Blanchard Gold, officially branded as Blanchard and Company, is a precious metals dealer. They are one of the most popular options on the market, and they seem to spend a lot on advertising. But are they actually a reputable dealer?
We've taken a look at what Blanchard has to offer. Because they go by both Blanchard Gold and Blanchard and Company, most materials on the website simply refer to the organization as Blanchard.
The company has been in business for more than 45 years. They have enough of a track record that they can be considered a legitimate business. However, they have also garnered a fair number of customer complaints. When choosing the right precious metals dealer for you, it's important to take these into account.
A good precious metals dealer will offer precious metals at a fair price. They will also answer your questions and give you ideal customer service along the way. Blanchard has a rocky reputation in all of these areas. The products you buy will be legitimate, but they might not be at the best price you can find.
In addition, people have raised concerns about the markups on their collectible coins. Collectible coins have a much more flexible price than pure precious metals. Some customers have alleged that Blanchard purposefully overprices their holdings and then upsells the investment opportunity.
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The company specializes in rare collectible coins, palladium, platinum, and gold. Palladium and platinum are available in bullion form, while gold can be purchased as bullion or as coins. There are a variety of different gold coins available.
In addition, the company has services to help roll over your existing IRA or 401(k) into precious metals. Precious metals investment is recommended for retirement holdings because the precious metals market tends to behave inversely from the stock market.
That gives you a cushion of safety. If the market behaves in a volatile way, you know that you will always have a retirement account with value. You don't need to worry that you won't have enough money to live on.
Investment experts recommend investing anywhere from ten to twenty percent of your retirement savings in precious metals. You have to comply with IRS regulations on the investment, including having an account custodian and storage in an approved facility. That means paying annual fees every year that you hold the account.
Blanchard aims to streamline the process, putting you in touch with your custodian and getting your paperwork filled out for you. But there are other gold IRA companies that specialize in this, and they tend to perform better while also having lower fees. Blanchard seems to suffer from its focus on rare coins.
The Better Business Bureau states that Blanchard has been operating since 1975. At first, they offered investment advisory services to educate people about gold. They have been accredited with the BBB since 1982, which means that there is nearly 40 years' worth of BBB data to look at.
Being in business for this long is a big accomplishment, especially in the precious metals industry. Blanchard has been in business for about as long as people have been able to legally own gold in the US. In fact, the founder was part of the movement to let people own precious metals as investments in the 1970's.
There have been a few negative reviews of the company. These are striking because the firm doesn't seem to have a lot of customer interaction on the internet. A lot of people seem to be taking to their computers to report their bad experiences, while fewer are reporting their good experiences.
There are a few potential reasons for this. One of the simplest is that Blanchard's clientele tends toward older people. These might be people who got in on the ground floor of investing back in the 1970s and 1980s. Blanchard states that they aim to cultivate long-lasting client relationships.
The positive feedback does seem to speak to this. A few people have left BBB feedback stating that they've been with the company for years or even decades. They have had consistently good service and received their metals quickly. They say that they'd highly recommend the company.
However, it also seems like Blanchard hasn't been able to keep up with the times. It is very impressive that they were an industry leader in the precious metals industry forty years ago. But today, there are many more modern companies that have more impressive customer service and better levels of expertise.
We have to wonder whether these satisfied customers would be happier if they chose another precious metals dealer. Maybe they don't realize exactly what they're missing.
There's also a chance that Blanchard has actively tried to bury negative reviews by writing their own positive reviews. If that is the case, they haven't done a very effective job of it. That goes back to our point about how the managers behind the firm might not be tech-savvy enough to keep up.
The company's BBB page used to have more complaints, but those have been deleted. People complained about pretty much everything there was to complain about. Some of the topics included:
More recently, the most consistent complaint has been about Blanchard's rare coins. Customers say that the company marks them up using absurd commission rates, so they're sold for twice their actual value.
Blanchard has responded to these accusations. They say that they have never used a 100 percent markup rate for their rare coins. In addition, they say that they've never marked anything up more than 50 percent, either.
The company seems to care about saving its reputation, especially when it comes to their rare coin prices. However, they also don't seem to have made much effort to solve the issues with their consumer base. They merely say that they don't do what the customer has accused them of, and leave it at that.
That means it's really a matter of whether you believe the customer or the company. Personally, we're a little suspicious. There are companies that have a lot more great customer feedback with fewer overall complaints. And reputable companies tend to work with unhappy customers to resolve any potential issues.
