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If you're looking for a precious metals IRA company, you may have heard of American Bullion. This is a California-based dealer that ships bullion all over the US. They have a solid reputation, but is it actually earned? What do you need to know before you decide whether or not to invest?
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See if American Bullion made our list this year, or continue with this review below to see if they are possibly the right company for your investment needs.
About American Bullion
American Bullion is a precious metals dealer that specializes in IRAs. They will help you invest part of your retirement funds into precious metals, which hedge against inflation. In addition to connecting people with IRAs, they also sell collectibles and rare coins for personal investments. These are not available to place into an IRA, according to strict IRS regulations.
The company is based in Los Angeles and has a storefront where people can walk in and talk to a representative. But if you aren't in the area, they will also ship rarities and bullion all over the US. There are hundreds of online reviews from past customers, showing that this is one of the larger gold IRA companies in the industry today.
There are multiple educational resources available through the American Bullion website. For example, you can request that the company send you a free gold investment kit. This has information about the precious metals industry, the global economy, and the benefits and risks of precious metals investment.
In addition, this kit has information about the American Bullion firm itself. It talks about the available products, the setup of the company, and the answers to varying questions about how to diversify your retirement account.
There are several accreditations that establish American Bullion as a legitimate gold dealer. These qualifications show that they are experts in the precious metals industry and that they've earned the trust of others in the field.
American Bullion is listed with the US Mint on their list of accredited dealers of US coins. This helps to add to the authenticity of their products.
In addition, American Bullion is registered with the American Numismatic Association. This is a group of numismatic experts that prioritize the highest quality in collectible coins.
On top of being accredited with the Better Business Bureau, they are accredited with the Business Consumer Alliance. The BCA also gives them a top score of AAA, indicating that they have excellent customer relations and customer service practices.
The management of a company makes a big difference. No matter the policies on paper, the people in charge are responsible for taking care of the customers. Their attitudes are always reflected in the business at large, for better or for worse.
The founder and CEO of American Bullion is a man named Nevtan Akcora. Before he founded the company, he was the President and COO of Onstar Worldwide. He gained significant experience with growing and scaling a company while retaining efficiency. Today, he has more than ten years of experience in his position.
That's not the end of his career, though. He also had prior experience with working as a senior executive with a number of different investment and finance companies.
The company's Director of Marketing is a man named Erman Ebren. Prior to working with the firm, he began as a systems engineer with the company Siemens. He has an impressive level of experience with digital marketing, and he has been working with American Bullion for close to a decade.
Given the positive customer feedback, it seems like the management team have done well at implementing good policies. Customers often leave reviews that praise their customer service representative by name.
Fees and Pricing
Sometimes it can be hard to find the fees and pricing information for online gold dealers. When customers run into "hidden fees," the situation can be frustrating. That's part of why it's so refreshing to see the level of transparency that American Bullion has. They have an extremely straightforward way of setting up their fees.
If you have an account with a value of less than $100,000, then you will pay an annual fee of $90 for maintenance. Once you have more than this, your fees may be higher. There is a maximum fee of $290 per year, and you will never pay more than that. This threshold also includes the costs of setting up your account, which are one-time fees that you won't generally need to pay again.
There are also promotional offers for new clients. If you get started with a new IRA through American Bullion, they will fully waive the setup fee, maintenance fee, and storage fee for your first year. You will then begin to pay storage and maintenance fees in the following years.
American Bullion most frequently works with STRATA as an IRA custodian. This is a reputable company with solid customer feedback. Their preferred depository is the Delaware Depository, which is located on the East Coast in tax-advantaged Delaware.
Your custodian and storage fees will be determined by STRATA and the depository, rather than by American Bullion. But as mentioned, American Bullion will cover the first year of costs for new customers.
Is American Bullion a Scam?
American Bullion is not a scam. There is no doubt that the company provides the services that it claims to. In addition, there are multiple positive reviews on third party websites. They are accredited with the BBB and have an A rating, plus 4.43 out of 5 stars based on 7 reviews.
