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A-Mark Precious Metals is one of the many options available if you want to purchase precious metals online. But it's important to find the dealer that best suits your needs. Most importantly, you need to make sure that you buy from someone with reputable policies.
What do you need to know about A-Mark before you make an investment?
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About A-Mark Precious Metals
One of the most important notes is that A-Mark is a wholesaler. They sell large amounts of precious metals to dealerships and institutions at low prices, allowing those customers to turn a profit. If you want to work with them, you'll need to be willing to spend large amounts of money.
That said, the company has acquired several smaller subsidiaries that can handle individual precious metals transactions. For example, there's Goldline International and Provident Metals. They are willing to make a recommendation for the best gold dealership in their network for individuals.
A-Mark is one of the largest precious metals platforms on the market, and they've been in business for longer than almost any other company. Having operated since 1965, the company offers a variety of precious metals bullion, copper bullion, and numismatic rarities.
The company is broken down into three main categories:
As an international company, they have clients that include dealers, manufacturers, mints, financial institutions, collectors, eCommerce platforms, and investors. Any person or entity with a reason to buy precious metals can find a branch of A-Mark to do so.
The wholesale category, which is the company's main brand, buys metals from both private and government mints. They are authorized to purchase coins from the US Mint and sell them to consumers. Since the coins come directly from the mint, you don't have the markup that comes with a middle man.
In addition to the US Mint, the company works with government mints in the UK, South Africa, China, Canada, Mexico, Austria, and Australia. There are over 200 products available on the company's marketplace. Not only do they sell coins and bullion for investors, but they also sell industrial metals to refiners and fabricators.
A-M Global Logistics
A-M Global Logistics is a subsidiary of A-Mark Precious Metals. This logistics and transportation company is used to help with storage and processing. You can choose from a variety of managed storage options, or you can have your metals securely shipped to the location of your choice.
The lending part of the company is also run through subsidiaries rather than partner companies. The Collateral Finance Corporation company has been licensed in California to act as a financial lender. They create liquidated loans that are secured using your existing precious metals.
The other part of the lending tree is AM Capital Funding, which helps add security to these loans.
Is A-Mark Precious Metals a Scam?
A-Mark Precious Metals has been in the precious metals industry for a significant amount of time. They're a well established presence, and they do seem to have the products they offer. Therefore, they can't be considered a scam.
However, there are some major red flags that you should be aware of.
First of all, it's difficult to find any reliable customer reviews of the company. There are a few reviews on Yelp, most of them positive. Strangely, the Better Business Bureau has neither accredited nor rated them. An unrated business is one that hasn't provided enough information for the BBB to evaluate.
You'd think that such a long-lived business would have some kind of rapport with the BBB. But there aren't any complaints or reviews on their page. It's like as far as the BBB is concerned, this company barely exists.
The Business Consumer Alliance has given them an AAA rating, the top rating that a business can score. This seems to indicate some level of legitimacy. However, BCA ratings factor in things like the length of time that the business has been around and the licensing information. So it's possible that the BCA doesn't know anything about the company's customers either.
Just like the BBB, the BCA website doesn't have any customer reviews or complaints. It does have quite a few inquiries, as it seems like other people are trying to find out what experiences past customers have had.
The biggest red flag, though, is that there are some terrible employee reviews on both Indeed and Glassdoor. The employees know the most about the company's management. And if they're unhappy at their job, they'll be unlikely to give you the kind of service you deserve.
Let's take a look at the customer reviews on Yelp first, and then examine the employee reviews.
Yelp is basically the only place that we've been able to find customer reviews of this business. Most online precious metals dealers have feedback on sites like Trustlink, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
The company has been claimed by Yelp, indicating that they are active and checking the page. There are 5 reviews on the page currently. The company has an average of 3.5 of 5 stars, which would be good -- except that four of the reviews have 5 stars, and one has 1 star.
Basically, with this tiny sample size, it looks like 20 percent of the customers were unsatisfied. Negative reviews make a big difference when there are so few customer experiences to go through online.
One positive review came from someone who said they have worked with the company for multiple years. They use A-Mark's wholesale services to purchase gold for their own dealership. The customer went on to say that the company was knowledgeable about the wholesale market, but people shouldn't contact them to make a purchase unless they want to get involved in wholesaling.
According to this customer, the people who do direct work with the company are business owners who always make six figure transactions. The company has some smaller retail subsidiaries that handle individual consumer transactions, rather than dealing with those directly.
