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There are dozens of gold IRA companies throughout the US. By utilizing their services, you can roll your retirement funds over into precious metals. But some are better than others. Though American Hartford Gold is a popular option with celebrity endorsements, are they actually worth working with? What should you know about their services before you get started?
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About American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold has been operating out of Los Angeles, California for several years. This family operated business helps individuals invest in precious metals, either for their IRAs or their personal investment accounts. There are multiple coins and bars available in platinum, gold, and silver.
According to the company, one of the ways that they improve client security is by using "safe haven" assets. These assets are made up of silver and gold coins with the best value for their weight. The company states that they strive to make sure that every single client is satisfied.
For the most part, their positive reviews seem to reflect this. Most customers state that they are extremely satisfied. Even when customers have had issues, they say that the customer service team was helpful. There are a few exceptions on the BBB website, but these are outnumbered by the number of positive reviews.
The company is endorsed by political commentator Bill O'Reilly. There is also a large amount of educational information available through the website. They want customers to learn more about the precious metals industry and the pros and cons of investment.
Another aspect of the company is their buyback commitment. When you are ready to liquidate your metals, you can contact American Hartford Gold directly. They will give you a quote for your metals that is likely higher than what you'll find with other companies.
There is no legal promise that your metals will be repurchased. However, the company doesn't charge extra for liquidation, and the liquidation procedure takes only three steps.
Products and Services
The company's main specialty is selling platinum, gold, and silver that's eligible for an IRA. There are strict IRS regulations regarding what precious metals can be held in a retirement account. When you open a gold IRA, you want to make sure that you're purchasing the correct items.
If you invest for a personal portfolio rather than a retirement account, you can have the metals delivered to your home. If you do invest in an IRA, you legally must have your items shipped and stored at an accredited depository.
With the company's precious metals IRA services, you will open a new precious metals retirement account with a licensed custodian. They will walk you through the paperwork to roll over your retirement funds. Then you can use those funds to buy precious metals through American Hartford Gold's marketplace.
When you browse the items available online, you'll find coins created by the sovereign mints in nations like:
Unfortunately, there isn't any pricing provided online. Some precious metals dealers do have online pricing, using formulas that update as the cost of precious metals does. But if you want to purchase precious metals from American Hartford Gold, you need to contact a sales representative to get a quote.
This can be a little frustrating if you want to just quickly check out online. It may also make it difficult to check the prices of precious metals against the spot price. It's important to research every precious metals purchase before you make it, so you know exactly what kind of deal you're getting.
American Hartford Gold does indicate that there aren't any extra fees to set up an IRA with them. Most other gold IRA companies have some kind of flat setup fee. In addition, all shipments of precious metals to the depository are free. These packages are always given tracking numbers and insurance.
There is very little information about the cost of account maintenance. Usually storage and maintenance costs are calculated based on a percentage of your holdings. But flat fees are more ideal, since they don't punish you for gaining more funds.
Is American Hartford Gold a Scam?
American Hartford Gold is definitely not a scam. In addition to being accredited with the Better Business Bureau, the company has received excellent customer reviews across multiple third party websites. The BBB website gives 4.92 out of 5 stars based on 220 ratings, and Trustpilot gives 4.9 stars based on over a thousand reviews.
American Hartford Gold is one of the biggest gold dealerships in the country. As such, they have garnered a handful of complaints with the BBB. This is to be expected with any company that has thousands of customers. In comparison to the thousands of reviews, there are 23 complaints over three years. Thirteen of those complaints are from the prior year.
It helps to look at the complaints against a company to see how they respond. Since American Hartford Gold maintains an A+ rating with the BBB, this indicates that they read and respond to every complaint. You can learn a lot about a company by seeing their negative feedback and how they handle it.
We can't look at every single complaint that has ever been left about American Hartford Gold. But we can look at some of the most recent complaints displayed on the BBB website. This will give us a sense of how the company deals with issues most recently. If they have ever undergone management changes to address prior problems, that should be evident here.
Alleged Bait and Switch
One complaint from January of 2022 alleges that the company participated in a bait and switch tactic. The customer had worked with several different employees in order to finalize the sale of some silver and gold coins.
After placing the order, the customer was told that the 1 ounce gold coins were out of stock. Instead, they were sold 1/4th ounce coins at a much higher price than they were worth. The customer said that the company quoted them the cost of a tube of 20 rather than the cost of a single coin.
They stated that they regretted trusting the company to be honest. In the end, they paid much more per ounce of gold than they had been quoted with their original purchase. When they called the company to complain, the representative said that this must just be the gold they had available at the time.
But apparently the price quoted on the purchase proposal sheet was lower than what the customer had paid. If the customer had been charged at that price, then the company would actually owe them almost 4 more gold coins.
The company responded to say that the customer had gotten in contact with them after posting the complaint. He said that he had posted impulsively and that he actually was satisfied with the purchase.
Supposedly, the customer was going to contact the BBB to have the review removed. However, it is still up as of writing. The customer has never written to confirm whether or not he was satisfied with the resolution.
