About.Ag


All About Silver - ... the buck stops here ...
Northwest Territorial Mint Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy



[Summary: Many complaints of shipping delays beyond 28 days; Bullion Direct shut down in June, bankruptcy in July.]
[Also see: forums for discussing Bullion Direct issues, mailing list (below), anonymous tips (below)]
[Contact: about.ag [at] gmail.com]

Old Bullion Direct News

This page is for old Bullion Direct news, before they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.




What To Do

July 16, 2015 8:50PM EST
My understanding is that IDS (the depository holding metal for Bullion Direct, which may include stored metal, catalog inventory, and/or metal shipped to Bullion Direct in the past month or so) will only act on instruction from Bullion Direct.

It appears that they have shipped out at least one package to a customer that had sent metal to IDS/BD, and not received payment for it.

Customers are reporting that IDS is saying that inquiries should be sent to Bullion Direct's counsel, and is giving out that information.

Although you can contact their counsel, it may be best to wait a day or so to see if their counsel will make a general statement (e.g. what might be returned). That way, their counsel will not be unnecssarily overwhelmed. I am waiting to hear back from their attorney.

New Statement on Bullion Direct Website

July 16, 2015 8:20PM EST
The website says:

Bullion Direct's management continues to work with its consultants and attorneys, as well as with legal authorities, on a plan to address the complex issues which have resulted in the cessation of BD's ordinary course business activities. Other important considerations involve the preservation of BD's Intellectual property, which include a multi-industry Patent and proprietary software platform. The cessation of BD's ordinary course operations will continue while we finalize our plan to resolve all issues affecting our customers. We expect to have a more detailed update, posted on our website, by the end of next week.

It's the same as what had leaked a few hours ago, but is now official.

Report of Intent to File Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

July 16, 2015 3:00PM EST
A customer has reported that he has heard (from a third party) that Bullion Direct intends to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy next week.

I have not yet confirmed this, but like the alleged E-mail from Chares McAllister in the previous post, it seems legitimate.

UPDATE 8:20PM: Since Bullion Direct confirmed the E-mail leak, this is almost certainly true.

Alleged E-mail from Charles McAllister

July 16, 2015 1:10PM EST
A customer just reported that they got a copy of an E-mail that appeared to have been sent from Charles McAllister today.

It says that Bullion Direct is working with consultants, attorneys and legal authorities to address the issues we are well aware of. The E-mail says that a more detailed update is expected on their website by the end of next week.

I cannot confirm that the E-mail was indeed sent by Charles McAllister, however, I have no reason to believe that the message is not authentic.

UPDATE 8:20PM: A statement on the Bullion Direct website now confirms this.

Old Office Gone, Nobody at New Office

July 15, 2015 5:00PM EST
I have just heard from someone who found out that Bullion Direct is officially no longer occupying the 7,400+SF space they had been occupying, and that they do have a temporary office at Austin Suites (perhaps 5% of the size of their old office), and that nobody was there late this morning.

The building directory no longer shows Bullion Direct:

Report of Returned Bullion

July 15, 2015 12:30PM EST
One customer just reported in the forums that he received bullion that he had shipped to Bullion Direct, after he contacted the depository. The metal was received by the depository a week before Bullion Direct announced that they had suspended operations.

It appears that this was done by the depository that Bullion Direct uses, but it is not clear if Bullion Direct aurhotized this, or the depository decided on their own to send it back.

Time to File Complaints

July 14, 2015 9:50AM EST
If I were a customer of Bullion Direct waiting for metal or money, this is the time that I would start filing complaints with various government agencies.

I hate to suggest it -- the more I learn about Charles McAllister, the more I see a good person -- but I see no evidence that the company has done anything (aside from post two messages) in the past month. Charles McAllister is choosing not to stay in contact with me, knowing that I am writing about Bullion Direct. He knows there is at least one government agency aware of the situation at his company, and he is choosing not to provide any information. At some point, customers must take action if Mr. McAllister has not.

Here is a list of various places that you may choose to file a complaint, depending on your circumstances.