Another positive reviewer said that the customer had worked in the industry for about a decade and respected the company because of their size and good service.
The third positive review states that the company is very transparent about how they are a wholesaler, and that they also offer to connect individuals with dealers for small transactions. Apparently there was a problem with this being unclear and upsetting before.
Finally, the fourth positive review stated that the company is large enough to move hundreds of thousands of dollars in precious metals every day. They are able to be choosy about the clients they take on, because they have enough business that the loss of one potential client isn't a huge deal.
Now for the bad review.
This review was written by the wife of an employee who worked at Goldline International for over two decades. Goldline was acquired by A-Mark Precious Metals a few years ago and became one of its individual subsidiaries. When A-Mark took over the company, the employee left the company.
The reviewer stated that her husband was lied to. She said that she had been trying to talk to A-Mark's CEO all day, but she wasn't getting through. The company didn't publish any phone numbers or emails for anyone on the board of directors or upper management. This made is especially hard to hold anyone accountable.
The reviewer said that A-Mark and Goldline are both companies that take advantage of investors. Her husband believed that not only was he being cheated of his money, but the clients were being cheated of theirs. The CFO and CEO make money, but no one else does.
She did not go into further details about her husband's work experiences or the lies he was told. She simply said that consumers should be wary because the CEO of A-Mark doesn't care about anything except his own salary.
When you look at job websites like Indeed and Glassdoor, you hope to see that a company has more than four stars. No company is perfect, but good working environments have higher ratings. The better the employees feel about going to work, the better the service they'll offer you.
A-Mark Precious Metals has a handful of reviews on both Indeed and Glassdoor. While they aren't universally terrible, there are an alarming number of bad reviews.
On Indeed, the company has a rating of 2.6 out of 5 stars, indicating generally unhappy employees. The average is taken from nine reviews. Only one review gives the company five stars, while three give the company one star.
There's also a more detailed breakdown of the rating. The highest rating was the pay and benefits at 3.2 stars. The lowest was the management at 1.8 stars. It's not a good sign when a precious metals industry isn't paying their employees enough to make it to more than four stars, and it's definitely not good if the employees say that company is mismanaged.
The featured review on Indeed has been selected due to its helpfulness and evenhandedness. It gives the company 3 out of 5 stars. The reviewer kept it short and sweet. The employee said that the hours were long and the pace was too fast, while the management was too lazy to help at all.
The employee went on to say that it would be best to avoid employment at this company to keep from getting a headache.
There's a one star review with more details. This person said that the company was horribly mismanaged. The employees worked up to 6 days a week with 12 hour shifts, and their managers expected perfect performance anyway. Everyone was constantly stressed about the work.
The employee said that there was a constant feeling of being targeted, like if you made a mistake you'd get fired immediately. The company didn't create schedules for breaks or lunches. Apparently they also fired people for getting sick and having family emergencies that required them to leave work early.
Another former employee said that the company refused to respect state COVID guidelines in the office. There was no concern for the safety or health of the team. The office had a COVID outbreak due to the poor safety procedures, and none of the management seemed to care.
The third one-star review cited horrible management as well. The person said that no one on the management team listened, and managers constantly contradicted themselves. The only pro they had to list was the healthcare plan.
The one five-star review comes from an outside contractor who was brought into the company to do a technical job. They had a good experience, but they also didn't need to work under the management's thumb.
On Glassdoor, the company has a rating of just 2.6 stars. Only thirty-four percent of the employees say that they approve of the company CEO, and 22 percent say they'd recommend employment to a friend. Nearly every employee has indicated a high level of dissatisfaction and stress.
The Glassdoor reviews don't have as much detail as the Indeed ones, but they seem to echo the same sentiments. People say that the company is badly managed, that their managers are not helpful, and that the workload is extremely stressful. There is a high level of burnout and turnover without much apparent care for the employees.
Pros and Cons of A-Mark Precious Metals
A-Mark Precious Metals has made a solid effort to establish itself as a go-to wholesaler for precious metals. But it's hard to find information about what actual clients have to say. On top of that, there's a lot of evidence that the company is horribly managed behind closed doors.
You don't want to work with a company that treats its employees badly. Not only is it a moral issue, but you'll end up getting subpar service from an exhausted and overworked individual. It's much better to invest with a company that wants their employees to succeed.
Overall, we can't recommend this company. There are other wholesalers in the US that have a much better industry reputation and business practices. And if you want to buy individual precious metals, there are plenty of reputable companies for that, too.
We believe that there are much better companies out there to make your investment with.
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