Whether you're new to the precious metals market or an experienced investor looking for more gold, finding the right dealership is vital. There are many businesses that sell gold online. For every legitimate business, it seems like a dozen scams pop up.
Acre Gold is a relatively new investment firm. They claim to offer lower income investors a chance to own their own gold. The setup is a little different from that of other brokerages. But is it better? And is this company actually legit? We've taken a look at what the company offers, along with what other customers had to say.
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About Acre Gold
Acre Gold is a newer company created by a small team of technologically experienced gurus. The concept behind the company was to change how people purchase gold. Instead of selling gold through eBay auction sites or questionable pawnshops, people can access it in an open market.
There are two headquarters in the US, one located in Boise and the other in Santa Monica. The company claims that their customers are given a straightforward, engaging experience while their gold investments are protected.
This is one of the only companies to offer a gold subscription. Instead of buying a set amount of gold every month, you can subscribe for a low cost. As your subscription payments add up, you'll eventually have enough money in your account to purchase pure gold.
Upon reaching the threshold to purchase 2.5 grams of gold, the company automatically ships a 2.5-gram bar of gold discreetly to your home. You don't have to worry about constantly checking prices or savings accounts.
The company doesn't explain what their price is for bullion. The market value can be easily found each day on the internet, so it's strange that they don't tell you how much you're paying. This practice makes it difficult to determine whether your purchase has been marked up beyond its value or not.
It is extremely difficult to find gold available at the market price. Every dealer will mark it up somewhat. Good gold retailers won't mark the bullion up more than five percent, and they should also give you free shipping.
Fees and Subscriptions
Acre Gold functions by making a stockpile of physical gold. Since the economic uncertainty of the past year has led to an increased demand for precious metals, they've done their best to keep gold in stock. Despite this, sometimes they've run out.
Every bar of gold is given a price tag. But the company doesn't tell you what it is. All you know is that once you reach the price tag, you'll get the gold.
For people on a tight budget, there are 30 and 50 dollar subscription packages. You can flexibly save up money in your account over the course of several months. That makes gold investment accessible to people who might otherwise not be able to meet minimum investment requirements.
Other clients might choose the 100 dollar package. With this, you pay 100 dollars every month to save up for a five-gram bar of gold. Once your account reaches the threshold for a five-gram bar, it will be shipped to your home. Whatever funds remain will be credited to your account, so they will go toward your next purchase.
Is Acre Gold a Scam?
Acre Gold is technically a legitimate business. They do everything they claim they will, and they sell the products that they claim to sell. However, there are several red flags that make this company an ill-advised bet for your investments.
The company is not accredited through the Better Business Bureau, which indicates that they lack credibility. In addition, there have been a whopping 19 total complaints filed over the last three years. Fifteen of those complaints happened in the last year.
Of the 19 complaints, 11 were related to issues with a product or service. Four were related to advertising and sales. Three were related to delivery problems, and one was related to billing and collections.
Multiple reviews state that the company is purposefully obtuse when it comes to their sales policy. They feed customers misinformation and then don't care enough to solve the issues that arise. Scam watchdog sites have actually pointed to the policies as potential malice.
One unhappy client alleges that the whole setup is a deliberate scam. They paid their subscription every month, but they were not given access to any data about how much money they'd put in or how much gold they could buy.
While we can't prove that the company deliberately scams people, we do think that the lack of transparency is suspicious. Even if they aren't scamming their customers, they aren't giving people the peace of mind that they deserve. Multiple other reviews tell people to be cautious when investing with this company.
In addition to the customer who alleged that the entire company was a scam, there have been other complaints. An alarming number of these complaints occurred within the last year. That's especially notable because the company doesn't have a lot of other online reviews of their services.
One review says that the customer signed up to save toward a gold purchase bit by bit. The person was paying 50 dollars per month, plus a small processing fee for the Chase bank transfer.
This customer first began investing in September of 2020. Their bank account had had their subscription deducted for every month until December. However, they were not able to access any online dashboard to look at the savings they had or the gold they could purchase.
They said that they were planning to talk to a lawyer. Their plan was to take legal action to recover their lost money.
Another reviewer said that they kept paying monthly fees to Acre Gold with the goal of purchasing a 2.5 gram bar. Once they got to the level where they should have been given the bar, they didn't hear anything from the company. Days went by as they attempted to contact the customer service department.
