Letters to the Editor
APMEX Rips Off Faithful Customer with $285 Fee for Not Sending in Check
May 27, 2011
APMEX Rips Off Faithful Customer with $285 Fee for Not Sending in Check (May 27, 2011)
Date: Fri, May 27, 2011
I am sure you are aware that silver coins are very much in demand today. I have been buying as much silver as I am able to afford and my company of choice has been APMEX
[American Precious Metals Exchange http://www.apmex.com/]
I am writing to you in hopes that you could post this in your letters to the editor, so that others buying silver can avoid the recent problems I have fallen into concerning APMEX. I have purchased several thousand dollars worth of silver coins over the past year and have had no problems, but when I made my last order of over a thousand dollars, I made the mistake of checking, or not unchecking a box on APMEX's order form that says I would be sending a personal check. I knew the silver I ordered was in short supply and APMEX stated there would be a short wait until they could fill the order.
After about a month without word from APMEX, I decided to change my order to a different APMEX product. Upon signing into my account, I found that my order had been canceled by APMEX and I had been charged 285.00 dollars. I called APMEX and asked for an explanation. The representative I talked to said they canceled my order due to non payment and the charge was a non payment charge. I explained to the woman that I meant to pay with a credit card, as I had with all my past orders, and if she would credit my account the 285.00 dollars I would replace the order and give her my credit card number at that time. She refused, and said there was nothing she could due for me. I explained to her that I had placed several thousand dollars worth of business with APMEX in the past and was planning future orders on top of the order I wanted to make at that time and she still refused.
I told her I had not so much as received a phone call, or an email asking why I had not sent payment, if I had, I would have explained that I intended to pay with my credit card, which they have on file and the order could have proceeded. She said they were mostly an internet based company and didn't make many phone calls. I guess that means APMEX thinks internet companys do not have to give good customer service. I told her I would be disputing this charge with my credit card company. In essence, if APMEX is successful in getting this 285.00 dollar charge from my card then they have preferred to steal 285.00 dollars from me rather than take a legitimate thousand dollar order, and any future orders I would have made.
I know in some states they are considering taking finger prints and identification for anyone buying silver, or gold. I wonder it this very poor excuse for a business model from APMEX is also a way to harass buyers of precious metals. If so, APMEX is playing both sides of the fence and is a company patriots should avoid.
I understand Ken if you do not want to post my rant. I wouldn't bad mouth a company if I hadn't been grievously treated by them. I have been running my own business for 28 years now and there is no way I could treat customers, especially repeat customers in such a manor and expect to survive. So I will be looking for a new supplier of gold and silver coins, hopefully I can find a reputable one which offers at least a minimum of customer service and is willing to work with clients, not against them.
"Satisfaction Guarantee – Your satisfaction is of paramount importance to us. We guarantee your satisfaction with a refund, return and/or exchange policy. At APMEX, you can purchase with confidence."
OK, I'll post your note and you should contact the attorney's general's office and consumer affairs of the state where this company is located if APMEX doesn't agree to return your money. .
If outside the USA, find out the country of origin and contact the exchange commission.
You should also argue with the bank. The company suffered no loss and you didn't send a check that bounced. You simply didn't pay and they didn't deliver so there was no exchange and no harm to either side.
Unless you signed a CONTRACT with APMEX in which you agreed to pay them $285 in the event that you checked that box and then didn't actually send the check, they have no foundation for taking the money.
Call APMEX and tell them that you're filing a complaint with the attorney general's office and you have notified your bank that you've been defrauded by them and filed a complaint with the attorney general.
Explain to APMEX that they suffered no loss and they can't charge you a $285 fee when there was no loss and no crime or impropriety committed. Tell them they are engaging in fraud and you will urge an indictment by the attorney general's office if they don't return your money immediately.
Tell them that your complaint letter is being published on a web site that gets 4.2 million hits a month from 170 different countries.
They will, unless they are extremely stupid, likely change their mind very quickly and return your money.
Keep me posted
Subject: Re: Silver
Date: Fri, May 27, 2011
To: Ken Adachi
Thanks for posting my experiences with APMEX. Unfortunately I did agree to a users agreement and in that agreement is this clause below.
"Your American Precious Metals Exchange order may be canceled if we do not receive payment within five (5) business days on orders under $25,000 (USD) and three (3) business days for orders over $25,000 (USD). Once you have placed an order with American Precious Metals Exchange, you have entered into a binding agreement. "
My problem is not with the agreement per se, but I feel they should have let me know they were waiting for a payment that I was not planning on sending. An email, or a phone call could have corrected the issue and saved them a customer and a good sized order. My credit card company said that if I signed an agreement, such as the
one above there is not much they can do.
It just frustrates me that a company I have been doing business with and had plans on doing additional business with would not work with me and try to correct a misunderstanding. I have tried calling a supervisor and discussing this, but he is never available and has not returned my calls.
