Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

2008-W Platinum Eagles Gone, Order Cancellations Mount


Today, the last of the 2008-W Uncirculated Platinum Eagle offerings available from the US Mint went dark. The last to go was the one ounce coin priced at $1,069.95. Yesterday, I mentioned that this coin was listed as back ordered and might soon officially sell out.

However, even if you did place an order before your the coins went off sale, you still might be out of luck. There have been widespread reports of cancellations for orders placed on sold out products. In some cases the orders were placed weeks before the sell out dates. The most extreme case comes from a reader who reports that his order for a 1/10 oz. Unc Platinum Eagle placed on October 20 was just canceled after 7 weeks of waiting.

The US Mint reserves extremely broad abilities to cancel or reject orders as part of their order acceptance policy. Here are a few bullet points from the policy which is displayed after any order is placed:
- The United States Mint reserves the right to limit quantities and may discontinue accepting orders at any time.

- The United States Mint reserves the right to accept or reject coin orders in any combination or option(s) it determines to be in its best interest.

- In the event a particular coin option is sold out, the United States Mint reserves the right to either process partial orders and make refunds, or return orders in their entirety.
While it is clearly stated within the US Mint's policy that orders may be canceled at their discretion, it's a disservice to customers who believed they had secured coins for their collections. In the past, cancellations seemed to happen primarily for orders placed a few days before sell outs. The current cancellations seem to be much more delayed and extensive.

As many readers have pointed out, these cancellations will likely serve to continue diminishing the reported sales figures for the series. I'll continue to track the updated sales numbers to see if they fall below any important levels.

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12 Comments:

At December 3, 2008 at 6:03 PM , Blogger Terry said...

I ordered both the 1/2 ounce and the 1/4 ounce platinum uncirculated coins on October 23, 2008. The 1/2 ounce was delivered shortly thereafter; However, on December 2, 2008, I received a system generated message from the mint stating that the 1/4 ounce was sold out. This is unbelievable, I placed the order the second day that the platinum eagles were relisted by the mint, and weeks before the price was reduced for a second time. This year has been ridiculous for collectors, the mint has really hurt those of us that take collecting seriously; I paid $1900 for the 10th anniversary platinum set, it is now on sale for $1250. I paid a higher price for proof and uncirculated first spouse gold coins, and recently several coins that I bought, and that I thought might increase in value were offered for sale at the mint’s “Last Chance Sale,” I am extremely frustrated with the mint. In fact I am going to send an official complaint to the mint concerning the ¼ platinum ounce coin; I want to know the real reason that I didn’t receive the coin…

 
At December 4, 2008 at 5:05 AM , Blogger sure said...

I put in an order 5 weeks ago for several coins, order amount about 3,300. Everything on the list except the 10 SAE UNC was cancelled. I got the coins on Friday last week. My refund of 3,000 is nowhere in sight and the folks on then phone know nothing about it except that I am do a refund. However, exactly when I get my money back is unable to be determined. The mint needs to take a serious look at the ordering processes.

 
At December 4, 2008 at 5:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but it's time for me to find a new hobby. I called the mint, what a joke.

 
At December 4, 2008 at 5:58 AM , Blogger Michael said...

I had an experience with a lost refund once. I called the Mint and was transferred about four times.

All of the reps were very courteous and could clearly see that a refund was owed, but were unable to do it from their department.

Eventually I got the refund, but it took some more time on hold and a few weeks to process.

 
At December 4, 2008 at 10:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got a email saying my 1/4 ounce platinum unc that i ordered on oct 21, 2008 has been shipped. after yesterday getting a email saying my 1/10 oz that I ordered on the 20th of oct was sold out. thank god that I ordered my 4 coin set on the 23rd of oct came in a few days after ordering it.this will be my last order from the u.s mint. i'm just a average collector that started collecting about 2 years ago. but i'm a pretty good customer of the mint. i spent between $5000-$8000 a year from the mint. but they don't care about customers like me I guess. since they treat us all like this.

 
At December 5, 2008 at 6:07 PM , Anonymous doug said...

Michael,
Thanks for that heads up. After being told 2 weeks ago my refund check was being *processed* and would arrive within 2 weeks (incidentally the whole call process took 15 minutes, 2 agents this call), I called again today and after 25 minutes (15 on various holds) and 3 agents I discovered that my check in fact has been on *hold* for the last 2 weeks and no agent could explain why however the final agent who was in accounting at"headquarters" informed me that as of today the check has been *released* and I *should* get it within 2 weeks. So, 40 minutes of phone time gave me pause and I asked the last agent at "headquarters" for his direct phone # , which he gave me. He seemed just as puzzled as I was about my whole experience. Anywho, thanks again, there was something in your message that tweaked me this morning so I decided I needed to call and sure enough I really did. Hopefully this call worked.

 
At December 7, 2008 at 6:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back ordered the 1/4 plat unc Oct. 25 only to see the Mint cancel my order just last week. At least my 1/2 oz. and 1 oz. pieces came through.

 
At December 12, 2008 at 11:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to US mint the customer service is superb!!! In their website, they have given the following:

http://www.usmint.gov/pressroom/index.cfm?action=press_release&ID=8

“In summary, SRBI concludes that the 1997 survey demonstrates "a high level of customer satisfaction with the U.S. Mint's product, price and delivery system . . . [T]he Mint can expect an extraordinary level of customer retention among its current customers”

…………………………….. said Mint Director Philip N. Diehl. "The 1997 survey confirms the improvements we've made in customer service, and highlights areas where our customers would like to see further improvement." SRBI found that these "customer surveys show measurable increases in customer ratings of the U.S. Mint" since 1995, including increases in customer ratings of "excellent" or "very good" for:
• delivery reliability (from 81% in 1995 to 90% in 1997)
• responsiveness to customers (from 74% to 81%)
• customer service (from 78% to 84%)
• prices (from 55% to 61%), and
• timely delivery (from 72% to 77%). ”

 
At December 16, 2008 at 7:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is any one interested to let the appropriate authorities/press know the difficulties we customers have to face while doing business with the mint? The mint basically tells everyone that it can do whatever it wants in their disclosure. If any financial institution withholds a good sum of money and refunds without providing a service they will be sued for interest. The authorities at mint are not held accountable for the poor customer services. The government is answerable for the people; and the mint, a government agency should be held accountable for its actions.

I have tried to contact the mint to explain my problem. Every time I was hitting a brick wall. While the mint boasts to have an excellent customer service, it does not have a system where customers could express their grievance. The customer service is just a joke. There is no contact information provided for the authorities.

It is high time that we let Mr. Edmund C. Moy know our difficulties via media. If anyone interested then please reply to this blog. I am thankful for this forum.

 
At December 16, 2008 at 7:33 PM , Blogger Michael said...

Anonymous- Thanks for your comments. This year, I think that the US Mint has been particularly bad in handling many situations- bullion coins shortages, product suspensions, pricing, price reductions, order cancellations, sell outs of core products, etc....

At least one of my posts about this seem to have gotten the Mint's attention. See my post on price reductions and their response.

If you are up for it, maybe you can set up a group on Coin Network to centralize your efforts. You would have a dedicated forum to help organize/publicize the message.

If you are interested in organizing something like this, contact me on Coin Network. My member name is "coinnetwork"

 
At December 17, 2008 at 4:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks! I just started this year. Do you mean that this year is unique?

 
At December 17, 2008 at 4:37 PM , Blogger Michael said...

Some aspects of this year are unique, such as the bullion coin sale suspensions and allocation programs. Others have happened in the past, but I don't think near the extremes happening this year.

 

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