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roundhouse

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Reply with quote  #1 
Knowing about all this with BD started with wanting to purchase some more silver when Greece and China were in trouble. I figured metals would fall for all the sales to fill debts. At first I thought BD had stopped trading because of the Stock Exchange "computer glitch" (very convenient).  Then when I got on the forum I realized what was going on.

So now where do we go to purchase physical metal?  Gotta be something better than my local bank or a coin store.
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JG

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Reply with quote  #2 
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundhouse
So now where do we go to purchase physical metal?  Gotta be something better than my local bank or a coin store.


You can look at http://BullionDealerData.com to see the research I did last September or so on a number of bullion dealers.

For online purchases, the one I would feel safest with is Apmex, as [1] they have a very good corporate structure making it hard for there to be financial problems without several in management knowing, and [2] they always seem to ship very quickly (slow delivery can either be normal, or a big red flag, depending on the company).

That said, there are some other good bullion dealers out there. If it were me, I would go with one that usually ships within no more than 2-3 business days after receiving good funds. The "Shipping Data" forum here is designed to help show how quickly dealers are shipping (but was just recently added, so it has almost no data so far). My ultimate goal is a database where people can easily add information on their orders, which could easily generate reports showing how quickly you could expect your metal, and any patterns of slowing deliveries. I doubt I'll ever get there, but want to!

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igillman

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Reply with quote  #3 
I have used both APMEX and JM Bullion recently without any hassles. I use APMEX as my main supplier because they deliver without requiring a signature (JM Bullion requires one) and it is more convenient for me to not have to wait for the mailman.
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roundhouse

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you for the recommendations.
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BDistheBestest

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Reply with quote  #5 
There are many good options out there.  If you are looking for the most reputable dealers (but also are willing to pay more), GoldSilver.com, Miles Franklin, or the Hard Assets Alliance (which includes a number of dealers - http://www.hardassetsalliance.com) would be your best bet.

If you want the best price, Gainesville Coins or SD Bullion appear to be the cheapest.  I have bought from the following dealers and had no problems:

Liberty Coin & Precious Metals
Gainesville Coins
APMEX
GoldSilver.com

Also, the dealers listed at http://www.comparegoldprices.com or http://www.comparesilverprices.com should all be reputable.  It's a real shame that companies like Bullion Direct give bullion dealers a bad name, because the vast majority of them are honest businesses.
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JG

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDistheBestest
It's a real shame that companies like Bullion Direct give bullion dealers a bad name, because the vast majority of them are honest businesses.


Well, that's the problem -- Bullion Direct and Tulving were very reputable businesses, both for 15+ years. To me, that means that most bullion dealers can end up with financial problems, and the key is detecting them in advance.

That's why I would love to put together a database letting people keep track of how long orders are taking from various dealers. It would be much, much easier to spot financial problems like Tulving and Bullion Direct that way.

Few people are going to complain if it takes 2-3 weeks to get their order (unless they are promised otherwise). But if a dealer ships in 2-3 days, then a month later is taking 1-2 weeks, and a month after is taking 2-3 weeks, there is a problem brewing.


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dreamer

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Reply with quote  #7 
JD, I don't know but that scheme takes way too much time. If you expect an order to take 2-3 days and 2-3 weeks go by with no response, a whole lot of money can go down the tube, and more before you can stop it. We need something with a quicker stopper and I hope you can think of something because I can't. How about a nucleo arrangement with the company on one side and the buyer on the other. But I don't think they would go for that.
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tboll

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Reply with quote  #8 
Perhaps generating a database of all vendor's delivery times is a bit too ambitious?  Another approach could be to instead solicit the names and delivery times for any/all vendors that take LONGER than 1 week AFTER PAYMENT CLEARS.  This way, you might be able to get a heads up on only the vendors having problems AS the problems are occurring (and the number of people logging in over a week to deliver may indicate the extent and widespreadness of the problem.)

