Many investors from all walks of life recommend that you diversify your retirement account with precious metals. Gold and silver perform well when the stock market is struggling, and they have an economic history spanning thousands of years.
Birch Gold Group helps people buy retirement gold. The company will walk you through the steps to set up your account, connect you with a custodian, help you select your materials, and then ship the package to a secure depository that you choose.
But they aren't the only company to offer these services. So how do you know whether they're a worthwhile firm to trust? It's important to look not just at what their own website says, but also what other sites and past consumers have to say.
We've broken down all the most important things about Birch Gold Group's reputation to help get you started.
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Is Birch Gold Group a Reputable Company?
Birch Gold Group does have a good reputation in the industry. There are multiple factors to take into account, such as their media endorsements, past customer reviews, available services, qualifications, and level of transparency.
The company has been operating since 2003 and has a diverse team of finance professionals at the helm. Many of these professionals have had decades-long experiences in different parts of the finance and precious metals industries, like IBM and Citigroup. They leverage their experience with traditional investments into a convenient, streamlined process for their customers.
Once a transaction has been completed, the company has a Customer Relations Department that follows up with each customer. This department is able to address any follow-up questions and to make sure that there's total customer satisfaction. In the two decades that the company has been in business, they have grown to work with more than 13,000 people across the US.
Birch Gold Group has been endorsed by a number of media publications and celebrities. One of the most prolific examples is Ben Shapiro. Ben Shapiro is a talk show host and podcaster who frequently features experts from Birch Gold. He says that this is the only gold company that he recommends to not just his viewers, but also his close friends and family.
There are third party watchdogs and organizations that evaluate businesses for their integrity. The Better Business Bureau gives Birch Gold an A+, their highest marking. The Business Consumer Alliance gives a coveted AAA rating, which is only achievable by acing every part of their complex algorithm.
Now the question is what kind of reviews their customers have left. For the most part, the online customer feedback is super positive. The BBB website has 71 reviews with a 4.72 star average rating. Consumer Affairs has 4.8 stars on average with over 110 reviews. Trustpilot shows 4.9 stars with 125 reviews, and Birdeye shows a perfect 5 stars with 589 reviews.
You can look through hundreds of different reviews to hear details about client experiences. Many people say that their representatives were extremely patient and forthright, and that they never felt pressured to make a purchase. They also say that the company's educational materials are solid, and that they have competitive pricing offers.
When a company becomes large enough to handle millions of dollars and serve thousands of customers, there will inevitably be some negative feedback. Though the vast majority of online reviews are extremely satisfied, there have been a few complaints here and there.
The BBB website shows that there have been 11 complaints made against the business in the prior three years, four of which were made in the past year alone. Since Birch Gold Group has an A+ rating, we already know that they have made an effort to respond to and resolve each complaint. We can take a look at the company's responses to see how they handle conflict.
Dissatisfaction with Markups
One customer left a complaint in April of 2022 saying that he wanted to protect his retirement savings by purchasing precious metals that were reasonably priced. He made his purchase in March of 2022. According to the customer, the salesperson that he spoke to rushed the process and did not provide adequate information about the products.
The customer said that he felt that he had been tricked because of how the company calculates its pricing. He said that different coins and bars are marked up at different rates, meaning that some deals are better than others. He went on to allege that he was sold gold at up to 35% higher than the spot price when he had initially asked to buy gold products selling at 10% above spot.
The customer said that he had bought multiple gold grams with the expectation that their price would be in line with gold ounces. He did concede that he should have researched the exact product's spot price before he finalized his purchase. But he also added that it took three weeks for the itemized receipt to be sent, and he truly felt that there had been deceptive sales tactics used.
Birch Gold Group responded to say that integrity and honesty are some of the most important values they have as a company, so they wanted to get to the bottom of the issue. But they said that they were having trouble getting in contact with the customer.
They went on to explain that gold grams cost more than ounces because it's more difficult to make them. They also said that some gold products are marked up because their resale value is greater when compared to other bullion.
According to the response, Birch Gold Group uses three methods to explain their pricing in every transaction. The first expectation is that the customer will fully read the transaction and shipping contract prior to signing it and finalizing their purchase. Then the customer will have a recorded phone call in which the representative goes over every single item they bought, along with its price.
Only when the customer agrees to the terms verbally on that recorded phone call is the order officially finalized. Then the third confirmation of the price is the written receipt that is mailed to them after the purchase. The company said that the customer should have brought up any concerns on the recorded phone call so that any confusion could be cleared up and any issues could be rectified.
