Monex Precious Metals is a family-owned precious metals business. It was founded nearly 50 years ago by a man who still runs it today. While there's no question that this is a national business with a long history, some shadows have been cast over it recently. Negative reviews and a government action have clouded the company's reputation.
So what exactly happened? Are the negative reviews justified? And was the government action actually related to anything serious?
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About Monex Precious Metals
Monex Precious Metals presents itself as one of the most long-lived, trustworthy precious metals dealers in the market. Their website has a lot of good content that walks the walk, too. But when you search any third party site for the experiences of past customers, you find a cacophony of negative feedback.
You can purchase precious metals from them online or in person at their retail location. There are a few other services provided as well. The biggest one is that you can sell your precious metals to the company.
Selling Precious Metals
Not every precious metals dealer allows people to sell their precious metals right off the street. Some have buyback programs for prior customers. But Monex allows you to sell your items without any hassle.
This would be great, if not for the poor customer feedback. People say that it's difficult to get the customer service representatives to take them seriously. They also say that they're given unfair price quotes that are much lower than the spot price. That goes hand in hand with complaints that the company sells products at a huge markup for a massive profit.
All the same, the process of liquidating your metals with Monex is simple. You'll just follow these steps:
There are some companies that post their purchase quotes directly online. These update in real time, so you can check them against the spot price and determine whether you think the offer is worth it. With these companies, you don't even have to make a call like you do with Monex.
Is Monex Precious Metals a Scam?
Now you might be wondering whether Monex Precious Metals is a scam.
Well. One thing that we can say is that it's amazing the company is still in business.
It's difficult to call the company a scam in its entirety. To be a scam, you have to be offering false services. It does seem like Monex Precious Metals is a gold dealer that provides the services they claim to. So in that respect, the company is not a scam.
But there are some extremely alarming facts.
Let's start with the government action taken. Almost all of the reviews of the company online are vehemently negative. But lots of companies have negative reviews, and not many of them have government sanctions placed upon them.
The action was taken by the CFTC in July of 2021. It was an injunction against Louis Carabini, the company owner, which compelled him to take action. This was the final result of allegations saying that he defrauded his clients out of millions upon millions of dollars.
That's not all that the action settles. Let's examine the allegations one point at a time:
Now, it looks like there was never any proof of the mass defrauding. If that were the case, then the injunction would involve paying restitution. It might also have come with criminal prosecution.
However, Louis Carabini was forced to shut down the Atlas program. This was apparently the source of all of the allegations. With the Atlas program, people were trading precious metals on an individual basis. But all of the transactions were off-book and unregistered with the SEC.
It appears that the Atlas program was running illegally for the entirety of its use. There's no further detail on how people were defrauded. It's possible that some of them never received the metals they paid for, or that the transaction was not considered legitimate because it happened off the books.
Since the Atlas program was not shut down until the government ordered it, we can safely assume that Louis Carabini did not want to remove the platform. It also seems that he did not want to make it compliant with US trade regulations, either.
So he has never been found guilty of scamming or defrauding people, on either a civil or criminal level. But the government has said that his trading program operated illegally, that the trades were illegal, and that money exchanged hands that shouldn't have.
That's probably enough to warn you off this company, but let's look at some of the poor reviews.
It would be impossible to go through every single negative review of the company online. Instead, let's look at the general character.
Sometimes companies will have mixed reviews online. Some customers will say their experience was great, while others will complain about poor service or slow shipping. When mixed reviews become a pattern, they often point to an issue with the company management.
Monex Precious Metals doesn't have mixed reviews. In fact, it's difficult to find a single positive review amidst a sea of rage.
Take their Better Business Bureau page, for example. They have an A- rating because of the government action, and they aren't accredited. Four complaints have been filed publicly in the past three years. Four customer reviews have been written. Every single one of those has 1 out of 5 stars.
You can find the company's most positive online presence on Yelp. There, they have 2.5 out of 5 stars with 27 total reviews. While that is an abysmal score, it at least shows that a few people seem to have had average-to-positive experiences.
Consumer Affairs gives Monex a rating of 1.1 stars with 13 votes, meaning that almost every single reviewer used the lowest rating possible.
Amazingly, not all of the reviews are related to the Atlas program. In fact, very few of them are. Some of the complaints that customers have include:
Pros & Cons of Monex Precious Metals
Was learning about Monex Precious Metals as much of an adventure for you as it was for us?
There's basically nothing positive to be said about this company. The one good thing is that it is family owned and run by three generations. But if you want to support family owned small businesses, there are other precious metals dealers that haven't been accused of defrauding thousands of people.
The government settlement indicated that Monex Precious Metals was operating its Atlas trading platform illegally. But they were never able to prove that there was a malicious intent to defraud. Even so, multiple customers have said they lost almost all of their retirement or life savings to this company.
It's amazing that the business is still operational after being sanctioned for fraud and off-the-books trades.
That's without even getting into the negative reviews. It seems like everything that can go wrong will go wrong. People have mentioned pushy salespeople, rude owners, confusing conversations, hidden fees, and misleading rhetoric. They've mentioned getting low-quality products and being ignored when they asked for a refund.
Basically, it sounds like every bad policy that a precious metals dealer can possibly have is at play here. The salespeople work on commission and are desperate to push products off on people. The staff confuse and overcharge new investors instead of educating them. The products are poor quality and no one cares.
All of these things are alleged, of course. But so many people have brought up the same issues. And so few people have had anything positive to say about their experiences.
So of course you shouldn't purchase precious metals here. Your best bet is to find a precious metals dealer that not only hasn't been subject to government sanctions, but also has positive customer feedback. It's not actually that hard to do!
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