Texas Attorney GeneralOne customer reported that the Attorney General had opened a consumer fraud watch.
IC3 IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center), run by the FBI and NW3C.
FBIOne customer suggested contacting the FBI.
FTCFederal Trade Commission. Reference case #63700304. Also you can call 877-382-4357.
Travis County DATravis County District Attorney's office. In the Tulving case, police referred people to the local DA's office.
CFTCThe Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the CFTC to investigate matters that involve bullion purchased not delivered within 28 days.
USPSThe U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigates any crime in which the U.S. Mail is used to further a scheme.
Austin PoliceAustin, TX Police Department.

Useful information to have on hand may include:

Company:      Bulliondirect, Inc.
Principal:    Charles Hadley McAllister (President/CEO)
Address:      700 LAVACA ST STE 1400
              AUSTIN TX 78701-3102
Phone:        512-462-2646 (goes to voice mail)
Website:      www.bulliondirect.com
E-Mail:       cmcallister@bulliondirect.com
County:       Travis County

Storage - Allocated or Unallocated/Fungible?

July 13, 2015 2:00PM EST
First, let me define some terms:

  • Allocated. Metal that is stored for you, that belongs to you (you have title to the metal). In the bullion industry, if you buy a bar with the serial #12345 in an allocated account, and you later request delivery, that is the bar you will get. No matter what. If not, they did not do their job. They cannot sell your bar and replace it with a different one. In the event of bankruptcy, it is your metal.

  • Unallocated. Metal that a company owes you, and is normally just sold back to the company later (so you never see it). You do not own a specific piece of metal; in the event of bankruptcy, you are an unsecured creditor (according to the LBMA). The dealers usually do not have as much metal as they owe (the use hedging accounts to handle the risk).
  • Segregated. This refers to metal you own in an allocated account that is kept physically separate from the metal of others. It is more expensive, but more secure. In an unsegregated account, your metal can be mixed with that of other customers, but it is still yours.
  • Fungible. This means that two items are considered equal, and can be exchanged for one another. For example, you probably won't care which 1oz gold eagle you get (if you didn't specify a year), just so long as you get one.
  • Pool. This term is loosely used, from an allocated account that has 100% of the metal but in large bar form, to an unallocated account.
The Bullion Direct 'About Us' page has a 'Storage' link that is now broken, but until at least some point in 2013 linked to a page that said: Bullion Direct provides FREE storage.... Stored product is not physically segregated to each individual customer. However, through the systems of accounts, product is exclusively allocated to your account portfolio: you are purchasing individual products and not "pool" metal. For your protection, stored products are not the assets of Bullion Direct.

This makes it clear that this is an allocated account. You are buying individual products, not a share of a large bar. And with a traditional allocated account, you have title to the metal, and they cannot replace it with something else. The 'not segregated' wording might leave them some 'wiggle room' (I.E. if you have stored 2 1996 1oz gold eagles, they could have 20 1996 1oz gold eagles in a tube (rather than in a separate cage, box, etc.), 2 of which belong to you, and 18 which belong to other people -- but they cannot then sell any of those 1996 eagles and let it go down to 18 1996 gold eagles; selling them would be selling your metal (or that of another customer), which is not allowed in an allocated account).

That is what they advertise(d).

Now, what is the deal with metal stored at Bullion Direct? It may vary as terms likely changed over the years, but the Terms of Service current states BD "shall have the right to deliver the same Product in another form, provided that it is of at least equal value." (for stored metal). But if they decide what to send you when you request possession, that by definition is unallocated. So how does one interpret that?

The terms also say "Title to the Products purchased by Customer shall pass to Customer upon delivery to Customer or Customer's appointed agent or designee." So title gets passed to the customer when it gets to storage, like a typical allocated account. But it then goes to say "Products that have been delivered to BullionDirect®?s storage facility for Customer will be held in safekeeping on a fungible basis and Customer will receive title to an undivided share of the Products so held." How can one reconcile that with an unallocated account? When you buy 4 1996 gold eagles, they put them in a pile in the vault, and their records show they belong to you. Another customer buys 6, so they have a pile of 10. Since they have not allocated specific coins to you (as they should in an allocated account), they say you own 40% of the pile (without specifying which). So that *could* work.

But, they further state "BullionDirect® may use such Products, in fungible form", adding to the confusion. If they have 10 1996 gold eagles, 4 titled to you and 6 titled to someone else, how can they "use" the products? If they sell some without replacing them (or replacing them with something else), they have sold the metal that it titled to you. Had it been segregated or not fungible, that would be a serious problem. Calling an allocated account unsegregated and fungible doesn't give thenm a right to sell your metal. The only way I see that working is if Bullion Direct believes you gave them permission to sell your metal and replace it -- but that goes against they very idea of unallocated storage.