Finally, the company disputed the claim that the customer's receipt hadn't been mailed for three weeks. They said that they had mailed the receipt promptly, and that any delays by the Postal Service are not their responsibility.
The customer responded to say that he did not want to have a phone call because he was too angry. He also did not accept the explanation about why different gold products cost more. He stated that his sales representative said that the price was comparable with grams and ounces, and he never thought to check whether that was true. He believed that he had been baited into buying an overpriced item.
Birch Gold Group followed up again to say that they had tried repeatedly to contact the customer to work out a solution to the problem, but the customer had failed to respond. They apologized for any confusion that the customer had experienced regarding the transaction, but reiterated that they are extremely transparent about the pricing process.
The company concluded by saying that the customer's claims would generally warrant a dispute with the BBB, since so many of the claims were exaggerated or misrepresented. But they said that they still wanted to work out a solution and that they hoped that the customer would be in contact. Since then, there has been no further word from the customer regarding the issue.
Perceived Loss in Value
There was a complaint written in March of 2022 by a customer who was dissatisfied by their gold IRA. The account had been created and funded in October of the previous year. In the five months since, the customer's account had lost a significant amount of its value in comparison to their initial deposit.
The customer said that every time they contacted the business to ask for information, they were told that there are discrepancies between the account statements and their "actual" value. But they went on to say that they have a decent grasp of the spot price versus markup pricing. The value of gold had risen 10% since their purchase, so they did not understand why their account statement was showing such a dramatic loss.
The customer said that they had tried to get in contact with the company, but they were struggling to speak to a manager or anyone with authority. They stated that the company representatives had acted evasive when they were asked to provide a paper copy of the transaction.
Birch Gold Group responded to say that they had gotten in contact with the customer and had cleared up the misunderstandings. The customer was receiving their account statements through Equity Trust Company, their custodian. These statements follow Equity Trust's policy of showing only the spot price of metals.
But precious metals are always marked up higher than their spot price when they are sold. Birch Gold Group explained that the customer could liquidate their assets for much more than the value listed on their statement. They concluded by saying that they make an effort to explain how Equity Trust organizes their statements, but that the burden is on the custodian to resolve issues like this.
One customer left a complaint in November of 2021 regarding a purchase that had been made in October. At the beginning of October, he had called the company to make a cash purchase of silver and to learn more about the IRA options. When the customer asked to be given a quote for the price, he was told that there wouldn't be a quote until the funds were wired.
However, the sales representative did say that the company acquired its inventory at 2% higher than the spot price and would mark up products to 7% above spot. That's a low and reasonable margin for a purchase. The customer used this formula to determine the price of 1,500 ounces of silver and sent the money over.
Once the funds had reached the company, a new sales representative called to complete the transaction. They said that the prices were different from what had been quoted. Then they said that the customer could not have been given an alternative price because the company doesn't provide quotes prior to the funds transfer.
The customer said that their initial call with the first sales representative should have been recorded, so the conversation could be played back. They didn't want to go through with the transaction at the new price, but because they were worried about the fees for cancellation, they decided to do so. Overall, they were very unhappy about the experience.
Birch Gold Group responded to say that they were able to get in contact with the customer and resolve the issue. They said that the customer's experience was not representative of their policies, and that they cared about customer service. There was a sincere apology offered for the inconvenience that the customer had suffered, even though Birch Gold believed that the situation had been different than described.
The customer stated that they accepted the response and were wholly satisfied with the settlement that was reached. They believed that the representative had truly gone above and beyond and had redeemed the company entirely in their eyes. In fact, the customer said that they would continue to do business with Birch Gold Group for all of their future precious metals needs.
Fees to Get Started
So it's clear that Birch Gold Group is a respected industry leader that works hard to solve any negative feedback. The next question is about their pricing. Different companies have different pricing structures and fees, and you want to make sure that you're making an affordable choice.
In order to use the services, it's recommended that you have at least $10,000 to invest. There will be a flat fee to set up your account of $50, plus a $30 wire transfer fee once you make your first purchase. You will need to pay annual fees to both your custodian and your depository for maintaining your account. Birch Gold Group's partnered custodians and depositories both charge a flat $100 for their services, for $200 total per year.
When you want to sell your precious metals, Birch Gold Group will buy them back without any extra fees. They will typically give a better buyback offer than you'll get from a local dealer. But if you want to use a different dealership to sell your holdings, you can simply have the gold itself mailed to you as a form of distribution.
Birch Gold Group will sometimes run promotions for new customers. As of writing, there's a promotion in which they will cover the setup and maintenance fees for your first year, as long as you're investing at least $50,000.
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