Even that, though, would likely be too much to hope for because not enough people would know to report to your site when they start experiencing problems.  The method does work, though.  If one had been lucky enough to happen upon the BBB early this year, they would have gotten an advance warning on BD.  I don't know when it all started, but in early April I noticed that although BD had a rating of a B or B+ (something like that) it had a total of 33 complaints and 30 were in the last 12 months.  I don't know why the BBB couldn't (or didn't) put BD on probation or lower it's rating more quickly than it did.  I guess not all businesses go under in 2 months after they get 30 complaints in a year?  In any case, the consistent and increasing delay definitely was a tip off of problems they were having.  Who knows, maybe the delays in years past with BD were very, very early indicators that things weren't quite as they seemed.  In any case, perhaps when it comes to PM dealers, once you experience a delay, regardless of the reason/excuse, maybe a red flag should go up and you should start browsing for a new vendor.  And for gosh sake, don't  ever get sucked into that "hey, we'll hold your gold/silver for FREE" scam again.
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JG

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer
JD, I don't know but that scheme takes way too much time. If you expect an order to take 2-3 days and 2-3 weeks go by with no response, a whole lot of money can go down the tube, and more before you can stop it.


But a computer algorithm could detect the problems quickly.

If a dealer sends 30 orders a day, at 10% of them report to the database, that's 3 orders a day that would be tracked. Let's say the dealer ships all orders with 2-3 days, and is just scraping by. Each month they get just enough to pay the bills, but very little left over.

The owner knows that the price of gold is going to skyrocket soon (not "know" as in really knows, but "know" the way some are talking in other threads here). He sells his $500K of his $1M of inventory and places it in gold futures (the $500K buys say $5M of gold). The price of gold is flat for a few weeks. Then the price of gold plunges, and he gets a $250K margin call. He cannot make the margin call, so he takes the money from orders for a week to pay the debt.

At this point, the company is insolvent. But, the owner knows that this must be the last "price smash", and the price of gold will skyrocket any day now. So he keeps the long position, and starts sending out orders again. The company is still insolvent, but all goes normally except that all orders are delayed a week.

This process repeats a few times, until it takes 4-6 weeks to deliver orders, and customers start complaining, and the house of cards falls down. Customers are owed $1.5M.

With enough people reporting (that 3 a day I suggest above would be ample), the computer algorithm would see that no orders were being shipped out. Within a couple days, the problem is detected (perhaps sooner if tracking numbers are used rather than actual delivery). That's about 1 week of customers in trouble, rather than 6 weeks' worth of customers. A lot of people could be spared from having to deal with the aftermath, and whatever assets there may be would get distributed among fewer people, helping those owed money.

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Lars

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Reply with quote  #10 
My very first precious metals transaction was with APMEX, and there have been many more.  Customer service is top notch.  With very few exceptions, my dealings have been exclusively with Bullion Direct and APMEX.  You won't go wrong with APMEX.

I ordered some fractional gold from NWT mint once - 50 x 0.1 oz GAEs.  This was a few years ago.  They let you know up front that delivery would take awhile, but the wait was almost ridiculous.  I didn't order from them again.

One interesting source I've talked to that I haven't seen mentioned, and I ended up not trading with, is CMI.  They have fairly high minimums, so they're not for the little guy.  Look up their website to get the full picture.  I say "interesting" for a couple of reasons.  One, they only do business over the phone.  Two, they don't keep customer records!  I'll leave it to each individual to determine the implications of that.

Finally, and again this is back in 2006, the one time I called, I seem to remember that I didn't get some flunky on the other end of the line.  It was one of the partners, and again, if I remember correctly, I also was told that was standard procedure - you don't talk to a flunky when you call them.  The guy talked to me like we were old friends.  Asked me what I was interested in and how much I wanted to spend.  I told him I had about $35k, and was looking for 1 oz. gold coins.

When he heard that, and that's why I remember it was 2006, he said he could give me 1 oz. Perth Mint Lunar Series Year of the Dog gold coins for the same price as GAEs.  At the time, I was somewhat of a novice, and I didn't know too much about the Lunar Series.  I told him I'd think about it and call him back.  I didn't.  Yes, I'm a dumbass.  Anyway, just something else to consider.
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igillman

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Reply with quote  #11 
Just a a safety measure on my behalf the next time I get some spare money (which may be a while) I am going to limit my orders to $300 each and wait until the order actually arrives at my door before placing the next one. That way the most I can be out is $300 and I can live with that.
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plankton

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Reply with quote  #12 
And please keep a spreadsheet of serial numbers (if you purchase bars).
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