The Exchange : Three Steps You Can Take to Avoid the Fate of Tulving’s Customers

Three Steps You Can Take to Avoid the Fate of Tulving’s Customers

It's official! The Tulving Company has ceased operations. At one point in time considered one of the most reputable and lowest cost coin and bullion providers in the nation, the legendary company, which recorded billions of dollars of sales during its 19 year run, shuttered its doors on March 3rd. As outlined in the following article, the first real signs of distress began to occur in mid-2012 and came to a head earlier this month when The Tulving Company was receiving more daily complaints than orders. As to if the victims will receive some form of restitution, it's for the bankruptcy courts to decide. Needless to say, a number of individuals who mistakenly placed their trust in The Tulving Company have lost a substantial sum of money. We thought we'd take this opportunity to discuss three steps that the average investor can take to help significantly reduce the chances of suffering the same fate as Tulving's customers.

Buy Locally

When you hear the term "buy locally," you might think of local produce, meat or other U.S. made products, but buying locally shouldn't strictly be limited to consumables. There are a number of reasons why you should consider buying coins and bullion locally. First and foremost, you're able to take immediate possession of your coins and bullion. While this may not sound as important in this day and age of e-commerce, as we learned from Tulving's recent demise, ordering online doesn't necessarily guarantee that you'll receive the items that you purchased in a timely fashion, or for that matter at all. Additionally, establishing a relationship with a local dealer has many benefits, including receiving preferred buying and selling rates, first dibs on new merchandise and developing a relationship built on trust. We go into further detail on each of these benefits on two previous articles that we've written here and here.

Third Party Oversight Organizations

Whether buying coins and bullion locally or from an online dealer, it's always wise to check the company's standing with the Better Business Bureau and other third party oversight organizations and industry-related sites, such as the American Numismatic Association, Money.org, and PNG, PNGdealers.org. These organizations require their members to abide by the strictest ethical guidelines in the industry and will take action if one of their members fails to fulfill their obligations. Not only do we recommend checking the status of your local or online coin dealer before conducting business with them but periodically doing so as you continue to conduct business to confirm that the coin dealer's status hasn't changed with any of the organizations. As we saw with Tulving, a solid track record isn't necessarily indicative of continued ethical business practices.

Live Coins & Bullion

As we learned from reading the timeline provided in the previously referenced article, it appeared as though Tulving began to experience issues once they no longer had the items in stock that they were selling and instead began relying on drop shipping to fill their orders. For those unfamiliar with the term, drop shipping refers to dealers in the wholesale market that ship on behalf of other dealers. Some dealers operate solely in this manner, which isn't necessarily a negative, but they need to be well capitalized and pay for the items in advance. We occasionally drop ship for a couple of large online dealers and have always received funding prior to shipping the items. The important thing to keep in mind is that buying "live" coins is always preferred, but if the coins are going to be drop shipped, you should verify that the dealer shipping the coins has been paid in advance to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Conclusion

In summary, we've highlighted the unfortunate circumstances surrounding The Tulving Company, their unfilled orders and eventual bankruptcy. There's always the opportunity to learn from unfortunate events, and as such, we've provided three helpful hints in hopes that you'll be able to avoid a situation similar to Tulving's. First and foremost, conducting business locally is oftentimes the best strategy. Secondly, if you opt to conduct business online, be sure to check the company's rating with third party oversight organizations, such as the BBB and the ANA. Lastly, ask if the items that you're purchasing are "live." If not, you should verify that the drop ship dealer has been paid for the items and will ship the coins and bullion in a timely fashion. Following the above steps should increase your chances of a successful transaction.

Tony Davis is the owner of Atlanta Gold and Coin Buyers, a full service Atlanta based coin and bullion dealer specializing in buying, selling and appraising coins and coin collections of all types and sizes.

Written by Tony Davis at 00:00

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