The good news? If they really did have allocated storage, and treated it as such, they should have 100% of the stored metal in a vault somewhere. Recent events suggest that they not have all that metal, but they should and could.

7,400SF Office Leased Ended October 2014

July 10, 2015 5:40PM EST
Bullion Direct leased the lower level of the building at 700 Lavaca in Austin, TX (about 7,400SF). The lease was signed on March 12, 2009, and changed on May 20, 2009. The lease was due to expire October 31, 2014.

Bullion Direct used to show their address as "700 Lavaca St. Suite LL-1." Their contact page now shows the address as "700 Lavaca St. 14th Floor." The 14th floor is owned by Austin Suites, which offers executive suites ranging from about 77SF to 347SF (with shared kitchen, shared conference rooms, shared reception, etc).

One customer reported going to the 14th floor and being told by the receptionist that they "weren't currently in the office."

So it appears that around the time that Bullion Direct shipped all their inventory and stored metal to Delaware, they also downsized their office by over 90%. And it appears that they have also laid off nearly all their employees. With the bullion wholesaler in Delaware offering fulfillment service, and no need for someone to answer the phones, it could save a lot of money and be a viable business metal. If metal got shipped.

$3.8M of Inventory?

July 10, 2015 9:35AM EST
I decided go through the inventory that the Bullion Direct website shows they have on hand. All told, they show about $3.8M of 'available' inventory (I.E. showing the number of items available).

Of that $3.8M, $3.0M is in mint sealed boxes of 1oz gold buffalo coins. The rest is in a variety of other products, including $270K of gold maples.

There appears to have been no change in the inventory from June 26 (when operations officially were suspended) until now, which is to be expected (e.g. the inventory should only be of metal that has not been sold yet, so it should not change if nobody is buying). Any metal received by Bullion Direct after June 26 does not appear to have been added to their online inventory.

For inventory I can find before June 26, I see minimal changes since around the beginning of April (that is as far back as I checked). No major increases, some minor decreases. However, I am not able to check all inventory from before June 26, so this anlysis could be off.

This doesn't really help answer questions (e.g. whether this is the 'fungible metal' backing up stored metal, whether the fungible metal is kept separate from inventory, and so forth). But it is metal that likely does exist.

150+ Complaints, $2.0M+

July 7, 2015 7:15AM EST
I now have 111 complaints in my database, and adding in the open BBB complaints (they state over 100 complaints, but only 56 are closed), there are now over 150 complaints. About 1/4 of the complaints include dollar amounts, which range from about $950 to $100,000. The average is $17,604.49. Allowing for a few duplicate complaints, removing those believed to have been delivered, and assuming those without dollar amounts average the same as those that do, we are looking at $2.0M so far.

It is also important to note that the $2.0M figure might be close to as high as it could get, or just the tip of the iceburg (that may be lots of people who have metal stored with Bullion Direct that are unaware of the problems, as unlike customers, they are not anxiously waiting for an order). We also have no idea of the amount of metal that Bullion Direct may have, or the value of their other assets. With Tulving, I made estimates of how much was owed, but that is just not possible here.

BBB: Contact Attorney General

July 6, 2015 12:30PM EST
The BBB has just released this note:

BBB encourages consumers to also reach out to the Texas Attorney General's office and/or their local AG's office regarding any disputes.

Unpaid Tax Bill

July 5, 2015 3:00PM EST
According to the Travis County Tax Office, Bullion Direct has not yet paid their 2014 property tax bill, which was due January 31, 2015.

However, the information from the Travis County Tax Office is confusing, to say the least. They do show that the original tax bill was for $21,878.26, but the current statement is for $16,780.07 (which includes $2,559.67 for penalty and interest due). The numbers do not add up, which brings up the possibility that the amount due was changed (e.g. due to a contested valuation). Either way, the Travis County Tax Office records do not show any payments since the 2013 tax year (paid January 9, 2014), and do show a penalty and interest due.

Any Orders/Money Sent After June 12?

July 4, 2015 7:40AM EST
I would very much like to hear from anyone who has had contact from Bullion Direct since June 12, 2015. This includes any orders shipped since then, any money received since then, any non-automated E-mails received since then, even any checks cashed since then.

