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Augusta Precious Metals is a popular choice for people investing in gold IRAs. But is this company actually worth the hype? Does their unique department setup help or harm the customer service process? We've taken a look at what this company has to offer, as well as what past customers have to say about their experiences.
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About Augusta Precious Metals
Augusta Precious Metals is a precious metals dealer that specializes in gold IRAs. They help you with the paperwork to open and fund a gold IRA, as well as with choosing the right precious metals for your investment. The paperwork and tax regulations can both be overwhelming if you try to do them without help.
On the company website, you'll find information about the overall mission. Not only do they want to be a good precious metals company, but they actually want to be the best in the industry.
Based purely on the customer reviews, they do seem to be achieving that goal. They have received nearly unanimous praise from industry experts and customers alike. There is very little negative feedback online, and the company swiftly reaches out to correct any potential errors.
According to the company website, Augusta Precious Metals has three main commitments. These commitments inform all of their policies and everything they do.
The first commitment is transparency. There are many precious metals dealers that don't have a high level of transparency. People may not know who they're working with, how their items are priced, or how the business operates. But Augusta is extremely forthright about company and industry information. This level of honesty helps them to operate differently from much of the competition.
Another commitment is simplicity. The precious metals IRA process can seem stressful and overwhelming. Even after doing all the complicated paperwork, there's still the selection process. That's why Augusta Precious Metals has preselection plans for your metals. The purchase process is also extremely streamlined, thanks to the different employee departments.
The final commitment is to customer service. Because of the company's structure, they are able to provide the most in-depth and comprehensive service in the industry. In addition to getting one-on-one attention, you also have access to experts who can answer even the most niche questions. There are even options to match your savings goals and plan for your future retirement.
The company's education department exists purely to teach potential customers about the precious metals industry. The head of this department is a Harvard economist who engages in constant analysis of global market conditions. Even if you aren't sure about making a purchase, you can call any day to get answers to your questions.
Long Term Relationships
With some precious metals companies, the sale is the most important part of the process. The company's goal is to convince people to buy as much as possible in order to increase revenue. But that's not the case for Augusta Precious Metals. Instead, their business plan involves having long term one-on-one relationships with every customer.
As mentioned, you can call and ask questions even if you aren't a customer yet. The representatives do not engage in any high pressure sales tactics. They'll explain the benefits and drawbacks of precious metals investing, as well as the products they have available.
After setting up your IRA and making your initial purchase, Augusta Precious Metals will continue to work with you. You will have a dedicated account representative who answers questions and provides updates about your holdings. If you want to add more precious metals to your account in the future, Augusta will be happy to take on another order.
The company's representatives can help you make plans to reach your savings goals over time. They may make suggestions for how to diversify your account among different precious metals and alternative assets. When the time comes to start taking distributions, Augusta Precious Metals makes it easy to liquidate with their buyback program.
One thing to keep in mind is that Augusta Precious Metals cannot guarantee a buyback offer. However, they say that they do typically make buyback offers. It is possible to do a trade-in of your gold and silver as well. Similarly, though, the company does not make any guarantees that it will accept your offer.
Augusta Precious Metals does not offer storage services by itself. However, the company does partner with a variety of different storage companies. They have a variety of storage options available throughout the US. On the website, they mention that there are 11 different depositories located in these states:
Basically no matter what region of the US you're in, you can store your precious metals relatively nearby. This is a much greater range of depositories than most precious metals IRA companies offer. The only potential drawback is that there don't appear to be any international storage options, which some people prefer.
If you purchase precious metals for a retirement account, you are required to store them in a licensed depository. There are depositories meeting IRS regulations both in the US and in a variety of global countries.
When you open an account with a depository, all of your items are fully insured. This means that they will be covered in the event of theft or natural disasters. That's much more secure than storing them at home in an uninsured vault.
Prices and Payment
When you make a purchase through Augusta Precious Metals, there are two main ways to pay: personal checks or bank wire transfers. You cannot pay with a personal check for orders of more than $50,000. If you're using a bank wire transfer, you can go for any amount.
Personal checks take a long time to process because they need to be mailed, deposited, and cleared before your items can be shipped.
Unfortunately, Augusta Precious Metals does not accept debit or credit cards. They also do not have more modern payment options like Paypal or cryptocurrency. Some people may find this inconvenient, especially if you don't want to facilitate a bank wire transfer. But most shouldn't have any issue with setting up the transfer instead.
There do not appear to be prices listed for the precious metals on the website. Some companies will use an algorithm to update their prices in real time. But with Augusta, you will need to get a price quote from the order desk. This price quote is exactly what you can expect to pay, as there aren't commissions or hidden fees.
When you place your order and confirm it over the phone, your price will then be locked in.
There are some basic fees that you can expect when you invest in an IRA. You will need to pay annual storage and maintenance costs to your custodian. When you invest with Augusta's preferred storage partner and custodian, the annual fees are $180.
Augusta doesn't appear to have fees for setting up a precious metals IRA. However, they do require you to have a minimum of $50,000 to invest for your first purchase. Otherwise, you won't be able to use their services.
If you are making a personal purchase that's sent to you, there are no purchase fees whatsoever. If you're storing your personal purchase in the Delaware Depository, you will pay a fee of $100 per year. This is the cost of storage without the custodial fee.
When the time comes to liquidate your holdings, you can contact Augusta Precious Metals for a buyback quote. However, this is different from the company return policy. The return policy applies if you decide that you don't actually want these metals or want to exchange them.
If you are buying premium coins for the first time, there is a cancellation period that lasts up to seven days. However, if it's not your first time making a purchase, then you will be obligated to follow through once the purchase is confirmed.
In order to return the products after that, you'll need to get a buyback quote. This will typically be less than you paid, and it might reflect any market losses that Augusta suffered due to the purchase.
