Recently, Representative Anthony Weiner (D-New York) issued a report on Goldline International to the SEC and FTC, claiming that Goldline is guilty of misrepresenting itself to buyers and charging astronomical prices for its precious metals.
The reason Goldline is being attacked? It buys advertising during Glenn Beck’s Fox News television show, and Glenn happens to think gold is a good investment. Since Beck is a harsh critic of the Democratic agenda, something had to be done to tarnish the reputation of him and his advertisers.
The report claims and “investigation” was done by Weiner’s people, but what they’ve done can hardly be called anything near “investigation.” For this reason, Barry Minkow and Fraud Discovery Institute did an investigation into Goldline of their own. The work was completely unpaid, and was simply done out of a desire to set the record straight on the real bad actors here.
I participated in the investigation, giving my opinion on multi-level marketing company Numis Network (which also sells gold and silver coins), and investigating the prices charged by competitors of Goldline for some of the more common coins.
The report on our findings is lengthy, but contains everything you need to verify what we’ve found. There are links to relevant data, and attachments supporting our conclusions.
What did we find about Goldline International? It’s not the fraud. The people investigating on behalf of Weiner are the real frauds, providing only part of the story in their report to the SEC and FTC, apparently in order to make the company look bad (and therefore fulfill Weiner’s political agenda).
Here is a summary of what we found:
- Allegation: Weiner criticizes Goldline because of complaints on the website Ripoff Report lodged by consumers who say Goldline representatives improperly hold themselves out as investment advisors.
- What Weiner didn’t tell you: Ripoff Report says (in response to the consumer complaints) that you can feel completely confident doing business with Goldline. Weiner gave us only half of the story in his report.
- Allegation: Goldline grossly overcharges for its products
- What Weiner didn’t tell you: Our sampling of coins listed in the Weiner report showed that Goldline’s prices were very comparable to those of six competitors. He also forgot to mention that companies are free to set whatever prices they like for their products.
- Allegation: Goldline says they’ll buy back your gold and silver, but doesn’t “guarantee” that
- What Weiner didn’t tell you: It is against the law for Goldline to offer a buyback guarantee. If they offered such a guarantee, they would be in violation of securities laws because their salespeople are not licensed broker dealers.
- Allegation: Goldline salespeople misrepresent themselves and imply that they are investment advisors, which would mean they have a fiduciary duty to those buying from them.
- What Weiner didn’t tell you: In the Risk Disclosure section of Goldline’s website, it very clearly states “Goldline’s employees are not licensed as investment advisors and are not authorized to recommend the purchase or sale of any product or investment other than the products specifically sold by Goldline.”
- Allegation: Goldline has “hidden fees” for things like storage of your gold, mailing your gold to you, and selling your gold.
- What Weiner didn’t tell you: The fees charged by Goldline are anything but hidden. The Goldline website has at least 5 statements about the fees and how they’re calculated
- Allegation: Goldline confuses customers regarding the buyback of their gold.
- What Weiner didn’t tell you: Goldline clearly states that it will buy back gold at their current bid/purchase price. The words “bid” and “purchase” price have a clear meaning and are not in any way confusing.
Fraud Discovery Institute also looked into the backgrounds of the Goldline International executives, and could find nothing sketchy.
What’s the bottom line here? The Weiner report was meant to smear Glenn Beck and Goldline. And he might have been successful if FDI hadn’t been willing to put in countless hours on the issues and getting to the real truth. Goldline International is not the fraud. Weiner is.
The in depth investigaive work shows that Goldline has done a very thorough job covering themselves from the people that they have gauged, It’s very shameful that they spend so much effort coercing people to buy their products at completely obscene markups. The remakably unethical methods they use in their very well orchestrated high pressure phone sales tactics are not too be commended or defended. The caveat emptor excuse is nothing to hide behind when the organization is swindling the elderly on a daily basis. It’s unfortunate that this organization has a proven formula for targeting and taking advantage of people who may not be capable of reading their fine print protective clauses.
Instill fear in your consumer, hit them as hard as you can, and take the money and run.
Regardless of your political views the bottom line is that Goldline’s underlying goal is to rip off the uninformed consumer. It’s a very sad story.
