Hard Assets Alliance is an online gold dealer that helps people to buy precious metals to diversify their portfolios. They function slightly differently from other precious metals retailers. Ideally, they would manage your precious metals account and make it easy for you to buy and sell assets online. That’s what their business model is built for.
But there are some issues with the company, particularly with their client feedback. We’ve taken a look at what services they claim to offer, along with an in-depth look at what their past customers have to say about them.
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About Hard Assets Alliance
Hard Assets Alliance is a company that was created by investment professionals who wanted to improve the gold industry. They believed that there was potential in gold investments, but also that the industry had significant shortcomings. The goal of HAA was to make it easy to diversify your portfolio into real physical gold.
In order to manage this, they made gold electronically traded. Unlike the eCommerce platforms of the past, they created their own massive trading system. The idea was that gold could be traded digitally the same way that liquid assets could. But all of the electronic gold would be backed by the real deal, stored in third party vaults.
This was a different concept from gold ETFs and fractional bars. With ETFs and fractional bars, you own just one tiny piece of a larger object. The value is largely symbolic. But with HAA’s platform, you are the sole owner of the gold in your account. You can even remove the gold and have it shipped to you if you want.
One of HAA’s services is a platform called Metalstream. Metalstream is supposed to make it easy to invest in gold over periods of time. Instead of needing to remember to create individual orders every time, Metalstream automates the gold investment process. You’ll still be the sole owner of all of your bars and coins, but your assets will accrue over time without you needing to constantly manage them.
It’s pretty easy to set up. You’ll just create an account on the Metalstream platform. Then you pick the amount that you’d like to invest on a monthly basis. Every month, this amount will be automatically deducted from your bank account. If you don’t want to connect your bank account, you can pre-fund several months’ worth of investment money as an account balance.
You’ll then choose the silver or gold products that you want to buy. Every month, your investment money will be used to buy these products or to save up toward them. Purchases will go through automatically, and you will become the sole owner of the assets. They’ll be added to your digital account and backed by real tangible assets.
Metalstream is designed to be an automation process that’s highly customizable. You choose exactly what you want product-wise, as well as how much you intend to invest. You create the solution that works best for your current budget. If you find yourself needing to save money for a bit, you can pause your automated payments whenever you want.
Starting up again is just as easy as pausing. You don’t have to worry about being charged extra transaction fees. People can invest any amount they want, with minimums of just $25 per month. Basically, you can accumulate gold and silver over time for the cost of a streaming subscription.
Metalstream for Business
The Metalstream platform can also be used for businesses, according to the Hard Assets Alliance website. You can use the Metalstream technology to own precious metals using your business.
Essentially, you’ll open an account in your corporation or small business’s name. Then you’ll be able to start trading and purchasing precious metals with your corporate funds. The metals will legally be company assets, able to be traded and liquidated by the company.
The Metalstream platform supports business accounts for all kinds of different businesses. That includes limited liability corporations, S-corporations, C-corporations, two-person partnerships, and sole proprietorships that are documented differently from an individual account.
According to Hard Assets Alliance, the process of buying gold for your business has now been streamlined. The electronic platform functions very much like a bank account. Inside the account, gold is traded, valued, and sold the same way that liquid assets usually are.
Funds can be transferred in and out for your business however you need to. You’ll receive ongoing monthly statements showing your activity, including your acquisitions, sales, transfers, and the fluctuating value of your metals. You can sign up to receive daily reports about your gold’s market value.
There is even the capacity to set up access for multiple users. So if you have a company in which multiple people control the finances and assets, you can give responsibility to more than just the CEO.
When you pull up the Metalstream platform, you’ll be asked what kind of account you want to make. Personal accounts are for individuals who want to buy and sell precious metals on an individual basis. Retirement accounts are for people who are trading IRA-approved precious metals using their accrued retirement assets.
Your account type will be corporate. This is the business account, which is set up to allow trading of assets on a legal corporate level. There is also a trusts account type, which is worth keeping in mind if you are the executor of any important trusts.
