. If you make a large purchase, you're more likely to have your storage costs covered. You can call the company to ask about the specifics of their storage offerings.
Is American Hartford Gold a Scam?
American Hartford Gold is not a scam. In fact, the company has excellent reviews across multiple websites. On Consumer Affairs, they have a 4.9 out of 5 star rating based on 86 reviews, indicating almost universal praise. They are accredited with the BBB and have an A+ rating. The customer average on the BBB website is also 4.9 out of 5 stars with over 170 customer reviews.
There are similarly positive ratings across platforms like Facebook and Trustpilot. Multiple third party websites have indicated that customers are mostly satisfied. There are also positive reviews from third party organizations regarding the company's policies and ethics.
Because this is one of the largest precious metals companies in the United States, there are bound to be a few complaints. On the BBB website, there have been 19 complaints filed in three years. Of those, 10 were filed in the last year. Keep in mind that this is a fraction of the number of positive reviews.
But complaints about a company can tell you a lot about them. You'll see whether there are any common problems that don't seem to be solved. In addition, you'll be able to see how the company responds to different customer feedback.
There is a note on the BBB website that customers with issues can call a company number to have their concerns addressed more quickly. This is ideal because it removes the processing time for the complaint, and it means that the company doesn't have negative feedback in public.
Before getting into the customer complaints, we should point out the positive reviews. Most customers say that they're happy to have chosen American Hartford Gold as their gold company. In addition, they say that they would recommend the company to others.
American Hartford Gold's customer service team is often praised, as are their prices and transparency. They have a good reputation in the industry. The content of complaints about them is the exception, not the norm.
We won't be able to examine every complaint that's been left on the BBB website. But we can take a look at some of the most recent ones that are displayed.
Supposedly Overvalued Coin
One complaint was filed in January of 2022 about a purchase made in late September of the previous year. The customer said that he had been quoted a certain price for one ounce of gold. However, the company said that they didn't have any single one-ounce coins left in stock. They asked the customer if he wanted to buy 1/4 ounce coins instead.
Rather than listing the price for a single coin, the company gave the customer a quote for a full tube. The customer made the purchase and then discovered that the price was significantly inflated. He had paid much more for the 1/4 ounce coins than he would if the gold was being sold for its previously-quoted per-ounce rate.
The customer said that when he called about the issue, the company representative was dismissive. He was told that the item must have been the only thing available in the inventory. But according to the representative, the customer said that he should have gotten about 4 more coins for the price he paid.
American Hartford Gold responded to say that the customer had contacted them right after making the complaint. Apparently he posted the complaint impulsively and actually was satisfied with his purchase. According to the company, the customer had said he would contact the BBB to remove the complaint.
The complaint is still listed on the BBB website. But the customer has never responded to contradict this claim. It's possible that the complaint is up in error. It is also not clear whether the customer realized his math was wrong or just changed his mind after a better conversation with a customer service representative.
Months of Delays
One customer filed a complaint in July of 2021 after repeated delays of her items. She had spoken to a service representative about buying precious metals with a self-directed IRA. Throughout the process, her IRA funds were transferred into a self-directed account. The company received the funds in April of 2021.
The customer then signed a contract to purchase the metals of her choice. She was to have her items stored in the Texas Depository. But weeks went by without the items being shipped. When she called the company to ask about the issue, she was told that there were shipping delays due to COVID.
The customer said that she did not accept this. She had originally been told that her metals should ship within a month. The customer further added that she didn't have proof that her metals would ever be sent to the depository, and she wanted them to be returned.
The company never responded to this complaint publicly. But the customer did follow up to say that she had been notified that her metals would be shipped that week. She was waiting for the depository to give her proof that the metals had arrived. She further stated that she was still unhappy with the company's services, and that they hadn't made an effort to accommodate her until she threatened them with legal action.
Since the customer never followed up again, we can safely assume that her metals did arrive at the depository.
It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic caused major shipment delays, especially in the precious metals industry. There are almost no precious metals companies that were not influenced by the industry impacts. It seems that these kinds of shipping delays are unusual for American Hartford Gold. But the lack of public response might be a concern.
Incorrect Items Shipped
A customer filed a complaint in April of 2021 because the wrong items had been shipped to him. He made a purchase of some gold and silver coins. The company sent out two precious metals shipments that had different coins, which were worth less.
Inside the packages was an invoice. However, the invoice didn't have the specifics of the customer's order. When the customer contacted a service representative, he was told that his actual coins would be sent out.
Three days later, the customer exchanged emails, texts, and a phone conversation with another company representative to talk about a pricing change. The representative agreed that 40 extra ounces of silver would be sent out. The customer asked that the invoice be more detailed this time and double-checked their order.
He was told that his order would be correct. But a few weeks later, the customer received the wrong package again. It included silver American Eagle coins that were worth less than his initial investment.
The customer contacted the representative again. The representative said that the issue would be resolved, either with an exchange or with additional silver being sent. The customer said that he didn't want additional silver sent and would rather exchange his items.
Despite this, he was sent an email saying that a new shipment of coins was being sent. He called the company to ask whether the shipment included the actual coins he had purchased. No one responded. He then contacted the first customer service representative again, who said that they could figure out corrections once the package arrived.
Once again, the package contained the wrong coins. The customer contacted the company and was told that the issue was now out of the representative's hands. At this point, the customer had not received any of his initially purchased coins.
The customer noted that multiple texts and emails had never been replied to. But the company was quick to return phone calls.
The customer wanted to exchange the items he had received for the ones he had actually bought. The company responded to say that they were checking their inventory availability to make sure they could make the exchange. The customer indicated that he accepted the outcome.
All of this sounds very frustrating, especially considering it seems like the customer was very clear about his desires. One mistaken package is one thing, but to have every single shipped package be incorrect is another. That said, no incidents like this have happened in at least a year, and the problem seems to have eventually been resolved.
One customer posted a short complaint in February of 2021 because they believed that the company had engaged in false advertising. The customer had reached out to ask about purchasing gold bullion. At the time, American Hartford Gold was running a campaign that said people could get a free silver coin if they asked about gold investment.
The customer said that they wanted the company to stop with the false advertising campaign.
American Hartford Gold responded to say that the issue had been a misunderstanding, and that they had tried to fix it. The customer had made the request for the silver at the end of January. The company representative sent an email form and promised that the coin would be mailed in 6 weeks or less.
It was the day after this that the customer filed the complaint. The customer had told the company that he didn't want the coin anymore, but the company said that they would still ship it out.
The customer said that they accepted this response. He said that he had tried to buy a certain amount of gold bullion to be paid monthly. But before he finalized his purchase, he wanted to test the company and make sure that they would actually follow through. So he asked for the free silver coin to see whether it would be shipped.
Before the customer made the purchase, he asked about the coin. According to him, the customer service representative hung up. Then the company called back, but when the customer brought up the coin, he was hung up on again. He said that these red flags were the reason that he filed his complaint the next day instead of waiting.
Pros & Cons of American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold is a solid precious metals dealer with a good reputation. They offer more robust IRA services than many of the other gold IRA companies in the industry. However, they aren't quite as streamlined as some of the competition. In addition, there are some customer complaints, though these largely seem to be resolved.
Most customers with American Hartford Gold have been happy with their purchases. The only thing that gives us pause is the company's response to complaints. Some customers seem to have gone through frustrating games of "phone tag" while trying to solve their issues. But some complaints involved situations that couldn't be helped, like supply chain issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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