Westminster Mint is one of the oldest online bullion dealers in the industry, with more than two decades in the business. It is also favored by people all over the US because of the company's many advertised sales and deals. But are those deals too good to be true? Are the practices legitimate?
We've taken a look at everything that you should know about Westminster Mint before investing.
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About Westminster Mint
Westminster Mint first went online in 2001 with the goal of selling people bullion. They said that their goal was to give people a dependable way to buy precious metals for low prices and have them shipped quickly and reliably to their homes.
Westminster Mint has a very large inventory made up of rounds, bars, and coins. They sell platinum, silver, and gold. The company has been in the industry for long enough to gain a reputation, and they have an active presence in almost every part of the collectible numismatics market.
Just a few of the types of collectible coin they offer include:
The company's team of numismatic experts are able to explain the history of each item in the collection. Every customer is given one-on-one service. If there's any particular collectible coin that you want, one of the experts at Westminster Mint will do their best to source it for you.
Westminster Mint sometimes offers exclusive deals with celebrities or highly respected numismatists. For example, they are the only company to sell Morgan Dollars that have been signed by Kenneth Bressett. Every coin is labeled with a Numismatic Guaranty Corporation label that has Kenneth Bressett's personal signature.
Westminster Mint also sells its own branded silver bars. These bullion bars are minted using .999 fine silver, one of the finest qualities in the world. The bars are all smelted in the US using silver that was mined in the US. They're an ideal investment for people who prefer American made products. Every one is stamped with the item's total purity and weight.
About Ian Clay
The president of Westminster Mint is a man named Ian Clay. Ian has been named a Lifetime Member with the American Numismatic Association. His company is accredited with the BBB and has been licensed by Minnesota to sell bullion. Minnesota is the only state that requires bullion dealers to have a special license.
Ian wrote a book called Modern Coin Rarities 1986-2016. This book is used to identify several dozen of the most collectible and important rare coins over three decades. Organizations like PCGS and NGC are able to authorize and grade the coins listed in the book. They even have special labels that certify if a coin was listed in Modern Coin Rarities.
These special labels are sought after by collectors because they add another dimension to the collectability. The foreword for the book was written by Michael Castle, who served two terms as the Governor of Delaware.
Payment and Shipping
The company makes its payment and shipping policies available through the website.
There are several different methods that you can use to pay for your order. However, they do have some caveats.
If you pay with your debit or credit card, there is an order limit of $25,000. If you are a new customer, it's possible that they will need to verify your card with a form of ID as well.
If you pay with a personal check, there is an order limit of $50,000. This may appeal to people who want to place larger orders without doing a wire transfer. The company requires that the check payment is received within 10 days of the order being placed.
You can also pay using a bank wire transfer. There is no limit for wire transfers listed on the website. The transfer must be conducted within 48 hours after you confirm the order.
If you don't complete your payment in the appropriate time frame after confirming your order, your order will be cancelled. You will also be subject to market loss recuperation. That means that if the price of precious metals has fallen since you placed the order, Westminster Mint will keep the difference.
This is a fairly standard policy for precious metals dealers. It helps them protect themselves against potential losses.
The majority of orders placed with Westminster Mint are said to ship within 3 days. However, there have been some complaints from customers who said that their orders did not ship for several weeks. If you pay for your items with a credit card, your package must be sent to a physical address rather than a post office box.
The company asks customers to allow 15 business days for packages to be delivered. Also, when you pay by check, your check will be held for 10 days before the order is shipped.
Any order over $100 will ship insured and will need a signature upon delivery.
Is Westminster Mint a Scam?
Westminster Mint is not a scam. The company is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating with the organization. There is no doubt that the company provides the services that they claim to.
However, they aren't necessarily the best company to work with. On the BBB website, their customer rating is less than 3 out of 5 stars, indicating that many customers had a very negative experience. In addition, there have been 12 total complaints filed, three of which were filed in the prior twelve months.
Let's take a look at what the most recent complaints had to say.
On the BBB website, the vast majority of the filed complaints have been related to issues with a service or product. There are also two complaints about delivery problems, one complaint about advertising, and one complaint about billing.