Is Hard Assets Alliance Legitimate?
Hard Assets Alliance has every appearance of being a legitimate company. They do seem to provide the services that they claim to, and they don’t seem to be overt scammers. So in this sense, they are a legitimate company.
However, there are many things about this company that are questionable, to say the least.
Hard Assets Alliance is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau. When you’re looking for a precious metals dealer, you typically want one that’s at least accredited with the BBB. This indicates that they believe this is a business with the correct licensing and qualifications to operate.
But what makes matters even worse is that the BBB has given Hard Assets Alliance a rating of F. That’s the worst rating that a company can possibly have. It was given because Hard Assets Alliance has never responded to two official complaints that have been lodged against them. There are also two customer reviews, both of which give 1 out of 5 stars.
However, Hard Assets Alliance also has a presence on Trustpilot. This is a trusted third party review site where customers can talk about their prior experiences. On Trustpilot, Hard Assets Alliance has a 4.3 star rating with 68 total reviews. That would seem to indicate that most customers have a decent experience.
It seems strange that the customer reports on these two websites are so wildly different. So let’s take a look at the reviews and complaints on the BBB website, and then we can compare those to the Trustpilot feedback.
Only one of the two filed complaints is still available to view on the BBB website. The BBB page says that Hard Assets Alliance never responded to either complaint. This must mean that the other complainant chose not to make the details of their complaint public, even before they reached a resolution.
The available complaint was filed in April of 2022. The customer said that the company would not transfer their money with a bank transfer or a check. They had sent several voided checks to Hard Assets Alliance, along with bank statements, to prove their financial records. Hard Assets Alliance claimed that the customer’s accounts didn’t match. The customer had been unable to get their money out of the account for more than a week.
This complaint is still open, as Hard Assets Alliance has never responded. It’s unknown whether the customer was ever able to regain access to their funds. If they didn’t, then this is a serious allegation. Hard Assets Alliance could easily solve this problem by addressing the customer’s concerns and finding another way to verify their identity and banking information. The fact that they didn’t is highly suspicious.
There are two negative reviews on the BBB website as well. Though these aren’t technically official complaints, they are enlightening.
One review was posted in March of 2023. The customer said that he had deposited more than $19,000 with Hard Assets Alliance in intervals over time. He had bought a few 100 ounce bars using the $19,000, and the company was transferring funds from his bank when silver suddenly increased in price.
The transfer of funds failed. Hard Assets Alliance claimed that they were dealing with a technical issue. The transaction showed that the funds had actually gone through, but HAA listed the transaction as pending for over a week. By the time the customer’s transfer went through, the cost of silver was much higher than it had been initially, meaning that HAA gained a substantial profit.
The customer suspected that this “technical error” had been fabricated on purpose. So he sold the 100 ounce bars of silver that he’d already bought. There was no issue with selling the bars back to HAA. But when he tried to remove the money from his account, he was stalled. Apparently the issue was that he needed to clear a storage fee.
After paying $15 for the time that his bars were in storage, his funds were finally withdrawn. The customer believed that he had lost a few hundred dollars due to the “technical issue,” and the way it had impacted the price of silver. He found it suspect that every sale that benefited HAA went through, but all other purchases were halted.
The other negative review was left in March of 2021 by a different customer. He stated that he had tried to withdraw funds from his account, only for the process to be halted for several weeks. He pulled a customer service representative onto a call with him and his bank so that his identity could be confirmed.
The HAA representative told the customer that she would give him an email confirmation regarding the finalization of his withdrawal. He did receive an email. It said that it was confirming that the bank account was verified and that the delivery would go on as planned.
That should have been the end of the issue. But then the customer logged onto Hard Assets Alliance and checked his pending transfers. His withdrawal had been canceled, so he was not able to receive his funds. He was not given an explanation for why the withdrawal was canceled after an earlier confirmation. He’d already spent several weeks trying to mitigate the bureaucratic issues.
