Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Gold And Silver Buyers Beware

     This piece will remain at the top of the blog for a few days, to ensure that all visitors see it.

     On November 4, 2015, I ordered a large quantity of silver from Northwest Territorial Mint, a company based in Washington state. Their representative gave me a projected delivery date of January 8, 2016. I wired the payment to them later that day.

     By February 12, 2016 I was concerned and more. My silver had not arrived. Neither had I received word from the vendor about why it had not been shipped. In reply to my complaint, their representative wrote back as follows:

     Thank you for your inquiry. We are continuing to ship all orders in the order of payment clearance as quickly as possible. We do apologize for the extended delay and we do appreciate your patience!

     At this time you do qualify for a full refund if you choose to liquidate your order. The refunded amount would be at the higher price of either the price you paid or the current market rate at the time you contact us to lock in that market price. You also have the option to have your order refunded and immediately applied to a new order. This would enter you into the shipping queue a new but also allow you to take advantage of the lower market rates we have been seeing recently. If you choose one of these options please call us at 1-800-344-6468 and let the receptionist know you are looking for a refund, they will connect you to the correct department.

     If you choose to continue to wait for your order please be assured that we will ship it as quickly as possible. Based on the orders that are currently shipping, I would anticipate your order being filled within the next several weeks (approximately 5-7 weeks) or so. Please understand that this is an estimated time frame and shipment will be made at the earliest time possible.

     I elected to wait, as the product I’d ordered was unavailable from other vendors.

     Yesterday -- five months since the original order and payment for it – I called the vendor again. I was told that:

  • The person who wrote the above reply to me “had left the company;”
  • The company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy;
  • The owner had suffered a large judgment against him personally;
  • No silver would be shipped and no refund would be made.

     Despite all that, as of yesterday morning Northwest Territorial Mint was still accepting orders.

     Read this article from the Federal Way Mirror for more details.

     Because of the steady deterioration of the dollar, an unprecedented number of Americans have begun to acquire gold and silver as protective assets. That’s attracted an unprecedented number of persons and firms into the precious-metals business. Some of those persons and firms are thieves. Unfortunately, they aren’t discovered or charged nearly as often as they should be. When they are discovered, they don’t get nearly as much publicity as they should get.

     It appears that Ross Hansen, the owner of Northwest Territorial Mint, has been running a pyramid scheme of an unusual kind. I’m out quite a lot of money for having been taken in by it. Let my experience serve as a warning to you.


doubletrouble said...

Sorry to hear of your troubles Fran; I too buy the shiny. I once checked out that seller (good pricing), but was put off after a phone conversation in which I was told that "in stock" didn't mean "on hand". Let's hope that your experience will caution others.

Anonymous said...

I had problems with them in the past.
These guys are great.

Avraham said...

Thank you for the information. I have thought about that kind of purchase before but it seemed to me that I could not rely on the local people to supply a good product.

Jim in Alaska said...

To suggest an alternative, I've been buying from JM Bullion with free shipping and no problems.

Unknown said...

Sorry to hear about this, Fran. I live just a few miles from their Federal Way office. I also buy silver eagles on a regular basis. Twice I tried to buy from them in person in the office and, even with cash in hand, they wanted to take my money and make me wait for delivery. The whole thing just didn't feel right. I've been dealing with BGASC.com for a couple of years now and have been very satisfied. They are in California I believe. Good luck to you. Maybe your credit card company has some sort of fraud protection on purchases. A bank as an unsecured creditor would probably swing a heavier stick than an individual.

Anonymous said...

Fran -
Anyone can be "taken". I would
caution against so many eggs in one

Anonymous said...

Ross Hansen is a former federal prison inmate. Here is a blast from the past worthy of a read:


Jonathan H said...

I'm sorry to hear of your problems. I have not dealt with them, however I have had disappointing service from another bullion dealer.
A few years ago when gold took a big drop, I ordered from a a company I hadn't dealt with before since they had the best price and said they had it in stock, which at the time many dealers did not. 3 weeks later they called to verify my credit card info and they didn't see a problem with taking weeks to ship an order that they claimed was in stock and could ship immediately. I would name them, but I don't remember which of 2 companies it was and don't want to name the wrong one.

My recent orders have all been through American Precious Metals Exchange, www.apmex.com - they have GREAT customer service, competitive prices, fast and reasonable (and often free) shipping; I don't even look anywhere else online anymore for bullion.

Anonymous said...

Northwest Territorial Mint was a long term advertiser on Survival Blog. There are two pages of archived posts promoting Northwest Territorial Mint. Given that "Ross Hansen is a former federal prison inmate.", something that I did not know, I find the Survival Blog promotions disturbing.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear of the THEFT of your hard earned money. I almost got caught up in something like this many years ago. The company had a slick brochure and great marketing. In the end it was a scam. Luckily I did not bite. The little man in my gut put out the alarm. Now I only buy locally from a reputable dealer. I hand him cash, he hands me my metals. Transaction complete and both parties satisfied.

Anonymous said...

(You may not want to post this in the comments, but I'll let you decide.)

If you'd like to by-pass all the roadblocks being thrown up by the usual miscellaneous employees, clerks and cashiers and go right to the source, here are a couple of numbers. Sometimes that approach works to get money back in situations like this (I'm a retired fraud investigator). The numbers were good a year or so ago (he personally gave them to me)and I assume they still are. I do know he moved all or part of his mint to Vegas at some point, so the desk number may or may not be at his Vegas place.

Ross Hanson
Desk (personal line): 253-833-7780
Cell: 253-261-6393

Best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

No problems in some forty years of dealing with Larry, both buying and selling:




JWMJR said...

But local! Depending on the he state and the quantity you purchase you may or may not be liable for state sales tax. I lived and worked in Maryland for eight years. As long as I purchased over $1000.00 worth of coins and payed in cash, the purchase was exempt from state tax. I now have my son, who still lives there purchase for me and bring the coins home when he visits.

Bellator said...

Your best bet to acquire legal silver or gold is to drive to a major metro and buy from a high volume over the counter dealer. You can normally buy at a fixed percentage over "spot" price -- often in the range of 4% - 6%. You can buy coins or bars. Risk is too high when you attempt to buy physical metal over the Internet.

JG said...

Their recent comment to you on not shipping metal or sending refunds is temporary. And the fact they are continuing to take orders is normal.

The bankruptcy law requires them (actually, a Chapter 11 Trustee in this case) to address the issue of the people who are owed money. They have lots of financial paperwork to file by April 18. There is a Creditors' Meeting on May 11. Chapter 11 bankruptcies are "reorganization" which means that the company tries to continue running as normal, while addressing what they owe.

I would encourage you to go to http://about.ag/NWTMint.htm as I am covering news on NWT and helping out creditors there (as I did with Tulving and Bullion Direct).