The Phaserl



by Andy Hoffman, Miles Franklin:

I’m pretty sure I’ve published every day since my Mexican vacation of November 2012, nearly 3½ years ago.  In fact, even when Diana and I were in China in August 2013, culminating our 7½-year journey to Sylvie, I was up at 3:00 AM each day, writing articles on my laptop.  That said, unless the world goes to hell in a handbasket – which may well be the case – I will NOT be writing or podcasting next week, as my “batteries” badly require recharging.

To that end, I had thought this morning’s “never another upgrade” would be my last before said vacation, until the VERY IMPORTANT news discussed here emerged this (Thursday) morning.  Thus, I’m going to start this “two-part” article this afternoon, and finish tomorrow morning, with “bonus” commentary about the “most important jobs report ever”; which, despite the worst economic data since the 2008 crisis, is expected to produce 200,000 “jobs,” and a 4.9% “unemployment rate.”  In other words, the BLS’ “island of lies” has never more closely resembled an “atoll in a tsunami.”

That said, the primary reason I’m writing is to yet again answer the question of “why should I use Miles Franklin for my Precious Metals purchases, sales, and/or storage.”  For one, the Miles Franklin Blogis perhaps the best FREE source of Precious Metals information on the planet.  Additionally, we provide the industry’s highest buy-back prices to our clients.  Moreover, our fantastic Brinks storage programs  in Montreal and Vancouver – one of the few in the entire industry charging not as a percentage of bullion value, but by the ounce.  But most importantly of all, our impeccable track record of top-flight service – as evidenced by our A+ Better Business Bureau rating, and not a single registered complaint since opening our doors in 1989.

As discussed in great detail in last month’s “why Precious Metals dealers are not commodities,” our home state of Minnesota, two years ago, became the only state to regulate Precious Metal dealers.  Thus, the odds of being the victim of “bait and switch”; the unethical at best, and illegal at worst practice of co-mingling firm and client funds; or outright theft are essentially zero.  To that end, co-Founders David and Andy Schectman are pillars of the Minneapolis business community – having gained that distinction over three decades of hard work – often in extremely difficult business conditions – based on the simple premises of honesty, work ethic, and value-addition.

To that end, the reason I wrote “why Precious Metal dealers are not commodities” was the multitude of calls received from people wanting us to match – or beat – the prices of competitors we know to be selling at or below cost.  Which would not only endanger Miles Franklin’s financial health, but the clients’ as well – in dealing with an obviously cash flow negative company.  This is precisely what we warned when people asked us to match or beat Tulvingand Bullion Direct’s cutthroat pricing in the 2012-14 time frame.  And wouldn’t you know it, both turned out to be frauds – in which the principals absconded with millions of client funds!

Which is precisely what appears to have happened this week at one of the nation’s largest bullion dealers; the inappropriately named “Northwest Territorial Mint,” given that its headquarters are not in Canada, but Washington State.  For some time now, there have been rumors that something was amiss there – as discussed in this December 2014 article, which the company bent over backwards to refute.  When asked about of his view of the NWT Mint, three-decade bullion dealership veteran Stephen Quayle said exactly what Andy Schectman has been saying all along.

“If a deal seems too good to be true, it is.  If dealers and distributors can’t buy at spot, what makes people think they can?  People who are penny wise and pound foolish when buying precious metals get burned.  And we are not talking about pennies here, but people’s life savings.

Well, guess what?  It turns out the rumors were true after all – perthis article of how the NWT admits to owing hundreds of customers money it may never pay back – given that the firm has been ordered by a judge not to do so, after awarding a $38 million defamation judgement against it.  I may not be an attorney, but it certainly appears that client funds were commingled with the firms’ and/or its principals, which is why the judge ordered them to NOT refund clients.  Irrespective of whether this is exactly what occurred, the fact remains that hundreds of clients that trusted the NWT Mint, despite 260 customer complaints in the past three years alone, and a lack of Better Business Bureau Accreditation, may have lost their hard-earned savings forever.  To which we can only point out again, as vehemently as possible, the age old saw that you “get what you pay for.”

OK, it’s now Friday morning, and here are the night’s “PM-bullish, everything-else bearish headlines” – before we even get to the NFP report…

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