My belief is that Bullion Direct shut down on June 15, 2015. I contacted the CEO on June 14, 2015, and he responded a few hours later. He posted to the forums mid-day June 15, with no sign of life until the June 26, 2015 note change on the website.

So I would appreciate hearing about any sign that the company was functioning (except by computer, such as the website and auto-replies) after June 12. You can E-mail me at about.ag [at] gmail.com or by using the anonymous 'tip form'.

UPDATE: I did receive one report of someone having contact from Bullion Direct on about June 17.

No Legal Advice, Part II

July 3, 2015 8:05PM EST
Someone has anonymously sent me some information on unauthorized legal practice and defamation. I certainly appreciate the information. I ran into those same two concerns when covering Tulving (and even had a draft complaint sent to me). These are very serious issues.

The problem is, if nobody takes a role like mine because they are scared of the law, I believe it causes greater harm to customers than if someone like me comes to the plate and makes a mistake. With Tulving, many people complained about being fed up with the courts, bankruptcy trustee, and others. It mostly boiled down to getting no information. That is something I am providing, and Bullion Direct customers need.

My litmus test is simple: Do I feel that I am doing significantly more good than harm? If so, I believe overall what I am doing is good. If not, or it is not clear, I should stop. I do not take this lightly: my actions can affect the life savings of individuals. But if not acting could do more harm, I must act.

Yes, I could be sued for calling Bullion Direct insolvent. But, ask their customers who are not getting their money, and I believe they will agree that Bullion Direct is insolvent. Sensational journalism is designed to attract as many readers as possible, to make as much money as possible. I am not making money off of this, nor do I have any desire to, nor do I care about getting readers beyond those affected by Bullion Direct. There could potentially be thousands of people out there with metal stored at Bullion Direct who have no clue what is going on, because they are not waiting on a product draw. They need to know.

I also want to remind everyone that if you see any errors in what I write, or see any legal advice, please let me know (anonymously is fine) so that I can correct it. If you know that I made an error, however, please do not just send an anonymous note hinting that there may be an error but without specifying what it is -- it seems to me that doing so directly harms Bullion Direct customers.

No Legal Advice Here

July 3, 2015 2:25PM EST
I mentioned this early on, but need to make it very clear to people. I am not a lawyer, and nothing I write is intended to be legal advice.. Further, it is important to remember that your situation may be different than what I write about (e.g. some people had metal stored at Bullion Direct, others did not; some had cash there, some did not; some placed catalog orders, some placed Nucleo orders, some had metal in storage; people paid in different ways, etc.) Therefore, even if I wrote something that could be construed as legal advice, I would have no way to know if it would apply in your specific situation. I always urge people to contact an attorney, but I clearly understand that many people do not consider that an option, and therefore want to do my best to provide as much legal information as I can (as opposed to advice) without in any way harming you.

I also posted an update to the "Title of Stored Goods" to clarify that the intent of the article was to show that Bullion Direct's terms were written in a way that I believe allows them (per the terms) to use the metal (regardless of whether the law allows it, or closer inspection of the language might not allow it).

I have to walk a very fine line here. It would be irresponsible for me to push to have perhaps hundreds of people each pay an attorney, when some of them will be perfectly content with legal information that I can supply. On the other hand, You need to remember that I am not a lawyer, and have no legal training.

Title of Stored Goods

July 2, 2015 3:05PM EST
One question I had was who owns metal stored by Bullion Direct.

I have found the answer: according to the Bullion Direct Terms of Service, customers with metal stored at Bullion Direct have an 'undivided share' of the 'fungible' metal, which Bullion Direct may use. Fungible essentially means that if you buy a 1 ounce gold coin, they could put a 1 ounce gold bar in their vault. Undivided share means that all customers own whatever is in the vault (but no specific pieces of metal belong to any one customer). And Bullion Direct can use the metal, with no restrictions listed.

In other words, per their terms, Bullion Direct might have $10M of metal stored for customers and have sold $9M of it to pay for expenses. In that case, customers would own their share of the $1M of metal left, and be owed the other $9M. If Bullion Direct filed for bankruptcy, that should mean that the $1M of metal would be sold and split among customers who had stored metal (each getting 10% of what they were owed), and the customers would then be an unsecured creditor for the remaining 90% (while those who had placed orders would get none of the money from selling that metal).

