Glenn Beck got it wrong. Coin Industry BBB Ratings Not Full of “F’s”

By now most people, at least in the rare coin and bullion industry, have heard or seen the Anthony WeinerGlenn BeckGoldline controversy play out in the print media and on Fox’s Bill O’Reilly Show.

Putting aside the political theater, I was struck by something Glenn Beck said an exchange on  Mr. O’Reilly’s May 21st show…….

BECK: “Goldline, yes. It’s a company I represent.”

O’REILLY: “That’s a good company, I think.”

BECK: “A+ credit rating from the Better Business Bureau. In fact, The New York Times was called on it, and they said after they saw Anthony Weiner’s report they decided to go back and look at it, and they rechecked it again. This, according to The New York Times, they have an A+ rating. They’ve retained their A+ rating in an industry that is full of F’s”

Really? The coin industry is full of “F rated” companies?

Now, I was always told that my mother drowned all of her stupid children, and having been involved in the rare coin industry for the past 20+ years, I would never suggest that there are not some bad apples in the barrel. But Beck made it sound like Goldline was an island sanctuary in a sea full of sharks.  Having a distaste for hyperbole masquerading as fact, I decided to do our own research of the Better Business Bureau ratings.

Running a Search on Google for “Gold Bullion” and “Gold Coins” we pulled up the ratings for the top search results, and below are the top 20 companies and their BBB ratings:

Blanchard & Co. A+
Gainesville Coins A+
Golden Eagle A+
GoldLine International A+
Apmex A+
CMI Gold & Silver A+
American Gold Exchange A+
Silvertowne A
Swiss America Trading A+
Kitco A- A+
Bullion Direct C-
USA Gold Coins A+
Monaco Rare Coins A
GovMint A+
Austin Rare Coins A+
Auruma Advisors B+
California Numismatic Investments A
Merit Financial A+
Monex F

Funny, that doesn’t look like an industry full of “F’s”. Just one in 20 of the top gold bullion website search results yielded an F Grade, then a lone C-, B+ and A- and the rest A’s or A+’s. Hardly a snake pit of sleazy scheisters and thieves.

Now to be fair, a BBB rating is not a ironclad guaranty that the company is either good or bad. Often times a low rating is the result of a single complaint that was not responded to, a situation that can make an A rating nosedive to a C in the blink of an eye. The BBB has always been more concerned with responsiveness to complaints than their validity, but nonetheless it is one measure of the company’s reputation and standing.

In addition, the sites reviewed are just a small sample of all the firms selling Gold and Silver bullion coins and numismatic items, but based on the generic search terms used and the positions of these companies within the search results, these are representative of the website selections an average user would encounter first.

In reality, the Rare Coin and Bullion business is populated with hard working and honest professionals that overwhelmingly treat their customers with respect and offer a valuable product at a reasonable and fair markup over cost.

As this “drama” unfolds, I suspect that all of the parties involved will be  tarnished in one way or another, but  at least let’s get the facts straight. Mr. Beck’s comments, in defense of his sponsor, were just plain wrong and a mis-characterization of the industry as a whole.

Related posts:

  1. Is There Something Seriously Wrong With The Coin Market ?
  2. The Glenn E. Bergstrom Collection to be offered by Stacks
  3. A wallet full of only two-dollar bills

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