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APMEX is one of the most recognized precious metals dealers in the US. Otherwise known as American Precious Metals Exchange, the company has grown to be a multi-billion dollar corporation that employs over a hundred people. They have thousands of customers all over the globe.
But being the best known company doesn't necessarily mean being the best company. What do past customers have to say about APMEX? And what should you know about their services before getting started?
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APMEX is a precious metals dealer that has been headquartered in Oklahoma since 2000. Leveraging more than two decades in the business, APMEX is considered one of the forerunners of online precious metals dealers. There are over 100 full time employees and over 200 employees in total.
Over the years, the company has brokered deals of over 130 million ounces of gold and silver to customers in more than 60 customers. They have a business model based highly on online marketing and promotions.
The founder of APMEX is Scott Thomas, but Kenneth Lewis has operated as the company's CEO since 2015. Lewis brings over 20 years of experience in the industry to the table. He has overseen a great deal of the company's overall growth.
APMEX is part of the American Numismatic Association. It is also one of the few authorized distributors for gold, silver, and platinum from the US Mint. By working directly with the sovereign mint, they are able to cut out the middle man and sell their products for a lower price.
The company also has several initiatives to promote social responsibility. They are involved in their local community. One of their social initiatives is a charity program called Regional Food Bank. The goal is to help connect impoverished people with enough food to get by. The company works to encourage employees, volunteers, and other community members to support the needy in their area.
APMEX has some limited IRA services. Mainly, they have partnered with a number of different IRA custodians. Those custodians will help you set up and fund your account, and then APMEX will help you choose the items to purchase with those funds. Other gold IRA companies are much more streamlined.
Is APMEX a Scam?
On a broad level, APMEX does not appear to be a scam. Some of the customers say that they received the products they were supposed to. But the company has also been plagued with negative reviews across multiple third party platforms, indicating that at least half of their customers end their transactions unsatisfied.
Their highest customer rating is on the BBB website, where they have 4.02 out of 5 stars based on 204 reviews. However, there have also been 89 complaints against APMEX in the past three years. A whopping 32 of those were in the past year alone, meaning that more than a third of the issues occurred this year.
That alone points to some serious management issues. There are about half as many complaints as general reviews on the site. When you look at Sitejabber, the company has a 3.4 out of 5 star rating based on 25 reviews. Trustpilot has by far the most reviews, with over 7,750 available to view, and that website gives APMEX just 2.2 out of 5 stars.
Let that sink in. Literally thousands of people have written a one star review of this company. Even though it's extremely popular as a bullion dealer choice, customers don't seem to be happy with the results.
The BBB website also takes note of government action that has been leveled against the business. With bullion dealers, the most common legal issue involves the state of Minnesota. Minnesota is the only state that requires special licensing and registration to sell certain amounts of bullion. APMEX is alleged to have sold bullion above the state statute thresholds to Minnesota customers.
As part of the settlement with the government, APMEX agreed to stop selling to Minnesota customers without the proper licensing and registration. They also agreed to pay a civil fine to the state government. Because of this government action, the BBB gives APMEX an A rating instead of an A+.
In order to receive a high rating with the BBB, a company must respond to all of the complaints lodged against them and make an effort to resolve them. APMEX seems to have done that. Let's take a look at a few of the most recent complaints on the BBB website.
As mentioned, there are thousands of one-star reviews on Trustpilot, as well as dozens upon dozens of BBB complaints. It's common for large companies to have a handful of BBB complaints, but the number here is concerning. Ideally, customers would be able to resolve issues with the company before they have to bring anything to the BBB.
Lost Package with No Signature
One customer wrote a complaint in May of 2022 regarding an order they had made for about $1,700 worth of silver and platinum. The customer was told that the package would ship to them through the certified signature carrier.
When placing the order, the customer explained that their last precious metals purchase had been left outside by the mailman. They did not want to make another purchase unless a signature was required, because they did not want the second package to be abandoned outside.
The customer was reassured that the package would be insured and require a signature. But when the tracking number said the package had been received, the customer hadn't gotten it. They called APMEX immediately to file a claim. When APMEX reviewed the claim, they denied it.
The company stated that they would not reimburse the customer because GPS tracking showed that the package had been delivered to their address. But the customer had never been notified or asked to sign for it. Because the customer had not been given the security they were promised, they wanted to be reimbursed for the cost of their order.
APMEX responded to say that they had investigated with their insurance company and USPS. They said the order number had been correctly delivered, and that the procedure for delivery had been followed. According to them, someone else might have signed for the package at the address, and the customer should check with them.
The customer never followed up to indicate whether they found the package.
Missing Coin Tube
One complaint from April of 2022 was relatively simple. During the previous month, the customer had placed an order for several Krugerrand coins. Packages of ten were supposed to come in a special tube from the factory. This helps with the storage and preservation of the coins.
