Last updated on March 31st, 2021

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Merit Gold Review

merit gold

The opportunity to invest in gold has been around for years, gaining popularity in recent years as a safer vehicle. This popularity has led to the flourish of gold investment companies with many companies promising you valuable and secure investment options.

Unfortunately, not all these companies have turned out to have your best interest in mind.

Company Background

As they are registered, Merit Gold & Silver is a national dealer that provides gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion and investment-grade coins. Merit Gold started in 1986, and they have remained the only dealer that has operated in the same location for a long time.

They began with the mission to provide all clients with the best value and service available. And for many years, the company remains one of the dealers with the most competitive and transparent pricing.

They are also one of the dealers with the highest buy-back prices in the market. Not only was their pricing attractive, but their website aims to educate the public by holding publications of both insightful and sensible market commentary.

And you are most likely going to know more about gold than you have ever done in years. Merit Gold, has so far boasted of working with about a quarter of a million clients in purchasing and selling gold and other precious metals, either through a gold IRA account or for personal collections.

Merit Gold was established in 1986 under Seacoast Coin, Inc. by Peter Epstein, who continues as president and CEO. Over the years, Merit had grown exponentially, starting up offices in Encino, CA in 2010, and another in Santa Monica, CA, in 2011.

About the Management

  • Peter M. Epstein (President/CEO)
  • Michael Getlin (Executive Vice President) – Michael grew up in Portland, OR. He began trading in precious metals professionally after he graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government. He got promoted to Senior Vice President in 2007, overseeing trading, research, and operations for Merit Gold.
  • Allie Selinger (Director of Human Resources)

Contact Details

You can find Merit Gold at 2001 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, in Santa Monica, CA.

Services at Merit Gold

For a company that boasted of having worked with about a million's quarter clients in the precious metals industry, they must offer only excellent services. So let's learn about these in detail.

Products at Merit Gold

Unlike some precious metals dealers, Merit Gold offers a broader range of products for sale. If you were looking to buy precious metals ranging from bullion to numismatics, be it gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, they have it all.

And these were offered at one of the most competitive prices in the market. In deciding on which metal to buy, you only had to visit their website, which had enough information on each product, including its price. However, as a minimum, you are required to purchase products of $5000 in value.

Metal Gold also bought back metals from the public at quality prices, so they entirely covered their clients. Whether it is to buy or sell precious metals, Metal Gold has made itself available to its clients.

Investment Services

Merit Gold also assists its clients in opening gold IRA accounts, turning the otherwise stressful process into a simple one of about twenty minutes. They do this by providing all the necessary paperwork needed in opening a gold IRA account on their website.

One significant feature of their investment services is the display of live market data to everyone on their website. You get to see the fluctuating prices of products in the market.

And with their years of experience, they have been able to satisfy clients with specific portfolio management services that exactly suited each client, based on market trends and the client's assets. Their preferred choice of IRA custodian is the Entrust Group.

Customers of Merit Gold have more options for their investment portfolios. They could even decide to store up rare gold bullion and semi-numismatic coins. Merit Gold makes sure not to charge customers extra when helping to liquidate their investment back to cash.

The company also helps clients looking to rollover funds from their existing IRA into a gold IRA, which usually lasts between 7 to 21 business days.

Precious Metals Storage and Delivery

Merit Gold didn't provide that much detail on its website about its precious metals storage and delivery program. The information on this was usually made clear by contacting the company and speaking to an account representative.

However, the charges on delivery and storage often depend on the amount of metal that is purchased. And Merit Gold offers its clients the opportunity to store their metals. Their preferred depository is the Delaware depository. But the storage of metals with Merit Gold has some risks.

To move on now to talk about known facts, Merit Gold always makes sure that all shipment is fully insured. All purchases regularly get delivered within fourteen days after the verification of the payments. 

One risk investors often take with Merit Gold is that Merit Gold has the right to amend the gold storage contracts and arrangements.

Thus, Merit Gold has the freedom to alter storage charges. And this can be disadvantageous to investors as Merit Gold retains the right to liquidate any part of an investor's asset that has failed to meet up with the amended charges to cover any outstanding amounts.

Notwithstanding, many investors prefer to have off-site storage of their metals, so don't mind the risks.

Pros and Cons

With such excellent services, it is best to weigh the pros and cons to ensure they specifically exist for you.

👍 Pros

  • Merit Gold offers a wide range of products
  • They provide off-site storage services
  • They allow voiding of a transaction when it is your first transaction with them.

👎 Cons

  • You can only purchase a minimum of $5000 worth of products
  • They retain the right to liquidate your investment at any time to pay for outstanding amounts

Merit Gold Ratings

These services were what Merit Gold provided to clients since they started in 1986, and it would appear that Merit Gold was one of the companies with their clients' best interests in mind.

However, upon reviewing the company further, we might have to come back to answering such questions as to whether they had good intentions.

Or were they only looking for ways to capitalize on your hard-earned savings? Let's go on now to check their ratings from some consumer advocacy websites.

I'm sure it came off as a surprise that a company that has existed since the 1980s has no ratings with the Better Business Bureau. While this lack of recognition says a lot of the company integrity, it is clear that they received very excellent ratings from BCA and with TrustLink based on 676 reviews.

Were There Complaints?

According to the BCA, Merit Gold received 66 complaints with most on poor communication and unresolved issues. However, the occurrence of backorders isn't strange, especially in the gold industry due to miscommunication between the customer and the company. Thus, the resolution of these issues is what matters.

What the company does next is what shows the true nature of the company. In the case of Merit Gold, some customers had their issues resolved, while others didn't. Still, Merit Gold maintains its rating of ‘AA' with BCA even with the complaints as these complaints (with some already resolved) aren't much to compare with the supposed 250,000 customers that Merit Gold served.

⚠️Is Merit Gold a Legit Company?

Though minute, it is impossible to brush aside the fact that there were unresolved complaints. And this brings up the critical question- “Is Merit Gold truly legit in its dealings?”

An answer to this came to light on February 13, 2014, when the Santa Monica Attorney's office filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Merit Gold and Silver (Seacoast Coin, Inc.) at the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.

And it claimed that Merit Gold was involved “in an aggressive, nationwide fraud scheme that has biked consumers out of tens of millions of dollars.”

The attorneys alleged that Merit Gold had been operating a large-scale ‘bait and switch' fraud scheme since September of 2009.

They accused Merit Gold of attracting mainly senior citizen customers with bullion at only 1 percent over cost, only to convince them when they call to buy numismatic and semi-numismatic coins at a high premium.

They reported that Merit Gold convinced unsuspecting customers by claiming that numismatic and semi-numismatic coins were a better investment than bullion, offered more privacy, tax-evasive, and were not seizable.

On August 5, 2014, Merit Gold went out of business while the case was still pending in court. And the Santa Monica City Attorney's Office eventually obtained a $2 million court judgment against Merit Gold. 

Conclusion

Merit Gold stayed a long time in the gold industry, with good testimonies from the customers they served, but in the end, its glitter turned out not to be gold. So I would recommend that you always carry out your research on as many dealers as you can before putting down your fortune at their mercy.

As much as possible, only deal with those with good ratings among consumer advocacy websites such as the BBB.

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