Augusta Precious Metals ships packages to any area of the US. If you're making a purchase for a gold IRA, then your package will be shipped to the depository of your choice. If you're making a personal purchase, you can have the package shipped directly to you.
Every package ships with a full insurance policy. You will need to be physically present and sign for it. Once the package has been signed for, you are responsible for it. So if anything about the packaging seems "off," you shouldn't sign.
Every package is also given bland, discreet wrapping. There is no indication about what is inside. You might receive the package through FedEx or USPS. If you place an exceedingly large order, then it will be shipped using an armored vehicle from Brinks for extra security. The website doesn't say exactly what price point is considered a large order.
Most orders are shipped within 10 business days of confirming the items. Augusta Precious Metals does note that there may be additional delays due to global economic factors. For example, there may be delays due to transportation or industry disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online customer reviews indicate that packages do ship relatively quickly and simply. There are no complaints about the shipping time or the package insurance.
If you meet a certain purchase threshold, Augusta Precious Metals will pay entirely for the shipping and insurance. Once the package reaches the IRA storage facility, it will be processed and moved to your fully insured vault.
The process of setting up a precious metals IRA with Augusta Precious Metals is very simple. Since there are in-house experts, you can fill out all your paperwork without any hassle. First you'll create the account, then you'll fund it, and then you'll place your order.
Augusta Precious Metals has a variety of different departments that all handle a different aspect of the process. You'll work with a dedicated customer service representative, who will ask the other experts if you have questions they're unfamiliar with. Each department is an expert in their particular niche.
When you open a self-directed IRA, you need an account custodian. This is a financial institution that's licensed to manage self-directed IRAs. Your custodian is responsible for putting precious metals into your vault and giving you ongoing account reports.
According to the Augusta Precious Metals website, they only work with custodians that have been thoroughly vetted. You are welcome to communicate with your custodian directly. But if you want to remove that extra step, you can merely use your Augusta representative as a liaison.
The website states that their preferred partner custodian is Equity Trust. They do not have information about other custodians that they work with. This lack of extra options might be frustrating if you want to compare different fee structures. But it does add to the overall simplicity of the process.
Equity Trust is a leading provider of self-directed IRAs in the US. They have been in the industry for over three decades and currently manage more than $25 billion in their customer assets. Their customers are located throughout the US in every state.
Augusta Precious Metals also states that their main storage partner is the Delaware Depository. But they have other vaults available if you want to store your precious metals in a different region of the US.
Is Augusta Precious Metals a Scam?
Augusta Precious Metals is definitely not a scam. In fact, it is one of the most positively reviewed precious metals dealers in the US. The company received a Better Business Bureau accreditation in 2015 and holds an A+. They have not had any official complaints filed in the past three years, but have 4.96 out of 5 stars based on 107 customer reviews.
There are similarly positive reviews on other websites. On Consumer Affairs, Augusta Precious Metals has 4.9 out of 5 stars with 44 reviews, indicating that almost every customer was extremely satisfied. On Facebook, the rating is 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 78 reviews. Trustlink gives a 4.9 out of 5 star rating based on 283 reviews.
So there are several hundred glowing reviews from past customers easily available to peruse. Negative feedback is hard to come by. When customers have had negative feedback, the company has responded and attempted to correct the situation. There is also a special number that customers can call if they have any issues.
Judging by the lack of official complaints with the BBB, it seems that Augusta Precious Metals does a good job with their customer service. The ideal is for a company to solve potential customer issues before they ever need to make the situation public.
There is one alert on the BBB website about government action that was taken against the company. These types of alerts are very important, as they can tell you whether the business has histories of mismanagement or major accusations.
The problem that Augusta Precious Metals ran into was an extremely common one. In Minnesota, you need to get a special license from the Chamber of Commerce to sell bullion. Many people aren't aware of this. Augusta Precious Metals began shipping bullion to Minnesota without getting their paperwork in order first.
A consent order was brought in August of 2019. The company was ordered to pay a civil fine of $3,000 to the state. They were also asked to stop violating any of the state statutes.
However, this incident happened three years ago now. It seems that Augusta Precious Metals has not run into any legal issues since. Though they didn't do enough due diligence before shipping to Minnesota, this is an important learning experience, and they seem very unlikely to make the mistake again.
Obviously we can't look at every single positive review left for the company, since there are several hundred on a variety of third party websites. But let's take a look at a few that people left with the BBB. It helps to know what prior customers have experienced with a company, as this shows you what to expect from the service.
One review from June of 2022 says that the company made it very easy to navigate the precious metals IRA industry. The customer said that the customer service was excellent, that there was no pressure, and that it was very easy to get answers to their questions. They also praised the patience of the representatives, as well as the fast delivery time.
Another review from May of 2022 echoes these sentiments. The customer said that he received a high level of personalized customer service. From initially contacting the company to making his final purchase, he was able to ask every question he had and get a satisfactory answer.
One customer said that she started working with Augusta Precious Metals after being recommended their services by a friend. She wanted to learn more about gold IRAs. She was able to enter a Zoom meeting with a representative and see a detailed presentation. Then she was able to ask whatever questions she had and get patient, helpful answers.
Pros & Cons of Augusta Precious Metals
Augusta Precious Metals is a legitimate precious metals company that offers some of the best services in the industry. Their unique setup means that you get excellent customer service, while the expert departments can handle any questions you might have.
In addition to having great scores with third party organizations, Augusta Precious Metals has been positively reviewed by past customers. Customers consistently praise the presentations, patience, and knowledgeability of the customer service representatives.
All in all, we do recommend working with Augusta Precious Metals. They are one of the most impressive companies to work with. Even if you aren't satisfied for some reason, the company is dedicated enough to their customer service to make things right.
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