This could potentially be very, very bad news -- it means that Bullion Direct may have "dipped" into the customer metal to pay expenses for many years, and may not have any of the stored metal left (which would explain why product draws were being delayed along with catalog orders).

Update: The intent of this post was to show that, at least the way I read the Bullion Direct terms, they are allowed (by their choice, which could conflict with the law) to use metal stored with them. In other words, had I stored metal there and read the terms, I would have realized that they might use the metal. Whether or not they have a legal right to do so is beyond my expertise (and even if it were not, I would not, as I believe that would be legal advice, which I cannot and will not intentionally provide).

New Forums

July 2, 2015 1:45PM EST
I have just added forums at http://forums.bulliondealerdata.com/.

The 'Bullion Direct and Nucleo' forum is designed to replace the forums at Bullion Direct, as they could easily disappear at any time.

Time to Sound the Alarms:
Bullion Direct Insolvent and Out of Business

July 2, 2015 7:15AM EST
Insolvency is when a business cannot pay its debts as they come due. "Out of business" means "No longer carrying on commercial transactions." A number of customers claim to be waiting on checks or bank wires that did not arrive when due, and Bullion Direct is no longer taking orders.

Bullion Direct, therefore, is insolvent and (at least for the time being) out of business.

The amount owed customers is impossible to accurately estimate, as little is known about Bullion Direct's sales volume, as well as the amount of metal they have stored on behalf of customers, and the amount of customers' money they have. It could be as little as perhaps $1M, or could conceivably be as high as $10M or more.

I E-mailed Charles McAllister (Bullion Direct CEO) about 24 hours ago, asking directly if Bullion Direct was out of business (and saying that I was planning to post that), and he chose not to respond (I did receive a response from him before from this E-mail address, and he is aware of who I am and my role here).

I strongly encourage people to spread the word. In the past 2 weeks, I am not aware of anyone who has heard from the CEO, been on the phone or chat with someone at Bullion Direct, received an E-mail (not automated) from Bullion Direct, received a shipment, or received a check or wire transfer. The only "sign of life" I have seen at Bullion Direct over the past two weeks is that last Friday they posted that they were suspending operations. That's it.

I encourage people to link to this page, to make it easier for customers to find out what is going on at Bullion Direct.

Information Wanted

June 18, 2015 7:30AM EST
I would appreciate hearing from anyone who is waiting for product or money from Bullion Direct, or received product/money within about the past month. Key information is when your payment cleared, and when you received the product or payment (or if you have not yet received it).

Information can be sent to me at about.ag [at] gmail.com, or using the anonymous 'tip form' (although I cannot respond there).

Also, anyone with any information about what happened at Bullion Direct is welcome to use the anonymous 'tip form.

BD Customer Had $400K of Funds Frozen

July 1, 2015 2:50PM EST
I just discovered that on March 26, 2015, a judge issued an emergency order freezing the assets of two individuals that were charged with fraud involving bullion. One of the listed assets was nearly $400K of money deposited at Bullion Direct. To be clear, there is nothing suggesting that Bullion Direct in any way did anything wrong here (good bullion dealers do occasionally appear in lawsuits like this, where they did nothing wrong).

I bring this up because this may have added stress to Bullion Direct (e.g. likely having to comply with subpoena requests, and anything involved in freezing the assets).

Delaware

July 1, 2015 1:50PM EST
So what is the relation between Delaware and Bullion Direct? It sounded like they were moving their operations there, while others have suggested they might be re-incorporating there for legal reasons.

I believe that what occurred was a switch from having product stored in Texas to having the product stored at IDS of Delaware. I believe that Bullion Direct has an account with a bullion wholesaler that uses IDS Delaware. Presumably, such a setup would allow Bullion Direct to be "hands off" -- catalog orders could be sold directly by the bullion wholesaler. People selling metal through Nucleo would send it to the wholesaler via IDS Delaware, and then the wholesaler would send out the product. Bullion Direct keeps a headquarters in Texas, but only for 'paperwork.' I have seen no sign that Bullion Direct has any employees in Delaware.

This could also account for some of the issues. It appears that Bullion Direct is operating on a skeleton crew -- if nobody was needed to ship orders, that would explain why the staff would be so small (especially since there is nobody needed to man the phone lines).

