Blanchard Gold, also called Blanchard & Company or just Blanchard, is one of the oldest precious metals dealers in the US. They have been offering their products since the 1970's, when owning precious metals first became legal. With such a long history under their belt, they should be great to work with, right?
Or is there something more sinister lurking under the surface?
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About Blanchard Gold
Blanchard Gold has specialties in gold, platinum, palladium, and collectible numismatics. You can purchase gold coins and bullion, platinum bars, palladium bars, and a variety of different rare coins. The available inventory varies depending on the day.
Blanchard Gold also helps people to open precious metals IRAs. You can open a self-directed IRA, fund it using a rollover from your existing retirement account, and then purchase IRS-approved precious metals. Multiple precious metals companies offer IRA services because of how complicated the setup process can be.
When you work with Blanchard, they will set you up with a custodian and walk you through the application. But Blanchard doesn't appear to specialize in precious metals IRAs. There are other companies with in-house IRA teams that are much more streamlined. For the most part, it seems like Blanchard focuses on its rare coins.
How to Buy
The buying process outlined on the Blanchard Gold website is fairly simple and straightforward. Once you know which coins you want to buy, you can either place an order online through the company's eCommerce platform, or you can call the customer service line and place the order over the phone.
You'll then decide on your payment method. There are several different payment methods to choose from.
Available Payment Methods
Blanchard Gold does have some of the most versatile payment methods on the market. Some companies only accept bank wire transfers or checks.
However, you have the option to pay with your debit or credit card in addition to the bank transfer or check. That makes it a lot easier to check out from the eCommerce platform without ever even needing to talk to another human being.
Another unique option is to use Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency to pay for your items. Blanchard Gold isn't the only company to offer cryptocurrency payment options, but this choice is a rarity. People who prefer to use their digital wallets will appreciate it.
Keep in mind that checks will be slow to process. They first need to be mailed to the bank, and then they need multiple days to clear before your items can ship. So if you want your items to ship quickly, you should probably use a different payment method.
With debit and credit cards, the customer is subject to a $10,000 limit. If you purchase more than this, you'll need to use a check or wire transfer or Bitcoin. Similarly, cryptocurrency payments are capped at $50,000 per transaction.
Your final step is to pick how and where your items are stored. If you're not making a purchase for a precious metals IRA, you can have them shipped to your home. You can also open an account with a secure depository and place your items in a vault.
The Blanchard Gold website has a page that talks about the variety of storage options available to you.
One of the key options is to open an account with International Depository Services. International Depository Services has a precious metals depository located in Toronto, Canada. Their facility is extremely secure and outside the reach of any governments or national banking systems.
All vaults with IDS are completely insured. There are also regular audits from third parties, and you'll receive a quarterly statement to update you about your holdings. If you have a lot of bulk precious metals, this is the best option.
Is Blanchard Gold a Scam?
Blanchard Gold is not a scam. This business is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating. It has been established in the industry for 40 years, and there is a high level of transparency regarding the management. Blanchard Gold is a business with multiple locations, and it has had its BBB accreditation since 1982.
That said, Blanchard Gold is not necessarily the best place to invest with. On the BBB website, there are four customer reviews with a total rating of 1.25 out of 5 stars. That indicates that almost every customer had a terrible experience. There has also been one complaint closed in the prior three years, although that's not necessarily a red flag. No complaints have been filed in the prior twelve months.
Complaints and Negative Reviews
It's concerning when a company's customer feedback seems to be mostly or entirely negative. That appears to be the case here, at least as far as the Blanchard BBB page is concerned. Despite being in business for 40 years, there are only a handful of reviews, most of which are intensely negative.
The one BBB complaint was filed in July of 2019. The complainant said that people should be very cautious before buying numismatic coins from Blanchard. They said that they had lost a massive amount of their retirement money because Blanchard marked up the coins they sold and misrepresented their future value.
The customer mentioned that they had actually been a Blanchard customer for more than 20 years prior to the problems. But the issues started once the customer retired. They said that the company representative would cold call and try to sell coins, get the customer to liquidate their current holdings at a loss, and upsell coins for much more than their actual value.
One of the issues was that the customer was sold some coins as a "set" and told that having them as a set would make them more valuable at an auction. But when the time came to liquidate the pieces, the auction house didn't recognize the coins as a set at all.
The customer said that when they dug more deeply into the issue, they discovered that they had paid more for those coins than anybody else in recorded history. They said that they had been deceived about the value of the coins, and that when they tried to liquidate the coins through Blanchard instead, they were given a terrible sellback price.
When the customer brought all of this up to the management at Blanchard, they were just told that they should buy more coins that would do well within the next decade.