Now, while the BBB feedback is universally negative, the feedback on Trustpilot is largely positive. Let’s see what positive things customers have had to say about their experiences with HAA.
One recent reviewer named their customer service rep and thanked her for her hard work. Another did the same, mentioning that they are a new customer and that they were deciding whether to purchase precious metals. This customer was happy that their questions were answered so satisfactorily.
An extremely negative review was written in September of 2023. The customer said that they had invested a great deal of money into precious metals with HAA. When they received their second shipment, the items were incorrect. The customer asked to have the rest of their money refunded because they did not want to make any future purchases.
As of writing the review, the customer said that they were going into their fourth week without a check. The company had told them that the check was dropped at a mail box, but the customer had never received it.
Hard Assets Alliance actually did respond to this review. Rather than trying to solve the issue, though, they just encouraged the customer to reach out and contact them during business hours.
There are several more positive Trustpilot reviews. But they all follow a pattern. All of these reviews come from new customers who are writing about their experiences signing up for a precious metals IRA. Many of them are very happy with the customer service that they received. But the negative reviews largely seem to come from people who have worked with HAA for a long time, and are now trying to withdraw their assets.
In April of 2023, a customer left a review saying that HAA is misleading and a terrible precious metals company. She said that she had set her account up to deliver her items from the same vault, but she was asked to pay three separate $40 shipping fees. On top of this, the items never arrived.
When the customer called FedEx, she was told that the items had been returned to the sender. But the items hadn’t been put back into her vault, and she didn’t know where they were. Her phone calls and emails weren’t going through. She said that she would never make a purchase from them again.
Hard Assets Alliance replied to this complaint as well. They simply said that they were sorry to hear about the customer’s frustration, and that they would take action. They did not explain how they would resolve the issue, nor did they apologize for their failure to pick up the phone.
Pros & Cons of Hard Assets Alliance
Hard Assets Alliance is a precious metals dealership that helps connect clients to tangible assets like gold. They have a strong web presence, with a website that contains videos, articles, and a ton of information. At a glance, they seem like a solid company with which to do business.
But once you start looking them up on other websites, the story changes. Hard Assets Alliance doesn’t publish much information about its executives, origins, or operations. We were only able to find the name of the CEO by combing through old Facebook posts from 2018. It’s similarly difficult to find the contact information of any individual who works there.
This alone wouldn’t be a red flag, given that many business executives prefer to do their business in privacy. But on the Better Business Bureau website, Hard Assets Alliance has an F rating, because they’ve never responded to the complaints against them.
That’s a big deal. The BBB is supposed to act as a mediator for consumers when the usual customer service channels fail. If a company doesn’t respond to BBB complaints, it indicates that they have absolutely no interest in customer care. They don’t want to resolve the issue. The one public complaint that we found was about a customer being unable to access their own money, which is very serious.
Meanwhile, Trustpilot has logged a number of positive reviews of the company, many of which were added recently. The vast majority of the positive reviews are from people who just signed up. They praise the helpfulness and patience of their customer service reps, and they say that they’re confident that they made the right choice.
But there are negative reviews mixed in on Trustpilot as well. And those invariably come from customers who have worked with HAA for years. There’s a common pattern in these complaints: customers being unable to liquidate their assets or complete a sale that would involve HAA giving up any of their money. There have been very few, if any, reports of customers having technical issues that cost HAA money instead.
These patterns are very concerning. Whether the issues are intentional on HAA’s part or not, the end conclusion is the same. Customers have found themselves frustrated time and time again by the company’s failure to help them.
HAA has responded to a few of the complaints on Trustpilot, but they’ve never offered solutions or taken responsibility. The Trustpilot responses might be partially motivated by how hard a hit their reputation took with the F rating from the BBB.
Overall, we definitely don’t recommend getting involved with this company. There are many other options available that have much more positive consumer feedback. HAA’s most recent negative reviews have been written in 2023, so there doesn’t seem to have been a change in management or internal policies. There’s just been a shift in how they interact with customers in a public-facing way.
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