Of course, this does not account for why orders and cash are not going out. If Bullion Direct has the cash for all the orders (which it should), they could just wire the money to the wholesaler, who normally ships within 48 hours.

This also brings up the question: If they are using a bullion wholesaler to ship orders, why would they think that hiring extra people this summer would help get orders out?

85 Complaints

June 30, 2015 3:55PM EST
As of this writing, I have logged 85 complaints (which include a few duplicates). About half of them are confirmed complaints that involve delivery taking over 28 days (the time period Bullion Direct terms of service states they will ship within, and the time required by law in some states).

It looks like all BBB complaints dated (closed) through May 18, 2015 have received their order/money. There are no BBB complaints dated May 19, 2015 through June 8, 2015. There are 19 BBB complaints dated after June 8, 2015, of which it appears 4 have received their order.

The BBB has only added one complaint in the past week, suggesting that they are waiting to hear from Bullion Direct on other complaints that have been filed (BD will be given 30-35 days to respond before the complaint is listed online as "failed to respond"). Since only one BBB complaint has been added in the past week, it suggests (but does not confirm) that Bullion Direct may not be shipping orders at this time.

Bullion Direct CEO Charles McAllister wrote on June 15 "We believe we will be able to recover from these delays over the coming 3-6 weeks." It has been just over 2 weeks now, with no indication that they have made any progress (let alone recovered). They also posted on Friday afternoon that "... Bullion Direct is suspending its operations as it attempts to resolve those issues. We intend to keep you informed at this website. ...", yet nothing more has been posted.

BBB Rating Now 'F'

June 26, 2015 3:40PM
Within the past hour, the BBB has updated their website to boldly show that Bullion Direct's accreditation has been revoked, and the BBB has changed their rating to an 'F'.

Bullion Direct Suspending Orders

June 26, 2015 2:40PM EST
Within the past hour, Bullion Direct has updated their pages with the note:

Bullion Direct has experienced significant transactional delays. To avoid further inconvenience or other adverse consequences to our customers, Bullion Direct is suspending its operations as it attempts to resolve those issues. We intend to keep you informed at this website. Thank you for your patience.

I find this encouraging, as it sounds like a company that is trying to deal with issues appropriately (as opposed to The Tulving Company, that kept taking orders for months after things were out of control).

Where to Get Help

June 25, 2015 2:20PM EST
Filing a complaint with the BBB plays an important role. They cannot compel a company to act, but by not acting the reputation of a company will start to decline, and it acts as a warning to other potential customers.

There is also a customer coordinating legal action with an attorney. You can E-mail the customer at BDComplaints AT gmail DOT com for details (he says "Please include the date you placed your order and the dollar amount of the order").

With Tulving, I recommended contacting a number of other agencies. That was primarily to get the company shut down, which didn't work as intended (they allowed Tulving to run for months; he shut down voluntarily, only to be raided a week later, ruining plans to sell off assets in a more cost-effective Chapter 11 bankruptcy). At this point, it is too early to get a good grasp on what is happening with Bullion Direct (e.g. although there is strong evidence suggesting contractual obligations being broken, unlike Tulving I am not aware of any laws being broken). If they are short-staffed due to the relocation, a reduction in order volume may be all that is needed to fix the situation -- in which case a Secret Service raid could easily destroy a company that has had an excellent reputation for many years.

As a reminder, I am not an attorney, and whatever I write is not intended to be legal advice.

My Role

June 25, 2015 8:40AM EST
Someone yesterday pointed out that they were not aware of my role here, and I thought I would explain, as it is somewhat unique. In short, my role is like that of a consumer advocate (although many associate the term 'advocate' with a lawyer; I am not a lawyer). I do not get paid to do this (except a very small ad revenue, but that is less than what I end up paying out of pocket).

I closely followed the demise of The Tulving Company, starting to alert people about 4 months before it shut down. I did so because I had recommended Tulving to many, many people over the years, and felt bad knowing that someone of the creditors likely heard about Tulving through me (directly or indirectly). After it shut down, I was asked more questions by people, and realized that there are no good resources for consumers who are owed money after a business shuts down. Many Tulving creditors have heard nothing from official channels; not even a response that their Proof of Claim form was received by the courts. So I continued following the situation, and helping as I could.