Everything indicated in this report points toward GoldLine’s attempt to confuse customers. The difference between ‘bid’ and ‘purchase’ is very confusing to the sorts of people that goldline targets in their advertisements (ie. ill-informed, gullible people who would buy gold over investing in a gold-index). Also, the fact that the employees are not investment specialists is tucked away in something called the Risk Disclosure agreement–to which I sincerely doubt their target consumers pay much attention. As for the “buy back” guarantee, no one is asking the phone employee to broker the gold buy-back–transfer them to the same legal brokers you sell the gold through, and you will be able to guarantee the purchase. That is, unless Goldline is simply a distribution channel.
All in all, Goldline isn’t really guilty of anything criminal, just ethically wrong. The consumers here are the criminally negligent. Besides, gold has risen to the point beyond which its value makes any sense. I wouldn’t be buying gold now.
Tucker wrote: “The difference between ‘bid’ and ‘purchase’ is very confusing to the sorts of people that goldline targets in their advertisements (ie. ill-informed, gullible people who would buy gold over investing in a gold-index). ”
Let me get this straight. You’re upset because Goldline uses the correct terminology (the words “bid” and “purchase” in describing what they do? Really… how on earth could they be more clear? The bid price is indeed the price at which they purchase gold from the seller (who in this case is the consumer). So basically they use both of the correct words to describe what they’re doing, but you’re upset because you say their customers are stupid?
And you criticize Goldline for their Risk Disclosure statement. It’s not “tucked away.” It’s very easy to find on the website. And incidentally, a statement like that is exactly where the company SHOULD put the important information. But shame on them (according to you) for putting important information in the proper disclosure statement, readily available on their website.
I don’t know what the big deal is about Goldline, I invested about $3000 with them about 2 years ago, and after a year made about $550 profit when I got out from that initial investment.
They were easy to work with, and got no real pressure to do this or that from their account people.
Looks like Weiner is just making a political statement and trying to get attention and make conservatives look bad.
I have invested in other collectibles (furniture, toys and movie) and my Goldline investments ended up much better. So much so that it is still about 30% of my investments.
Buyer beware – read everything, and know the risks – of course companies selling ANY kind of investment opportunities will put the best spin on them. Just ask Goldman Sachs about it.
I called Goldline’s phone number, given on TV, and got a most helpful representative, who, even though I am a widow on a limited budget, not able to buy gold, talked with me pleasantly and in length about ALL the company’s info, and gave me info that I verified as being exactly what they post online! Companies are in the business of making money, though they also, in the gold business, have the obligation to help their customers make money also, and have done so, as you know. They were established in 1960, and have a strong company, that is backed by BBB. At the end of each year, their finances are audited by a reputable auditing agency. I could write more, but this should suffice, besides the fact that I am not a customer, and can’t afford to buy gold, no matter how much Glenn Beck advertises for Goldline, or they send me their ‘materials on investment’ -which, of course, I will read! Weiner simply acted like the ‘left’ in order to ‘squelch’ Glenn Beck. Time will tell just who will ‘squelch’ whom!
One other matter: I wonder why Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, which were POSITIVELY linked to Chris Dodd and Barney Frank were not totally investigated by Weiner or ANYBODY in the government or media (not to mention that they were Democrats as he was….mmmmmm) as to their ‘ethically wrong’ business doings, and Chris and Frank were just ‘let go’ – remaining in the high offices of OUR GOVERNMENT!! I agree with John Davidson all the uproar promoted by Weiner and the far left is simply to make conservatives look bad. Conservatives don’t have to use ‘tactics’ against Democrats – such as Weiner used. They are doing that themselves, quite well!
Please let me add just another ‘news’ alert about Glenn Beck! The left has just put out a health update on Glenn. According to them, Glenn is not REALLY going blind! He just wants ‘higher raitings’ so he just LIED about his eyesight! I think Beck should simply get proof from his doctor, and the ‘lack’ of proof from the far left, (and you can rest in the knowledge that there will be ‘whistleblowers on this happening!) and put them together on Fox! The far left has lied so much they don’t even stop to think before they speak the next lie, their hate is so great! They are digging their own hole which will soon be used for themselves!
Its unbeliveble how these fox news and beck apologist have the integrity of a $2
streetwalker. first of all goldline is being investigated by a repulican L.A. D.A
second don’t belive me or these biscuit eating liers just google goldline complaints or
pissed off consumers but most of you probebly won’t do that because that would take somekind of intergrity for the truth and if you had any you wouldnt be defending goldline,beck or fox news in the first place would you.
How Did the Better Business Bureau Contribute to Alleged Goldline Fraud?
