A Texas-based coin seller claims to be authorized by Congress to sell for a limited-time $5 American Eagle Gold to the public, official United States government gold at cost.
What’s it mean? Coin collector ads may be misleading if you don’t read the fine print. The Austin, Texas-based U.S. Money Reserve advertisement appearing in Wednesday’s (Sept. 18, 2013) includes fine print.
Better Business Bureau first contacted this company in February 2011 regarding its print advertisements appearing in the St. Louis Post and the Cincinnati Enquirer. BBB also questioned claims on the company’s website, www.usmoneyreserve.com. As a result of this review the company has agreed to modify or discontinue some claims.
However, as of March 2013, some advertising concerns remain outstanding. Specifically, the general layout of this company’s U.S Gov’t $5 Gold Eagle Coins “at cost” advertisements could imply an affiliation with the U.S. Government. The company’s print ads mentions of “Congress Public Law 99-185.” The advertisements do include a fine print disclaimer indicating the company is not affiliated with the government or U.S. Mint. BBB requested the company make the disclaimer more prominent and easy to read and further requested the company discontinue the use of the illustration.
The company responded by stating it believes the disclaimers are understandable and readable to the normal customer and stated that it would not discontinue the illustrations or modify the layout. BBB remains concerned that the overall layout or impression of the printed advertisement could imply some affiliation with the U.S. Government.
BBB Code of Advertising states that time limit sales and price-reduction offers should be rigidly observed. BBB requested that the company clarify whether or not this offer was temporary, final or ongoing as the offer appeared regularly in the company’s advertising. The company responded by stating that the offer is for new, current-year bullions at the company’s current at-cost price. The company further stated that the “final release” referred to in the advertisement is the final release of the coins at the stated price.
BBB requested the company clarify its advertising to make it clear that the “limited time” referred to the current at-cost price and to discontinue claiming “final release” unless there was a sincere and imminent possibility that the opportunity to purchase coins at cost would not be offered again. The company’s Sept. 18, 2013, “U.S Gov’t Gold Eagle Immediate at-Cost Release”advertisement in the Idaho Statesman shows claims have been modified.
BBB offers the following tips when ordering coins and currency through the mail:
- Read all advertising and marketing materials carefully to understand exactly what you will be receiving. If you have any questions, ask the company directly.
- Be wary of words that show that an item is valuable or will increase in value. There are no guarantees on the appreciation of coins or other collectibles.
- Make sure you understand any extra fees such as processing or mailing costs.
- Make sure you understand the company’s refund policy if you are not satisfied.
- Compare prices online or with a local coin dealer.
- Pay by credit card when possible in case you want to challenge the purchase.
- Check a company’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org or at 208-342-4649.
Business at its Best, a television show produced by BBB serving the Snake River Region, talked about the qualities of dealing with a local coin dealer when buying or selling coins..