Apprehension About Trading
One customer left a review in September of 2021 stating that he had rolled over his retirement funds into precious metals by using Hartford Gold Group's services. At the start, he was apprehensive about the trade. He asked multiple questions during the process, but the company told him to accept the trade so that he wouldn't lose his quoted prices.
He was told that if he signed the ticket, the company would be able to start over and make sure he got the prices he wanted. Then he said that he was concerned about the premiums being charged. The Gold Buffalo coins he bought seemed to be priced too high for 1/4th ounce sizing.
The company brushed off the customer's concerns by saying that he was already profiting. At the time, the spot price had only gone up $10, a mere fraction of what he'd paid. One of the managers at the company promised the customer that they would redo the ticket if he was unsatisfied.
Finally, the man was told to wait to receive a call from American Hartford Gold. But no call ever came. In addition, he had been promised some kind of bonus metal for signing up. He felt that he had been misled, and he wanted either a refund or to be allowed to choose his own metals more freely.
The company responded a few weeks later to say that they had been working closely with the customer in private. The customer had said that he was satisfied with the customer service, and that he wanted the BBB to take down the complaint. However, the complaint is still listed on the BBB website as of writing.
One customer left a review in July of 2021 regarding a purchase they'd made at the end of April. They had used the company's IRA services to roll over their funds and purchase precious metals. The funds for the account were confirmed as being received on April 30.
The customer then signed a contract with American Hartford Gold and selected his precious metals. The trade was locked in. A depository in Texas was supposed to receive the metals. However, more than two months passed without the metals ever being delivered.
The customer called to find out what the issue was, and was told that supply chain issues with COVID-19 had caused the problem. It's true that COVID-19 had been causing major industry disruptions throughout almost every economic sector, not just the precious metals market.
However, the customer did not believe that this excuse was legitimate. They said that when they first made the purchase, they were told that the items would ship within four weeks. Barely any of the silver had shipped out in the two months since. In addition, the customer did not have any proof that the silver had actually made it to the depository.
The customer said that the account was being managed by Equity Trust Company. They wanted to have their IRA funds transferred back to their prior custodian and for the order to be cancelled.
There was a resolution several weeks later. The customer noted that they had received several messages promising that the metals were finally being shipped out. They were waiting to receive proof that the metals had actually reached the storage company.
The customer said that even though they had received a resolution, they gave the company a low overall rating. They'd been unable to get any company response or concrete action until they filed the complaint and threatened legal action.
American Hartford Gold never publicly responded to this. It is probably true that they were dealing with supply issues, but the level of dissatisfaction from this customer is concerning.
Issues with Advertising
At some point, American Hartford Gold was running a promotion promising a free silver coin to anyone who inquired about buying gold. The customer supposedly didn't need to make an actual purchase, just to inquire about one. This customer left a poor review in February of 2021 because he had inquired about buying bullion but never received a coin.
The customer said that he believed he had been falsely advertised to. He wanted American Hartford Gold to discontinue their advertising campaign.
American Hartford Gold responded three weeks later to say that they had made an attempt to resolve the problem with the customer. They said the issue seemed to be a misunderstanding. Originally, the customer had asked about the free dime, and he'd been told that an email would be sent to him.
Once the email form was filled out, the dime would be sent within six weeks. But the day after being told this, the customer filed the BBB complaint. Though the customer had then told the company that he was no longer interested in the dime, they were still interested in sending it.
The customer replied to say that he had asked about purchasing a certain amount of gold bullion over time in monthly installments. But before he committed to the purchase, he wanted to make sure that American Hartford Gold was honest. That was why he asked about the silver dime.
Since he believed that the company had not committed to their promise, he said that he was going to take his business elsewhere. He did say that he was satisfied with the resolution and that he did not expect to receive the dime.
Pros & Cons of American Hartford Gold
For the most part, American Hartford Gold is a good company. They have mostly positive reviews online, and they've resolved most complaints made against them. However, there have been a few complaints that customers remained unsatisfied with. The most common recurring theme is customers saying that they were frustrated by the customer service team.
Still, the company has received much more praise for its customer service. It is also endorsed by commentators like Bill O'Reilly. While many precious metals companies seek celebrity endorsements, Bill O'Reilly is a big enough name in the conservative world to turn heads.
American Hartford Gold is family owned and offers a variety of different services. Among these are gold IRA services. One important note, however, is that their gold IRA services are not as extensive as with some other companies. In addition, a few companies have complained about frustration with the gold IRA process.
Overall, there's no real reason not to work with American Hartford Gold. Though a few customers have reported frustration, they are far outnumbered by customers who praise the company. However, we do believe that the company is somewhat overshadowed by competitors with more streamlined IRA processes.
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Even if you aren't ready to invest right now, it would be smart to learn how you can use precious metals to get major tax advantages & retirement savings benefits so that you can plan for the future! And if you are ready to invest, you may as well get some free silver with your investment!