In business since 1997, Lear Capital, Inc. is a company based in Los Angeles, California that sells precious metals including gold, silver, palladium and platinum. They also offer precious metals IRAs. They sell gold coins including the American Gold Eagle, the Austrian Philharmonic, the British Sovereign, the Canadian Maple Leaf, the Gold Krugerrand and the Swiss 20 Franc. Silver coins include the Silver American Eagle, the Silver Canadian Maple Leaf and the Silver Round. Note that as of 9 June 2013 their website states “Because of the recent market swings, we are limiting online orders to $5000 after hours.” Their website further states that the price a customer pays for a product “is set at moment purchase is finalized.” Specific dates for coins are not available; the coins provided are at Lear Capital’s discretion.
Lear Capital claims to offer bullion for sale on their website but as of 9 June 2013 the hyperlink provided (“Purchasing Bullion”) redirects to their coins page. Also, an examination of their website reveals no platinum or palladium products for sale. Lear Capital appears to only sell gold and silver numismatics and precious metals IRAs. They publish a disclaimer informing the reader that Lear provides no “tax, investment, legal advice or advisory services.”
On their company profile Lear Capital claims to maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. They also are a Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Authorized Dealer. There is a report concerning Lear Capital on file with the Business Consumer Alliance (BCA), which gives them a “BB” rating. The BCA explains that this is “a high rating, (signifying that the company) would generally have demonstrated good business-consumer relations, and we would expect any consumer complaints not to be of a serious nature and to be satisfactorily handled by the company.” Lear Capital is Preferred Member of TrustLink and has a four star (out of five) rating based on 168 company reviews on file. Lear Capital, Inc. has dba names including goldcentral.com, Lear Financial, Inc. and learcapital.com.
The National Inflation Association (NIA) website has posted a review about Lear Capital. The NIA points out that Lear Capital does not accept credit cards for payment – payment must be made by bank wire, certified check, personal check or money order. Lear Capital also charges a US$25 “shipping/handling/insurance fee” and does not expedite shipping of orders. Should a customer cancel an order, Lear Capital charges a 4% restocking fee. The NIA also claims that their shipment from Lear Capital arrived 27 days after the date of ordering including 17 business days during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays.
A Lear Capital customer posted a review at TrustLink where he raises three complaints. One, there is a long delay from order to delivery, as the NIA alludes to above. The reviewer claims that most of his orders take 30 days for delivery. Also, should shipment be delayed because the product is out of stock, Lear Capital does not notify the customer. Two, the reviewer claims that Lear Capital charges prohibitive shipping costs, typically about $27 for orders under $1,000 (which roughly corresponds to what the NIA reported). And should the order be more than $1,000 the shipping charge increases to $37 for an order shipped in the same box and at the same shipping cost as a $500 order. The reviewer points out that shipping via USPS priority mail would cost $11 plus insurance. Three, Lear Capital charges higher prices than competing precious metal brokers. The reviewer claims that “a typical silver 1 oz. coin … cost(s) $1 – $1.50” more than other dealers. Another customer reported an order shortage which Lear Capital corrected upon review. Most of the TrustLink reviews for Lear Capital are positive, with generic complimentary compliments for Lear Capital account representatives and their customer service.
However, the website forum nepacrossroads.com reports a number of negative comments regarding Lear Capital. In particular, one irate customer posted that Lear Capital does not ship until enough orders are compiled to “justify a shipment from the supplier/distributor/warehouse.” Another customer posted regarding Lear Capital’s referral program. Apparently at one time Lear Capital gave customers who referred one person to them a 1/0 oz. gold coin, two people – a 1/4th oz. gold, three people – ½ oz. gold and four people – a 1 oz. gold coin. This poster reported that “on the day the fourth person was confirmed (Lear Capital) called to say that they no longer offer this program.” Needless to say this person is quite upset about Lear Capital reneging on its commitment. The complaints at nepacrossroads.com regarding Lear Capital address the length of delay between order and delivery of products as well as claims of overcharging for coins.
Regarding Lear Capital’s precious metals IRAs, one seething customer reported them to the website ripoffreport.com. The poster claims that Lear Capital “stole” at least 40% of his investment when he transferred his IRA to a Lear Capital precious metals IRA. The details are complicated but the gist of the story deals with a class action settlement regarding Lear Capitals’ “lack of clear contract verbiage.” Ripoffreport.com duly reports that Lear Capital is making “good faith efforts to resolve all complaints reported on Ripoff Report” and “has proven to be among the top members of the Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation and Customer Satisfaction Program as a Verified Safe Business.”
One other point worth noting is that Lear Capital advertises at Fox News and rushlimbaugh.com; in March, 2013 Lear Capital left a post on its Facebook page (apparently since deleted) that they were “very concerned” about Limbaugh’s comments regarding Georgetown University law school student Sandra Fluke. Despite Lear Capital’s comment that Limbaugh “blurred” the lines between “free speech and unnecessary personal attacks,” it appears that the precious metals broker is still a Limbaugh sponsor.