Here’s the catch: Many customers across the United States are financially struggling after losing significant amounts of money in precious metals investments. Promises of high returns, covered fees, and little or no mention of the risk involved in investing led many seniors to trust Metals.com as their precious metals broker. For several of the investors, the losses they experienced serve as a stark reminder that all that glitters isn’t gold.
Metals.com, a TMTE, Inc. company, based in Southern California, has left many enraged and reaching out to their regulators for help. Nine states so far have taken action against the company after receiving complaints from seniors alleging fraud and misrepresentation. Many of these older individuals lost their entire retirement funds after being convinced to liquidate their securities and invest in precious metals.
Tom (not his real name) was solicited by Metals.com and convinced to invest his life’s savings into a silver coin self-directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA). According to his complaint, Tom transferred the cash value of his IRA, $180,000, to invest in coins that would be controlled by a custodian trust company. The account would acquire value in excess of standard interest and Tom would only pay taxes based on the “melt” value of the coins. Instead of making money on his investment, Tom soon found his investment had declined from $180,000 to less than $50,000. When he tried to reach his Metals.com representative, he received the runaround, excuses, and, eventually, silence. Metals.com ignored his complaint.
A concerned daughter filed a complaint on behalf of her elderly father who lost $250,000. The salesperson coerced the senior to invest in precious metals, promising high returns which never materialized. After trying repeatedly to reach someone at Metals.com to help her father, she filed a complaint with BCA. She relayed how her father and others had been preyed on by Metals.com and how her father was now left with no money to pay for medical care, living expenses, or future assisted living costs. The company surprisingly responded to this complaint, although the reply was that she was not their client.
Sadly, these are not isolated incidents. Metals.com, also known as Chase Metals, Access Unlimited, and, most recently, Stuttgart Industrial, has an F rating with Business Consumer Alliance and has several unanswered complaints. The company is the subject of at least nine regulatory actions in Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Massachusetts , Arkansas and Nevada. Take a look at some of the actions and you will see similar stories from Metals.com customers who were defrauded by the company. Customers fall for high-pressure sales pitches and invest in risky precious metals investments in hopes of receiving significant returns. In many cases, the risks are not disclosed, the value of the coins sold is far less than the purchase price, and even the buyback options are not satisfactory. Customers have often been offered buyback prices far less then what they paid for the coins.
Kim’s Advice: Before you make any investment decision, do as much research as you can. If you are considering buying gold stocks and funds, bullion and bullion coins, or collectible coins, seek the advice of a professional and learn the risks before taking any action. Your financial future may depend on it.
Here are a few tips to consider:
- If you are buying bullion coins or collectible coins, ask for the coin’s melt value, which should be available.
- Choose a reputable dealer or financial advisor that has specialized knowledge.
- Contact your state securities regulator to describe the investment and get information on who to contact regarding the investment.
- Search online for the business name, using words like "review", "complaint", "lawsuit" or "enforcement". This can reveal much information about the business and potential problems.
- Obtain your own independent appraisal of the specific product you're considering. The seller's appraisal might be inflated.
- When considering investing, think about the additional cost for items such as insurance, a safe deposit box, or offsite storage rental, to safeguard bullion, etc. These costs will cut into the investment potential.
- Avoid high-pressure sales tactics and walk away from sales pitches that minimize risk of investing. Any reputable dealer or seller will be up-front about the risks.
- Always get a receipt for your transaction.
If you know of an investment scheme, a scam, or if you have a problem with a company, contact BCA to file a complaint. You can also contact your state securities regulator, the Federal Trade Commission, and your state attorney general to file a complaint.