The United States Gold Bureau might sound like an official government entity, but it's not. This precious metals dealer has been operating in the US since 2003. They are among the largest precious metals dealers in the country. But is bigger always better?
According to some of the customer reviews, the answer is no. Here's what you should know about United States Gold Bureau before you decide whether to purchase their products.
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About United States Gold Bureau
The United States Gold Bureau was first formed in 2003. But it was only in 2008 that the current owners acquired the company. The parent company is Lone Star Tangible Assets, which is one of the biggest financial corporations in the world.
In fact, Lone Star Tangible Assets is so big that it was chosen by Texas to create and maintain the official Texas Depository. This is the only bullion depository in Texas that is compliant with IRS security regulations. Since the Texas Depository is operated by the Gold Bureau's parent company, they can get people access to vaults at competitive pricing.
Many of the US Gold Bureau's offerings come from other subsidiaries of Lone Star Tangible Assets. There are a variety of investment and financial companies that can help clients with building and refining their portfolios.
One example is their wholesale partner. If you're interested in buying bullion at wholesale prices, you can access those through the Wholesale Coins Direct subsidiary. That means that not only can individual investors purchase bullion, but owners of smaller precious metals businesses can also access the products.
Selling and Buyback
The company allows you to sell your precious metals. With many precious metals dealers, you have to call to get a price quote. But the US Gold Bureau lists all of the items they purchase on their website. Also on the website are their purchase offers, which update in real time as the market price of precious metals fluctuates.
That means that you can determine exactly how much you'll be making on your collection... before you even call to confirm the sale. This is one of the most transparent and convenient setups in the industry. For this reason, we can recommend working with the US Gold Bureau to sell your existing holdings.
Steps for Selling
There are three basic steps to the sale process.
The first step is to find the items that you're selling on the website. The 'Sell to Us' area has all of the listings and prices. If you're having trouble finding the exact item, you can check the company's Payouts Catalog for easier scanning.
You'll select the items that you have to make an inventory list. If you have multiple quantities of one item, you can adjust the number on the list. The company does note that the price estimations will fluctuate slightly based on the quantity of items you're selling.
The second step is to pack the items and ship them. After the order is confirmed, the company will send you a customized packing slip. You'll print it out and put it on your package.
The quoted payout is locked for 48 hours. But you must mail your package through FedEx within that time period. If you don't, then you might end up getting a lower offer due to potential market losses.
After the package gets to the company, all of the items will need to go through an authentication and verification process. The representatives will double check that the items are the quality that was stated. Then you'll be paid within the next five business days.
You can choose from several different payment options:
Most people opt for the bank wire transfer because it processes faster and gives you usable funds.
Buy Back Guarantee
The US Gold Bureau does guarantee that they'll purchase any products that you bought from them. If you aren't satisfied with their offer, they will help you to sell your metals to a different party. There is at least one buyback liquidation option on every item.
The company usually sends payments for bought-back purchases within about 72 hours. You can either have your account credited with funds, or you can receive a check.
You might consider the company's other buyback avenues if you want to get a range of different prices to choose from.
Is United States Gold Bureau a Scam?
The United States Gold Bureau is not a scam. They have been in business for almost 20 years and are a subsidiary of the well-known company Lone Star Tangible Assets. While they are not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, they do have an A+ rating with the organization.
However, there are some red flags to be aware of.
First, there are mixed reviews across quite a few websites. On the BBB website, the rating is 4.14 out of 5 stars, indicating mostly positive experiences. That is an average taken from 29 ratings. But on Trustpilot with 882 reviews, the average rating is 3.6 stars, indicating that a good portion of customers had very negative experiences.
Similarly, Consumer Affairs has extremely mixed reviews. There are 30 ratings in total, with an average of 2.9 out of 5 stars. With their breakdown of the ratings, there are about as many 5 star ratings as 4 star ones.
So it's clear that some customers have been very happy with their purchases. The company does provide the services that they claim to. But it's also clear that many people have not been satisfied with the service they received. When half of your reviewers are saying that they're unhappy, that points to a pattern of mismanagement.
On the BBB website, there have been 14 complaints filed within the past three years. Of those, 5 were filed within the last year. We can take a look at those to get a better sense of how the company operates.