This wasn't just a case of the customer's emails not being answered, either. The emails were all returned to the customer with a notice saying that they did not have a valid domain name. The person was not able to find a phone number to call for customer service.
The customer had to dig deep in order to find the physical address of the company. Once they did, they stated that they planned to send a legal notice to the premises if they did not receive a response. Their complaint with the BBB was their attempt to solve the issue before needing to bring in litigation.
Yet another person cited the poor customer service for a different reason. They had been trying to cancel their subscription, rather than buy any gold. The customer service representatives refused to respond. The person kept having fraudulent charges put on their credit card.
This person said that they never authorized Acre Gold to charge their card. It's unclear whether they ever made a purchase, or whether the company used their card completely without permission. The customer had tried to email the company four times and had not gotten any response.
One complaint said that the company never gave the customer the information they were promised. They didn't get any info about the gold marketplace or their account holdings. Like many of the other complainants, this customer stated that the company utterly failed to respond to any and all emails.
In addition, the customer said that Acre Gold claimed they would give ongoing information about the progress toward a purchase. Instead, there was radio silence. The person never got access to an account or to any information about their holdings.
Red Flags to Be Aware Of
The poor customer reviews and consistently bad service are just the beginning. There are other red flags that make this company a questionable option for your investment.
One of the biggest problems is with people who have struggled to close their account. There are complaints alleging that the customer tried at least four times to close the account because their credit card was being charged erroneously.
That means that even after you pay 20 dollars in cancellation fees, it's still difficult to close your account. You have to get in contact with a customer service representative, and they don't respond to their emails. As time goes on, your card might be subject to more fraudulent charges.
It's a huge red flag when people note that their cards have been charged without their consent. Even if the company did technically have the right to do so, there should never be hidden fees and subscriptions in an investment company. A good company will be transparent about their fees and pricing.
A good company will also make it easy to cancel your subscription. Customer service representatives should help you with every aspect of your transactions, not just the ones that make the company money.
Another red flag is that the management doesn't tend to handle people's accounts responsibly. The information that the company provides seems to contradict people's actual experiences. The company says that people will get regular updates on their holdings, but complainants say that hasn't happened.
When you do make a purchase, your receipt will have a "Manage Subscription" link. Clicking this link will bring you to a client portal, which will show you your account and transaction history. The company says that if a customer is unable to find this, they should look in their spam folder.
Though it is relieving that there is some way to look at your account information online, it's strange that the company hides it. They make no effort to help people recover their lost accounts or access their account portals. Such an issue seems like it would be easy to resolve by answering people's questioning emails.
So the final red flag is the lack of support. The company simply doesn't seem to care if their customers have issues with their accounts. There's no phone number to call, and you only have a small chance of getting a response to your emails.
Another frustrating thing is that the support team does not give detailed answers to questions, even when you can get a response. For example, they don't tend to give solid information about the price of bullion from day to day. According to the company, this information is not provided because of how the price of gold fluctuates.
But there are other gold investment companies that post their prices online every day. In addition, you can get a basic quote from any investment company, even if they don't publish their prices on their website. So the lack of pricing transparency is confusing and suspicious.
Pros & Cons of Acre Gold
Acre Gold has an interesting overall setup. They say that they help people invest in gold when they don't have much money. By making monthly payments, you'll eventually save up enough to have your gold purchases automatically shipped to you.
However, there's a lot to be desired with the company's management. Not only are they difficult to contact, but they also seem to purposefully obfuscate information. It's hard to find the account portal for your holdings, and some customers have reported that their cards have been fraudulently charged.
Overall, the poor management and lack of transparency don't bode well. They make it seem like the company doesn't care about anything except getting your money. Maybe the people behind the curtain have good intentions, but that doesn't count for anything when they're managing your hard-earned cash.
We don't recommend investing with this company. Instead, it's better to work with a dealer you can trust. Look for options with excellent customer service reviews and a good industry reputation. You can save your money over the months the same way you would with Acre Gold, and then make a purchase once you have enough.
Although we do think that Acre Gold is an OK company, we believe that there are better companies out there to make your investment with.
Or, continue with Acre Gold...