I recently wrote an article about how I'm back. I'm back in two ways... First, I'm here writing new articles and posts on GoldWhy.com! Second, I'm buying gold this year, in 2014. These actually go hand-in-hand since when I'm buying I like to write about my experiences. When I'm not buying (like in some of the recent years with higher gold prices), I don't have quite as much to share. Sometimes, when I'm buying gold I make mistakes or just flat out have a bad experience. While I hate going through such experiences, I try to embrace them and learn as much as possible. Today, I wanted to share one such experience, an awful one that was really recent. I'm still upset about this one, really upset!
I've been buying gold for a very long time. My experience dates all the way back to the early 2000s. I've had numerous good/great experiences, and have also had my fair share of poor experiences (some worse than others). For example, I once purchased a 1-ounce Johnson Matthey gold bullion bar without an assay certificate, oops! These bad experiences are somewhat my own fault, but honestly also the fault of the dealer/store selling the bullion since the consumer will never know as much as someone selling these coins for a living. Do the little guy a favor, and be fair when you're selling gold coins/bars, people!
Buying Gold In 2014: The Worst Experience I Have Had Buying Gold
Recently, I had a bad, horrible, awful experience buying my new one-ounce gold bullion Krugerrand. You would think I have learned so much over the years that mistakes/bad experiences don't happen anymore, not really! I guess I attribute this experience to the fact that I've been out of the market a few years (with the high gold bullion prices which have since corrected) and that I'm fresh back into the market. Maybe, I've forgotten a few things since I last purchased gold. Also, as mentioned above, I blame the store. I certainly learned from this experience, and will never be going back to this particular pawn shop/store. Let me share my story to help you avoid the same experience!
Gold Buying Mistake 1: I Bought In a Busy, Chaotic Environment
So I was in the market for a new coin (as was my wife), we made buying gold to start off 2014 a family event! We decided to head on over to our local pawn shop slash jewelry store slash coin store. When we got there, the place was busy and chaotic. At that point, we should have known to turn around and leave. Advice to those reading: Don't buy gold coins in a chaotic environment, you're dealing with big money. Take your time and be prepared to walk out if it's too crazy for you. Unfortunately, we didn't.
Gold Buying Mistake 2: I Bought From an Unfriendly, Unhelpful Salesperson
So, we told the gentleman we wanted to buy some gold coins and gave him our wish list. I personally mentioned I wanted an older Krugerrand. I asked, "Can I please see a few of the coins so I can pick the particular one I want? After all, I like coins in perfect condition, with no scratches." The gentleman: "No you cannot see the coins. None of our coins have scratches." Red flag number two: I should have known better to leave at this exact moment. I'm buying in a chaotic environment, cannot think straight in the midst of this huge financial decision, and have a salesperson who cannot even show me the coins! Recommendation two: Do not buy from unfriendly, unhelpful salespeople. Be ready to leave the store. And, it gets much worse from here...
Gold Buying Challenge 3: The Salesperson Wanted Our Personal Info and Encouraged Us To Lie
So we finally decide to move forward, against our better judgment. Next, the sales person says we need to fill out paperwork with our name and address. Personally, I enjoy buying gold coins anonymously, if possible. Even though I keep my gold securely in my safe deposit box, I really don't want anyone knowing my business. I keep my financial dealings quiet, especially when it involves such a sensitive topic as precious metals. The sales associate says that the paperwork is not audited by the government/anyone else. It's just for their use. He starts winking pointing to some sign on the wall and basically hinting that we write fake information on the paper. He keeps saying nobody audits it and we could write anything there. I do not like this at all. I do not ever lie, it's all about honesty in this life. My wife feels the same way. Red flag number three: Shady salespeson is telling us to lie.
Gold Buying Mistake 4: I Started Freaking Out
At this point, I'm confused... I'm getting mixed up and so my wife decides to fill out the paperwork. (We're buying together.) Unfortunately, she does not know the address of our P.O. Box so she starts putting our home address. By the time I notice, it's too late and the salesperson has the paperwork. I start freaking out and make a scene, which definitely makes the experience worse and does not score me points with my wife. I'm not perfect, and never claim to be! The pressure is high and I literally have $1,500 cash in my pocket to buy a coin, which I thought I could buy anonymously (the whole point of the cash!). People are all around. This experience sucks! I'm freaking out!
Gold Buying Mistake 5: I Thought It Couldn't Get Worse, and Kept Going
I ask the salesperson if I can have the paper back. I want to change the address. He says, "No." After a long time of haggling and scene-making, he starts a new paper and I write in our P.O Box. However, he never gives us the old one, and takes delight in having power over us. He tears up the old one, but just throws it in the regular trash. Great! Now everyone will have our home address and think we have gold there. Even though we do not (it's in my safe deposit box), it doesn't matter. I want to protect our personal security! Tip to you: Try not to buy gold where they ask for your address and personal info. I can understand this if you're selling, but not if you're buying. If they do need your info, make sure they're very reputable. At this time, we just finish it up since we thought all the damage is already done, but it's not.
Gold Buying Mistake 6: I was Unaware of My Surroundings, and May Have Been Videotaped
As we're walking out of the store, my wife says the kid next to us was videotaping the whole thing. She had only noticed when it was too late. He had his mom's cell phone and was clearly videotaping. We are now worried our personal info (with our address) is videotaped and on the Internet. The mom and kid next to us were looking at jewelry, but maybe it was just a scam. They sure seemed suspiciously close. Maybe it was a cover so the kid could sneak a videotape of unsuspecting victims? Tip to you: Make sure nobody is close by or videotaping when you are buying gold. Respect your privacy and be ready to pause/cancel any transaction that does not feel right.
Conclusion: Don't Get Discouraged, and Learn From My Experience and Mistakes
I feel like an idiot. I'm a veteran gold buyer of 10+ years and have a very popular gold website (GoldWhy.com). How could this have happened? Well, like I said, this is the first time I'm buying gold in a very, very long time. I assumed it would be easy, and had forgotten to keep my guard up the entire time. I also went to the wrong place, a busy pawn shop. Next time, I'm buying on the Internet (somewhere reputable like Blanchard) or at a gold coin shop (not a pawn shop). Next time, I'm not going to be afraid to walk out at the first sign of trouble. You win some, you lose some. I will not be in a rush next time and will only buy if it's a clam environment with a helpful salesperson.
It's now been over a month since this experience. While it was a horrible experience, I try to look at the positives. I learned a lot. I'm more careful because of it. I'm a savvy gold buyer now, and will not make the same mistakes twice. Also, I'm a bit less worried than I was. Time heals all worry, and time has passed. I hope you learn from my personal situation and avoid the same challenges the next time you buy gold. Gold is amazing and don't let this scare you. Nobody said this stuff was easy, and that's exactly why I'm passionate about GoldWhy.com. It's all about spreading the knowledge I learn through great experiences and also challenges, like this one. Learn from me and keep your guard up next time you are buying gold!
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