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has normally been deemed by shoppers to be a solid technique to ascertain whether or not an enterprise is trustworthy. For the reason that patrons assume that the organization works inside the public’s finest interest, ratings appreciate a reputation of precision and dependability. Even so, recent reports that the BBB will erase complaints and improve rankings for those firms willing to spend have shaken lengthy standing consumer faith.
BBB details on North American precious metals dealer Goldline International gave solid thumbs up to those planning to invest. Value and top quality appeared unquestionable, using the BBB’s “A” rating. Not till the Santa Monica City Attorney stepped in, did the BBB list Goldline as an “F” prospect, reflecting the 100 or a lot more complaints submitted by former Goldline customers.
Alleged criminal activity includes grand theft by false pretense, bait and switch, elder abuse, false advertising, and conspiracy, such as an approach in which consumers had been offered gold bullion, then pressured to move their dollars to uncommon coins at commissions of sometimes 2000% or more. Compare this towards the standard 15% commission charged by most trustworthy rare coin dealers.
Exactly where did BBB analysis fail? How did the company sustain an “A” rating with a lot of complaints? Investigators allege that the BBB’s position as a consumer-centric focused watchdog organization is an illusion, as high ratings are often purchased and complaints are removed for firms willing to pay the value. This is not an individual problem – examination of BBB rankings for other precious metals dealers in Southern California show the following:
Goldline International, Inc. F* Rating 73 Complaints
Monex Deposit Company A+ Rating 69 Complaints
Capital Gold Group, Inc. A- Rating 14 Complaints
Lear Capital Inc A+ Rating 55 Complaints
Merit Financial Services A+ Rating 47 Complaints
*Change from “A” when Santa Monica City Lawyer filed complaint.
Consumers are coming to comprehend that many corporations with a significant number of complaints have still achieved the BBB’s highest vote of confidence – “A+”. Goldline executives involved within the Santa Monica investigation consist of CEO Mark Albarian, existing CEO Scott Carter, Robert Fazio, Luis Beeli, Charles Boratgis and Stephanie Howard. Even so, accountability has to be shared by the BBB executives who supported these practices with robust ratings. Providers will continue to violate public trust, so long as the BBB enables “pay to play”, as it has for the past 80 years. The leaders of the BBB won’t make adjustments, till the public makes its position identified. These executives in BBB management should be listed with Goldline’s as co-conspirators within the alleged swindle:
Stephen A. Cox (aka Steve Cox) – President/CEO
Beverly Baskin – Senior VP
Genie Barton – Vice President and Director, On the web Behavioral Marketing Program
Rodney L. Davis – Senior VP Enterprise Programs
Joseph E. Dillon – VP and CFO
Victoria Doran – VP Brand & Digital Media
Chris Garver – Senior VP, Chief Information Officer
Frances Henderson – National Director, Privacy Initiatives
Susan Kearney – Senior VP & Chief Marketing Officer
Wayne J. Keeley – VP & Director, CARU
Elaine Kolish – VP & Director Children’s Food & Beverage
Andrea C. Levine – Senior VP, NAD
Brenda Linnington – Director, BBB Military Line
Peter Marimello – VP, Electronic Retail Self Regulation Plan
C. Lee Peeler – EVP & President NARC
Steven Salter – VP, Standards & Services
Anaise Schroeder – VP Human Resources
H. Art Taylor – President & CEO, BBB WGA
Mary Lou Watkins – Senior VP, Chief of Staff
Bennett Weiner – VP, CBBB & COO, BBB WGA
Richard Woods – VP, General Counsel
Vincent L. Gottuso – President, Southland BBB Office
Mary Lou Diaz – Director of Consumer Services, Southland BBB Office
Mr. Tom Bartholomy – President/CEO
Ms. Janet J. Robb – President
Ms. Jan Quintrall – President
Mr. Matthew Fehling – President
Mr. Edward J. Johnson, III – President and CEO
It is up to each one of us to stand up by taking the following actions:
Contact the National BBB Organization: Write towards the Council of Better Business Bureau, 4200 Wilson Blvd, Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22203-1838 – Phone: 703-276-0100 – Fax: 703-525-8277
Contact your state Attorney General: Locate address facts on your state government website, and send your complaint about Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices by the Better Business Bureau.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Use the convenient online form at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.
Americans need to stand together to ensure that this practice isn’t permitted to continue. Put the Better Business Bureau out of enterprise by acting today.