The goal of this page was to help people from law enforcement, consumer protection, and other related agencies easily understand that we are dealing with a nearly $50M loss of customer funds.
The Tulving Company appears to be delivering most products after 30 days, which violates the FTC mail order rule and California commodities law. I believe that The Tulving Company has an estimated $42.5M of outstanding bullion orders, without essentially no money to pay for the metal. [15 Mar 2014: The Tulving Company's bankruptcy filing shows less than $50,000 assets].
Since April, 2013 there have been over 650 complaints filed against The Tulving Company by individuals who have placed orders averaging about $44,000 for gold and/or silver, alleging delays of up to 10 months. The average delay is about 3 months, well beyond the 28 days required by California Commodities law, and the 30 days (or less, where customers were given a shorter timeframe) required by the FTC Mail Order Rule.
The is little doubt that The Tulving Company did not deliver in the timeframes required by the law (they respond to complaints with shipping dates, confirming that the orders were not delivered in the specified timeframe). The real question here is the severity of the problem.
[March 15, 2014 addendum: the numbers seem to show a bare minimum of roughly $8M in unfulfilled orders, using a few basic assumptions (e.g. Tulving not shipping product after they ceased operations).]
How the $42.5M Estimate is Calculated
I stated that I believe that has an estimated $42.5M of outstanding bullion orders, without essentially no money to pay for the metal. Here is how it breaks down:
- I start by assuming that all of the orders from April, 2013 through July, 2013 have been honored (although some have not).
- During those months, the estimated complaints as a percentage of orders were 0.78%, 1.00%, 4.26%, and 6.31% respectively. In other words, in May, 2013 there was 1 complaint for every 100 orders taken.
- From August, 2013 to December, 2013 the estimated complaints as a percentage of orders were between 10% and 20%.
- The discrepancy implies that many of the orders from April through July were fulfilled (although not all; some orders from as far back as April, 2013 are still receiving complaints).
- From August 1, 2013 through February 28, 2014, The Tulving Company received an estimated $76,560,000 of orders
- From August 1, 2013 through January 30, 2014, there were 1,590 orders placed (based on invoice numbers, which historically have been in line with sales that Tulving has claimed). Adding a conservative 5 orders per day for February (140) comes up with 1,740 orders.
- The average order size is approximately $44,000, and seems to stay fairly consistent. The order size is obtained through complaints (mainly BBB and BCA).
- Therefore, the volume of business for this period is approximately $76,560,000. This should be a fairly accurate estimate.
- From August 1, 2013 through February 28, 2014 about $18,583,655.20 was shipped in response to BBB, BCA, and related complaints.
- I have tracked 440 complaints, with a complaint date from August 1, 2014 through February 28, 2014, and a promised shipping date.
- It is known that some of those promised shipping dates were not met (or only part of the orders were sent), but I am not factoring that in, to be conservative.
- I estimate that $15,312,000 of orders during this time were fulfilled without any complaints filed.
- This is based on estimating that 20% of orders during this time were fulfilled without a complaint being filed.
- I have only heard of 1 order (<0.1%) during this timeframe that was fulfilled without a complaint filed, which was an order to a coin dealer.
- Knowing that that order went through, I allow for up to 20% of his business to be to/from other coin and bullion dealers.
- That works out to $42,664,344.80 of unfulfilled orders.
- $76,560,000 of orders minus 18,583,655.20 fulfilled after complaints minus $15,312,000 fulfilled without complaints is $42,664,344.80.
- For simplicity, this does not account for orders that were partially filled, or future fulfillment
- Most complaints to the BBB/BCA have a response from The Tulving Company of a future date that the order will ship on
- Some complaints to the BBB/BCA are re-opened after The Tulving Company shipped only part of an order on that promised date
- Some orders have a promised shipping date in the future
- These factors should all increase the amount of outstanding orders.
- I state that I believe The Tulving Company has essentially no money to fulfill the orders.
The voluntary bankruptcy petition states less than $50,000 of assets; the previous explanation is no longer necessary, as The Tulving Company has proven it to be true.
- There are no other plausible explanations.
- Many people report that The Tulving Company told them that they had record order volume, but the invoice numbers disprove this.
- Many people report that The Tulving Company told them that their insurance limits the dollar amount they can ship per day. Their dwindling order volume helps disprove this (and they could simply increase their insurance limits).
- It is believed that The Tulving Company drop-ships almost all of their orders now, and I have not heard a single report of The Tulving Company claiming delays from their suppliers.
- There are a number of reports of people selling gold and/or silver to The Tulving Company and getting delayed payments
- This means that whatever problem The Tulving Company has with delays is unrelated to shipping problems.
- When people do get paid for selling metal to The Tulving Company, there are reports of them finally getting a partial payment, with another promised later
- There are few logical explanations for this, for a company that should have $42.5M in the bank.
- The time it took The Tulving Company to fulfill orders after BBB/BCA complaints increased until it reached about 4 weeks, at which point The Tulving Company stopped responding to complaints.
- This proves that The Tulving Company is unable to fulfill the volume of orders it has, just not the reason for it.
- If there is an explanation other than having no money to pay for orders, why haven't they told anyone?
Tulving's Claims: Over $500M in Outstanding Orders
It may be possible to find flaws with the logic I used to come up with the $42.5M estimate of outstanding orders.
However, according to claims from The Tulving Company, the number should be much larger (over $500M). I point this out not to suggest that the number is much larger, just that it helps prove that $42.5 cannot be considered an unreasonable estimate.
- The Tulving Company claimed "We ALWAYS Ship On A First Paid, First Shipped Basis" on their FAQ page (until mid-to-late January, 2014).
- This is false, but it is what The Tulving Company claimed until very recently.
- On February 27, 2014, there was a complaint failed for an order placed April 23, 2013 that was not delivered.
- The undelivered April 23, 2013 order would mean that The Tulving Company was 310 days behind in orders at the end of February.
- Reports indicate that The Tulving Company is claiming over $650M in annual sales during 2013
- The Tulving Company claimed $650M in sales in 2011,
- Several complaints state that The Tulving Company told them that they were experiencing record sales volume.
- That works out to over $552M of outstanding orders, if The Tulving Company's claims (and BBB complaint) are true.
Again, it is nearly impossible that the outstanding orders are anywhere near $500M. The point is to help show that even The Tulving Company has no grounds to dispute my $42.5M estimate, without disputing their own numbers.
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