The coins arrived as promised, but they were not packaged in the tube. In fact, the tube was nowhere to be seen. The customer called back several times to ask to be sent a replacement tube. However, they said that the agents were condescending and rude.
The customer was particularly incensed because he had been a customer for over two decades.
The company responded to say that the issue had been resolved five days before the customer even filed the complaint. A new tube was sent the day after he called, and it arrived the day before the complaint was filed.
The customer has never followed up to indicate whether the replacement package actually arrived, or whether it got lost in the mail. However, he also hasn't contradicted the company's claim.
Wrong Address Shipping
One customer left a review in April of 2022 stating that he needed to complain about APMEX because of an incorrect address. Prior to this, he had successfully ordered nine times. But on his last order, the website made a change to his home address.
He had bought a roll of old circulated silver quarters. But the package was sent to the wrong address, and APMEX refused to give a refund. Despite launching an investigation, the customer's claim was ultimately denied. The customer said that he would never have intentionally put the address that was used.
In addition, he said that the website continues to automatically alter his address whenever he places new orders. He believed that someone at the company had manually altered his profile. He added that the company policies had taken away all his rights to recourse.
The customer finished by noting that he doesn't have a lot of extra money, but he's trying to invest in silver for his future. He was upset that APMEX had so much power in the situation while all he could do was file complaints and hope that the company would care.
APMEX responded to say that the claim had been investigated and denied. The order was placed using the online self-service checkout on mobile. Using his phone, the customer confirmed that his shipping address was the incorrect one.
The tracking number indicated that the package was sent to the address on the package. The investigation also indicated that the customer didn't realize the package was missing until eight days after the delivery.
The issue is still unresolved as far as the customer is concerned. However, APMEX's policies absolve them of any legal blame here.
Hassle After Accidental Purchase
One complaint from April of 2022 has multiple layers to it.
First, the customer accidentally purchased a bar of silver while trying to find out the price for it. He pushed the wrong button, and the website made it too easy to finalize the purchase. The customer believed that it should have been easier to see the cost of an item plus additional fees, without actually buying it.
The customer explained that once the additional fees are factored in, you end up paying a lot more than the price on the website. That was why he was trying to get an estimate of the final purchase. To do that, he signed into his APMEX account and set up a shopping cart with the silver bar.
This customer had been working with APMEX for a long time. In fact, he had "Elite" status, which meant he had either made 10 orders or bought $20,000 worth of items. Despite this, the customer has an annual salary of less than $35,000, with basically all of his extra cash being invested with APMEX.
After making the accidental purchase, the customer called APMEX. He was told that since this was the first time he'd cancelled an order, the cancellation fee would be waived. Several days later, the cancellation was processed, but the customer's account was billed for the full cost of the item.
The customer called them about 10 days after this, on the same day he filed the complaint. When he initially cancelled the order, he was told that it would take 5 business days or less for the refund to process. But that time had elapsed without the refund processing. He was upset because he really needed the money.
APMEX responded to say that the market loss and cancellation fees had both been waived. They further explained that the refund would happen up to 5 business days after processing of the payment, which might take several days by itself.
The customer never followed up to indicate whether he received his refund, but he also never said that he didn't.
For our final complaint, let's look at a complaint from March 31, 2022. The customer stated that the order was shipped on time, but when it arrived, the box was damaged.
The customer wasn't sure whether APMEX or the shipping service had damaged the box. But the silver bar inside the box was missing. The customer had paid $330 for it and said that the company would not help him.
The company responded to say that their investigation indicated that the package was delivered in good condition to the right address. The photographs taken of the package in transit didn't show any damage. In addition, the package had not changed in weight at all during different checkpoints and audits along the way.
They said that they needed a police report for their insurance company to continue the claim. The customer would need to forward the full police report to the company.
Again, the customer never followed up to indicate whether they were able to submit a police report and get a refund.
Pros & Cons of APMEX
APMEX is a company that many people use because of how large it is. The company is so well established and has worked with so many entities that it must be reputable. And yet the customer reviews indicate that more than half of the past customers seriously regretted their decision. There are thousands of one-star reviews online.
On the BBB website, there are currently 89 complaints from the past three years. Over thirty of them come from the past year alone. While APMEX has responded to each as per BBB standards, they have often not provided a resolution that meets the customer's needs or desires. Many customers are left still unsatisfied, some without ever receiving their items.
All in all, this seems like an extremely frustrating company to work with. While it may not be an overt scam, it does seem to be poorly managed. Customers have complained about everything from delivery to returns to product quality to sales tactics to pricing. There isn't a single stone left unturned when it comes to consumer grievances.
For this reason, we definitely don't recommend doing business with APMEX. You're better off working with a company that actually has positive customer feedback. Many gold IRA companies can streamline the bullion purchase process and ensure that your items are delivered properly. They can also help with any potential issues, instead of ignoring you until you have to lodge a public complaint.
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