My next move will be to send them an email and explain what I have already told a representative and I will also mention the bad press they will receive by my "letter is being published on a web site that gets 4.2 million hits a month from 170 different countries". I think an email would be good here, so they have it in writing. I will contact the attorney's general's office and consumer affairs in the state they are located, but considering the
agreement above I think they will tell me they have the right to "legally" screw me.
Their email addresses are:
Their web site is: http://www.apmex.com/
American Precious Metals Exchange
226 Dean A. McGee Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Tel. 1-800-375-9006 (toll free USA)
Local (405) 595-2100
Thanks Ken for all your help in this matter, I will keep you informed.
OK, well they got you, but I agree with your thought that they could have an automated response setup so they would automatically e-mail that you will be fined $285 if you don't send the check in within the required time frame. If they were really interested in "Satisfaction guarantee," that's the least they could do considering the amount of the fine involved.
Perhaps a few readers will e-mail them and tell them how admirable they find their hard knuckled attitude and mercenary, one sided view of "satisfaction guarantee."
First response from APMEX, sent June 1, 2011
----- Original Message -----
From: "Greg Tower" <Greg.Tower@apmex.com>
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 12:55:41 PM
Subject: APMEX 4663388
I am sending you email of conformation you received when you placed the order. As you can see it states payment type as personal check. The order was placed on 4/25/11 and not cancelled till 5/23/11. Per the terms of the “User Agreement” that you acknowledged that you had read, understood and agreed, it states that should
payment not be made and the order be cancelled you would be responsible for any market loss should there be one at the time plus a cancellation fee. Again you received confirmation of the order that said payment type as personal check…..
Credit and Collections Representative
The American Precious Metals Exchange
226 Dean A. McGee Avenue
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102
(405) 595-2100 Ext 150
(800) 375-9006 Ext 150
----- Forwarded Message -----
To: "Greg Tower" <Greg.Tower@apmex.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 2, 2011
Subject: Re: APMEX 4663388
I am not disputing that I mistakenly checked, or mistakenly did not uncheck the box on your order form that says pay with personal check, nor am I disputing that you "got me" with your user agreement. What upsets me is I have been a loyal customer, purchasing close to several thousand dollars worth of silver from your company, always paying with credit card and I get such lousy customer service the first time a problem comes up.
You can’t so much as have an automated system that sends out a reminder that an order will be canceled, or have a representative send out an email, or a phone call to the same effect. It looks to me like AMPEX would rather sit back and collect a "market loss" than make an effort to take an honest sale. I did not realize there was a problem, because I thought I was paying with a credit card, I was not concerned about the amount of time that passed because APMEX stated the coins I wanted were out of stock and I could expect a delay. I only found out about the problem when I signed into my account to place a different order for a different AMPEX product.
It is unfortunate that I mistakenly thought I was paying with a credit card, it is even more unfortunate that APMEX, so little values its customers that they are unwilling to work with them when it becomes apparent that a misunderstanding has occurred. I was willing to pay for that order on the spot with one of your reps, but she was unwilling to take the order. At that time the charge you put on my card had not even gone through and was still pending. I offered your rep the option to take my order if she would credit me, or reverse the pending charge and she was unwilling. So AMPEX still gets their profit out of me, this time, with service like this there will be no next time and I was planning many more purchases of silver of which I will have to find a new supplier.
Yes Greg, I will gladly tell all my friends in person and all those who care to read all about it on line at a web site that gets 4.2 million hits a month from 170 different countries about the stellular customer service I received at APMEX. I will also be sending a note to the attorney's general's office and consumer affairs for the state in which your company is located. So go ahead Greg and enjoy your little victory over a so called nonpayment issue, which turned into a non customer issue, such a smart way to protect yourselves.
Comments from readers
Subject: Very concerned / Apmex order #4663388
Date: Thu, June 2, 2011
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org (more)
I am writing to tell you how concerned I am over the recent treatment of "Mike A," and the $285 charge that has been levied against him. As an Apex customer myself, I understand that he was technically in default of the
agreement, but it seems like an innocent mixup. When he offered to complete the transaction I feel that the right thing to do would have been to accept his order, either at the current market price or the price from his original
In any event, the man obviously had no intent to defraud you, yet the decision to keep his $285 has caused Apmex some extremely unfavorable exposure. And - I am now concerned for my own sake. in case there should ever be a mixup with one of my own orders. Would Apmex move in for "the kill," or will they seek to resolve an issue in a fair and equitable manner? Fortunately I have never had to find out, but I feel that I should probably be looking for an alternate supplier nonetheless.
One thing you should already know about precious metal buyers is that we tend to be somewhat conservative and cautious about the way we conduct business. Trust is everything. Once your company's integrity has been sold off (for a measly $285, no less), how would you ever buy it back?
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