Not all of the complaints are displayed on the BBB website. It seems that none of the complaints filed within the last twelve months are on display. But we can look at some of the ones that are available.
Infinitely Delayed Order
One complaint was filed on March 9 of 2020. The customer said that back in January, they had placed an order for several 2020 silver coins. It was the "Roaring Twenties" package that was advertised by the company. The customer said that they had paid about $100 not including tax. They had used their debit card, and they were then given a confirmation number.
But the order never shipped. The customer called the company multiple times to ask why there was such a long delay. However, the customer service team wouldn't give any satisfactory responses. Eventually, the customer was so frustrated that they chose to cancel the order.
The company accepted the cancellation and said that the customer's money would be refunded. However, no action had been taken by the seller for weeks. The customer said that the overall communication was poor.
The company responded to say that the customer had ordered a package that is usually in stock. It should have shipped the day after the order was placed. But the card that the customer used for the order was declined. The company had contacted the customer without receiving any reply.
They went on to say that the order had never been validly placed, and no funds had ever been withdrawn. As such, there was no way for them to refund or cancel the process. The company said that the customer was no longer welcome to do business with them and that they had been placed on a no contact list.
Charged for the Wrong Item
Another customer filed a complaint in March of 2020 because they had been charged for the wrong item. They placed an order at the end of February for the National Treasures Collection, which cost about $100. When the customer called, the sales representative tried to sell them an American Eagle coin instead.
The customer repeatedly refused to buy the American Eagle coin and insisted that all they wanted was the package from the ad. But when their package arrived, it had the American Eagle coin instead of the items that they ordered. To make matters worse, they had been charged $120 for the coin, instead of the $100 that they intended to spend.
The customer called the company right away to say that there had been a mistake. They were told that they needed to speak with the sales representative from before. The customer left a message for that sales rep but never got a reply. The American Eagle coin had been priced double what it was actually worth.
The company responded to say that they had resolved the problem with the customer. They were allowing the customer to keep the American Eagle coin at no charge, and they were sending the items that were originally ordered as well.
More Than 20 Phone Calls
One customer filed a complaint at the end of October of 2019. They said that at the beginning of September, they had purchased a gold coin. It was sold by a representative at the Westminster Mint. The customer was told that the item would ship within about two weeks.
More than seven weeks had gone by as of when they filed their complaint. They said that they had never been given a tracking number or any notification that the package had shipped. The customer had called the company over 20 different times and spoken to four different representatives without receiving any information.
Apparently the customer was told that there was a problem with the company's security system. While it was down, no coins could be shipped. But the customer received a different coin through the mail from the mint, rather than the one they ordered. They said that they had the receipt and the confirmation of the order from the company.
Westminster Mint replied to say that they were apologetic for how they hadn't sent the coin in a timely manner. They said that there were circumstances beyond their control. The customer was given a full refund and was also allowed to keep the incorrect coins that were sent through the mail.
The customer responded to say that they were satisfied with the resolution and that the complaint could be closed.
Pros & Cons of Westminister Mint
Westminster Mint is one of the oldest online coin dealers in the industry. When they were established in 2001, most Americans didn't yet have a home computer! But unfortunately, they don't seem to have kept up with the times.
People often buy from Westminster Mint because of their popular advertising campaigns. They have campaigns in which they'll offer a large number of silver and gold coins for extremely low prices. But people have reported that when they call about the deals, the sales representatives instead offer much more overpriced alternatives.
Their deals are good, if you can avoid the pushy sales reps. But customers have reported that they've been sent the wrong products in the past. There have also been complaints about long delays and poor communication from the company.
It seems like it's difficult to get a hold of company management. People have reported leaving messages for sales reps without ever getting a call back. Though the company has issued refunds and allowed customers to keep the incorrect products they were sent, the customers shouldn't need to file a complaint for this to happen.
Overall, we can't recommend this company. Their advertised deals may seem too good to be true, and that's because you might have trouble getting past the sales reps to actually claim them. There are other precious metals dealers that have much more transparent policies with regards to their inventory and salesmanship. It's a better idea to work with one of those instead.
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