On Trustpilot, the company's rating is 4.4 out of 5 stars based on 194 reviews. Trustlink shows a rating of 5 out of 5 stars based on 57 reviews, indicating unanimous praise and satisfaction. The only website that shows middling reviews is Yelp, where there's a rating of 3.5 stars based on 18 reviews.
Even so, the average of all of these reviews shows that more than 90% of the customers are highly satisfied. They often praise the customer service representatives that they work with by name. There have also been compliments regarding the level of education and the quality of the products.
There is one complaint and one poor review posted to the BBB website. In both cases, the customer was disgruntled about buyback prices. They stated that they had lost money on their investment by working with American Bullion, and that they were unhappy with the markups on the original prices.
The complainant said that his elderly father had bought gold at outrageous prices. The father had invested what was left of his savings despite having cognitive issues. The complainant said that the company misrepresented the value of the investment and that they implied that it would regain its value, which it never did.
In this case, the company responded to say that there was confusion on the complainant's part regarding the intentions of his father. They explained how they calculate the price of their products, as well as how the precious metals market works. Then they explained that the father's items were being held in a depository with no extra cost to him.
The complainant responded to say that he was unsatisfied, because his father could not sell the gold for the price he'd paid. American Bullion responded to say that the complainant was acting unreasonably.
Some time later, the complainant said that they wished to withdraw the complaint because he and his father had amicably settled the matter with American Bullion. The matter is considered resolved.
American Bullion provided a great deal of information throughout this process with regards to their pricing and expectations. All of their responses seemed informed and reasonable. Aside from the one negative reviewer, most customer feedback indicates that people are happy with the prices that they've been charged.
One potential issue, though, is the subject of government action. Because government action has been taken against the business, they have an A instead of an A+ with the BBB. Let's take a look at exactly what happened and how it was handled.
Like many bureaucratic issues in the precious metals industry, this problem was related to the state of Minnesota. Minnesota is the only state in the US that requires gold dealers to fill out special paperwork and get special licensing to sell bullion. When a gold dealer ships bullion to addresses within the state without filling out this paperwork, they can end up in trouble.
That seems to have been the case for American Bullion. The BBB website has a notice that explains the basics of what happened.
There was a consent order formally introduced by the Department of Commerce in Minnesota at the beginning of November of 2021. The company was alleged to have sold bullion without doing the paperwork to renew its registration in the state. As such, it was acting in violation of state law.
The commissioner also said that when the company was licensed, they didn't have the amount of surety bond coverage that is required by Minnesota. Minnesota has these laws to ensure that customers don't lose their investment if a company goes under before fulfilling orders.
The company responded to say that they were waiving their right to a hearing. The state of Minnesota ordered American Bullion to pay $2,500 as a civil penalty for the issue. They were also ordered to pay $225 to cover the cost of the investigation, as well as to stop doing any of the unlicensed activities.
While this isn't an ideal situation, it also isn't a malicious one. It seems like at some point, American Bullion did have the appropriate paperwork and licensing to sell in Minnesota. They merely let that paperwork lapse without properly renewing it. Given the headache of the penalty, it seems unlikely that they will let this happen again.
American Bullion does not seem to have acted in malice. There have never been any government allegations of fraud, malicious activity, or other concerns. Again, given the positive online reputation, it seems that they adhere to their overall policies fairly well.
Pros & Cons of American Bullion
American Bullion is a solid precious metals company. They have a few hundred reviews indicating that customers are satisfied with their past experiences. People have praised the pricing and the customer service team in particular. Despite one or two negative complaints, the company has done its best to resolve all potential issues with all customers.
There are some things to keep in mind, though. Even though American Bullion has a good reputation, it might not be the best company for a gold IRA. There are a few other companies that edge out the competition, especially since they haven't had government action taken against them.
Still, American Bullion does seem like a solid and honest company. The government actions were related to bureaucratic mishaps rather than malice, and the company paid the civil penalties without a fuss. Since then, they seem to be operating well within the regulatory lines in the US.
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We hope that we were able to help you determine where or where not to put your investment!