We won't be able to detail every single complaint that was filed. But we can see what some of the most recent ones said.
Delayed Shipment with No Explanation
The most recent complaint was filed on December 1, 2021. The customer had ordered a gold American Eagle coin through the website on November 15. That afternoon, they were called by a company representative to get a confirmation of the order.
The customer said that this sales rep then made an attempt to convince them to buy more coins. They said that they refused the additional items but politely listened to the pitch. After the confirmation, the customer was given an invoice for the order. They paid using their debit card.
The price of the coin was deducted from the customer's checking account the day after the order was placed. But the package didn't ship for days. It was a full week later that the customer received a tracking number in their email. But to make matters worse, the tracking number didn't log any movement until November 30, because the package hadn't actually been shipped.
The customer was upset that they had fully paid for their order, but the company had waited two weeks to ship the package. They also stated that the company never tried to explain the situation. When the customer called to ask about the issue, they were told that the company was waiting for a courier to arrive and take the package.
The company responded to say that it had taken a week for the payment to process fully. When the funds did arrive, they released the order to be shipped. But because it was the peak of the holiday season, they were adhering to other protocols. They weren't allowed to send expensive packages through the mail on Thanksgiving weekend.
The order was shipped out as soon as the holiday was over, on November 30. It was scheduled to be at the customer's door by December 4. The company apologized for the inconvenience.
The customer responded and said that they were satisfied with the resolution.
A complaint filed in November of 2021 came from someone who was using one of the company's advertising promos. According to the promotion, the customer could buy a silver bar at the current spot price with no markup. But the customer checked their invoice and discovered that they'd been charged more than the spot price.
The customer gave the office a call, but they had just closed for the weekend. So instead they left two messages asking for a call back. Nobody called back come Monday, but the customer did get in contact with a representative on Monday afternoon.
Apparently the agent repeatedly told the customer that the charges were correct. The customer realized they wouldn't be given the promotional price, so they asked to cancel the order. It took 20 minutes and several more representatives before the customer was told that their order wouldn't be cancelled or adjusted.
The company responded to say that they had refunded the customer for the full price they'd paid. The customer said that the resolution was satisfactory. But they shouldn't have had to open a BBB complaint, especially after spending so much frustrating time on the phone.
Charged for Cancelled Order
One customer was charged more than $900 for an order that didn't even process. They checked out online and had put everything they wanted in the cart. But then they were told that the products were actually unavailable. This wouldn't have been an issue, except that then their card was charged for the order.
The customer was never given a confirmation email. Despite calling and speaking to multiple different representatives, nobody at the company seemed to be able to help. The customer had also sent three emails that had been ignored.
The company responded to say that they had processed a refund immediately upon receiving the complaint. But once again, this was a situation where the customer shouldn't have had to complain in order to be taken seriously.
Pros & Cons of United States Gold Bureau
The United States Gold Bureau seems like it should be one of the best bullion dealers on the market. In addition to a long history in the industry, they are owned by an extremely reputable financial asset conglomerate. And they do provide the services that they claim to.
But the customer reviews online speak for themselves. While about half are positive, the other half are extremely negative. Customers have reported having extremely frustrating experiences in which their calls were ignored, the company reps refused to help, and the company's promises were not honored.
For example, some customers have said that the company didn't honor its own promotional pricing. There have also been incidents in which clients had their cards charged, even though US Gold Bureau had cancelled their order on the company's end. Other customers reported waiting weeks for refunds or for their packages to ship.
Perhaps the most concerning thing is the pattern of company responses. Whenever a complaint is filed with the BBB, the company will respond within a day. Generally, they will give the customer a refund or otherwise rectify the issue. But it's only after the customer has tried for weeks to get a refund that the company finally acts.
That makes it seem like the United States Gold Bureau doesn't care much about their customer satisfaction unless it could have public consequences. Obviously there's no way to say that for sure, but we can't comfortably recommend a company with feedback like this.
A good company will work to resolve issues as soon as you report them. They won't subject their customers to the kind of frustration that the US Gold Bureau clients have described. There are plenty of options available in the industry that have much better feedback.
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