Trustlink and Ripoff Report
Trustlink and Ripoff Report are two of the most common third-party watchdog sites for consumers to leave reviews. Ripoff Report allows people to report unsavory business dealings and bad experiences. Trustlink is built to gather reviews of all kinds from consumers who have worked with the company.
Right now, Blanchard does not have a presence on Trustlink. There are no reviews of the company, good or bad. That may be a red flag, as it indicates that they haven't had any clients leave them feedback through the site. That said, it might also be another point to their lack of technical expertise.
On Ripoff Report, there are two complaints filed against the company.
One is the same complaint that's been cropping up everywhere lately: that the rare coins were marked up to much higher prices than their actual value. Since several customers have reported this across several different websites, it does seem to be a common company practice.
The level to which the prices are marked up is difficult to determine, though. Part of the issue is that rare coins aren't priced the same way that bullion is. They need to be appraised first, and the market value is based entirely on what people are willing to bid.
Depending on the changing demand for the coin, the value can soar and plummet seemingly overnight. If every collector is trying to get their hands on a certain coin, the value will be much higher than if there's no one looking to buy.
This makes rare coins a risky investment in general. It's important for people to understand that before they buy.
The other Ripoff Report complaint stated that the company was not transparent with their pricing. They changed the prices of items without consulting the consumer, and they did not allow the consumer to lock in the lower price. This resulted in the consumer paying a higher sum than they had originally been quoted.
That's a fair frustration to have. If you're told how much your purchase is going to cost, you should be able to trust that you'll be paying that price. And if the company has to change the price, they should be transparent about their lock-in policies instead of springing them on you.
The company policies are fairly straightforward and easy to understand.
One policy offers a 10-day satisfaction guarantee. Once you receive your coins, you can return them and get your money back if you have any issues. With the complaints about the wrong products being delivered, this policy was used in the customer resolution.
It's important to note that the policy kicks in after you receive the coins, not after they ship. It can take two weeks for products to ship to different places in the continental US. If you're shipping internationally, it can take even longer.
If you need to trade your precious metals for liquid cash, there is a buy-back policy in place. Blanchard will take back the metals at the current market price. There is some risk to any investment, as it's possible for the value of your precious metals to decrease after buying them.
That said, precious metals do hedge against inflation. Their value tends to increase as the dollar depreciates. Since inflation has been a major issue for retirement savings over the past few decades, people appreciate this advantage.
Blanchard isn't the only company that has a buy-back guarantee in place. There are several other gold IRA distributors that will buy your metals back at market price when you need to liquidate. This makes it easier to transfer your assets in a pinch, so you don't have to settle for a subpar buyer.
Orders are shipped through Fedex, UPS, or USPS. Each order will be confirmed at the time of shipping. Customers are sent a tracking number to keep track of where their package is. Depending on your state, you might need to pay a shipping tax.
You will need to sign for the delivery. If the carrier can't get a signature, they'll give you a slip saying that delivery was attempted. They'll try again two more times. If you're unavailable to sign for the package three different times, it will be sent back to Blanchard instead.
For those who can't sign for their packages, Blanchard can arrange to have the package held at a secure facility instead. You can drive there to pick it up at your leisure.
Every package is discreetly wrapped and has no indication of its contents or the sender. There is also a full insurance policy covering the contents of each package, so you can get your money back if the metals are lost or stolen in transit.
For any order under 300 dollars, there is a flat fee of 23 dollars to cover both insurance and shipping. This remains the same no matter what part of the US you're in. If you order more than 300 dollars worth of product, you get free shipping and insurance.
Blanchard Gold is one of the longest-running precious metals dealers in the US. The founder was part of the push to allow Americans to own precious metals in the 1970's, and the firm has been active since 1975.
Unfortunately, they don't seem to have kept up with the way that the market has evolved. They have precious few positive customer reviews to be found online, and there are a lot of complaints against them.
Consumers say that their purchase policies are misleading and that they overcharge for rare coins. In addition, they don't have specialists in IRA planning like many other firms.
Because of this, we recommend taking your business to a different gold dealer. It's better to work with a company with unimpeachable customer service instead.
Although we do think that Blanchard Gold is a solid company, we believe that there are better companies out there to make your investment with.
Or, continue with Blanchard Gold...