I then stared a webpage with a list of failed bullion companies, with around 100 listed. And I learned a lot about how the process works, from early warning signs to the bankruptcy process. I also started a website ("Bullion Dealer Data") that investigated bullion dealers (lawsuits, government actions, BBB ratings, etc.). I was contacted by a customer of Bullion Direct (which until that point I had regarded as a highly respected company), and started investigating. And I could see something wasn't right.

With Tulving, I acted as a central resource of information, interacted with lawyers and government officials, was given occasional confidential information as well as other information that could not be made public, uncovered new information, helped answer questions, let people know the status of the situation and what the next steps were, and so forth.

I continue to hope that the Bullion Direct issue will resolve itself, and everyone will get what they are owed, without having to resort to bankruptcies and/or lawsuits. But if not, I hope to be able to help out in a similar fashion.

Silence - Time to Spread the Word

June 23, 2015 1:20PM EST
On Sunday June 14, I rearched out to Charles McAllister, the CEO of Bullion Direct. I did hear back from him within a few hours, which was very reassuring. However, I have not heard back from him since. Given the severity of the situation, I consider this to be the equivalent of him choosing to end contact with me (which could be for a variety of reasons; given my role as an advocate for the customer, it is quite possible he feels no contact would be best).

What may be encouraging, though, is that one piece of advice I gave him was that in his situation I would "address customers concerns and the BBB as best I could". At that point, there had been no BBB complaints resolved to the satisifaction of the customer since May 18. There were then 4 BBB complaints "resolved to the satisfaction of the customer" in the next 2 days, with another 4 that the BBB has not heard back from the customer on yet. Given the BBB reporting, this could be a coincidence, however. He also took a couple minutes to post to the forums the next morning (although he did not address individual customer concerns).

In the BD forums, there is a customer who is working with an attorney, and the customer suggests pooling claims together to make legal action more cost effective and efficient; you can contact that person at BDComplaints AT gmail DOT com (he says "Please include the date you placed your order and the dollar amount of the order").

My sincere hope is that Bullion Direct can fix the issues, and continue operations. Unfortunately, from what I can see, there is little evidence that this company is still operating. They are not reachable by phone, and members report chat is not operational and they are not responding to most E-mail. It appears that around mid-March they stopped actively managing the forums (e.g. removing spam). And at some point, BD stopped responding to BBB complaints within the 30-day timeframe. From what I can see, at best, this company is operating on a skeleton staff.

One thing that I can safely say is that as far as I can tell, it should do no harm to the company to temporarily stop doing business with them until they are able to clear up these issues. Clearly, if they are backlogged with orders to the point where they cannot get them out in the timeframe their terms of service require, they will benefit from reduced orders until they can catch up. So at this point, I am going to urge people to start spreading the word to hold off on doing business with Bullion Direct until they are able to get nearly all orders shipped within 28 days (or some other positive resolution occurs).

Current Status

June 19, 2015 1:20PM EST
I am tracking complaints, with a total of 66 so far. The complaint volume has been going up slightly each month since January, except that June seems to be balooning (about double the volume of May, factoring in that June isn't over yet). It looks like most people with 'complaint dates' by the end of May have received their orders (however, with the BBB system, that date could be long after a complaint is filed). I am aware of about 24 orders that appear to not have been delivered yet, after a delay long enough to warrant a complaint. I have also verified at least 24 orders that were shipped after the timeframe required by the BD terms of service (and another 20 or so as of yet unverified)

As of today, there is no record of any lawsuits being filed against them (but often lesser courts do not include lawsuits in PACER). The Texas Attorney General apparently has at least 17 complaints. The BBB has suspended BD's accredidation, and will be reviewing the case with their Board of Directors in about a week. It looks like BD stopped responding to BBB complaints as of early May.

The most recent order I have reported as shipped was sent out around June 10, although that is the only one of two orders I have a record of being shipped after May 10 (there are almost certainly others; there could easily be hundreds of orders being delivered on time that I am not privy to).

I will continue to update as I get more information.

Page Started

June 17, 2015 10:50AM EST
I have started this page to track potential issues with BullionDirect, Inc. (a/k/a Bullion Direct and Nucleo), similar to what I had done with The Tulving Company.

I have confirmed about a dozen cases where BullionDirect, Inc. has taken over 28 days to deliver product to customers after receiving cleared funds. Their terms of service state that they will ship within 28 days.

I expect to update this page frequently (as I get new information) until things get back to normal.



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