The company owner responded to say that he had been working with the customer for a year to help with recovering funds from the disastrous auction. He added that the customer had purchased coins almost 300 times over the years without issue, and that Blanchard had normal margins for their markups.
He further stated that the reason that Blanchard had encouraged the auction was because the customer was more likely to get a high bid that way. Collectible coins tend to sell for more at auction than bullion does.
The customer wanted to be reimbursed for the full amount that they paid for the coins at the time of purchase. Blanchard believed that this was not a viable solution. Instead, they made the following offer:
According to Blanchard, the customer refused this offer and would not budge on the refund.
The customer responded to say that he was unsatisfied. He repeated his complaint about the coins being sold as a "set," and further reiterated that he believed that Blanchard Gold partook in malicious and predatory pricing. He said that he was not informed about the markup of the coins before they were sold.
Blanchard said that they'd offered two solutions and done everything they could. They further added that they have worked with over 400,000 clients over the span of 40 years, and that the customer's allegations were not true.
Doubled Spot Price
In July of 2021, a customer left a review about a purchase they had made 12 years prior. They said that their biggest mistake was failing to do their own research, so they were warning others to research gold prices before accepting any offers from Blanchard.
The sales representative that the person spoke to said that the company's price was competitive. She also said that the gold would certainly grow in value over the next few years.
One of the examples that the customer gave was paying over $2,500 for a gold coin that was actually worth $937. The company basically doubled the spot price. The customer said that they believed that Blanchard either had a very optimistic view of the market, or Blanchard's representatives were just saying whatever was necessary to close a deal.
The customer concluded by saying that if they'd paid a fair price for the gold, they would have gained more than $5,000 in profit twelve years later. But as the situation stood, they were just barely breaking even. They believed that a large amount of the sale price had been funneled into a commission.
Refusal for Refund
One review was written in October of 2020. The customer said that Blanchard made a concerted effort to get her money as smoothly as possible. But then they were extremely slow about issuing a refund.
The customer had sent a bank wire transfer to pay for several American Eagle coins. At the time, the customer sent some extra money as a safeguard against potential fluctuations in the item's spot price. Since she had paid in excess, she wanted a refund for the amount overpaid.
Apparently every time she called the company, she would be given an excuse and a promise that the refund would be coming soon. But the company never actually made any effort to send out the refund.
Accused of Defrauding the Elderly
One reviewer made a very serious claim that the company was trying to purposefully defraud the elderly. She was writing in February of 2020 on behalf of her elderly husband. Her husband made a purchase, and she tried to use the buyback program to sell it back. But the buyback offer was significantly less than what her husband had paid.
The reviewer went on to say that her husband had been talked into investing in rare collectible coins. He had purchased them at an extreme markup because he was told that they would grow in value. But when his wife tried to sell the coins to a collector, she couldn't find anyone who would offer over $300 for a purchase that had cost more than $2,000.
There's no substantial proof here that the company made a concerted effort to confuse an elderly man. However, the pattern does track with what other people have said about the inflated coin prices and baseless salesmanship guarantees.
In May of 2019, one customer wrote a 2 star review. He stated that he had made an attempt to sell his coins back to Blanchard after multiple years had gone by. He agreed to the quote he was given. A company representative said that a check would be mailed out.
Three weeks after that, there had been no check in the mail. The customer then called the company. A representative on the phone took responsibility and offered to directly wire transfer the bank funds.
Three days went by and there was no transfer. The customer called again. He was treated rather rudely by the representative. Eventually the bank wire transfer went through, but there was a $35 charge that the customer had not been informed about.
The customer added that he had been buying from Blanchard for years. He said that he had always had honest dealings prior to this, but that he would not ever work with this particular representative again.
Pros & Cons of Blanchard Gold
Blanchard Gold is one of the oldest precious metals dealers in the US. It is also one of the most well established. Over the past four decades, Blanchard Gold has served over 400,000 customers all over the nation. They sell a variety of different precious metals items and numismatic collectibles.
There's no denying that this is a legitimate business with an impressive history. On the surface, everything seems excellent. They have a good reputation. But there are some major red flags that you should be aware of.
Despite serving over 400,000 people, it's very difficult to find reviews of the company online. And nearly all of the online customer feedback is extremely negative. A lot of it comes from people who had worked with Blanchard for 10 to 20 years, only to discover that they'd been sold precious metals for much greater than their actual worth.
Customers say that they were given false promises about the future value of certain collectible coins. They also say that they were sold gold coins for more than double the spot price of the day, without ever being informed that there was a commission markup.
It's a good idea to do research on the current prices of gold and silver before you make any precious metals purchases. But when a company has so much consistent feedback accusing them of exorbitant markups, it's a good idea to steer clear of them altogether.
There are other precious metals dealers that have many of the same services as Blanchard Gold, while also retaining the positive feedback of their customers.
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