Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Monday, March 2, 2009

Message to the US Mint: Your Customers Are Not Happy

It’s not a secret that the US Mint has made many of their customers unhappy this year. The discontentment ranges from new customers who are having a bad experience with their very first coin purchase to long time customers of 30 or 40 years who are becoming fed up with recent issues.

When I first started this blog, I rarely wrote about customer service issues, policy changes, and complaints because there were few. In recent months, this has become a large portion of my coverage. I’ve mentioned many of the issues and discussed some of the issues from different angles. I wanted to write a single post which puts everything on the table. In an attempt to provide some balance, I will conclude with some of the things that the US Mint has done right and some of the challenges of the current environment.

Part One: US Mint Customer Complaints and Problems

Disastrous vendor changes

In January 2008, the US Mint changed providers for their online ordering system. Problems were encountered which resulted in the US Mint taking their entire Online Catalog off-line for more than one week. Customers literally could not place orders online and were met with long wait times if they tried to order by phone. The website outage coincided with the first major product launch of the year for the 2008 Bald Eagle Commemorative Coins.

In January 2009, the US Mint changed providers for their order fulfillment. In the midst of the changeover, the signature requirement was dropped seemingly for all orders. This resulted in packages containing thousands of dollars in gold coins being left on customer's doorsteps. These issues came amidst the launch of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin, one of the most highly touted US Mint products in recent history.

Questionable handling of platinum price decline

Last year the price of platinum declined from its peak price above $2,200 per ounce to less than $800. The US Mint suspended sales of platinum products as the price of the metal started to decline. After a multi-month suspension, the products were put back on sale at drastically reduced prices. Customers who had purchased the coins at the higher prices were not offered any refund or return option beyond the standard return period which had already passed.

While the Mint is not responsible for the losses incurred by their customers due to the decline in precious metals prices, they were not under any obligation to put the coins back on sale at such low prices. As a case in point, sales of the 10th Anniversary Platinum Eagle Set were suspended when the price was $2,649.95. After more than four months, the sets were put back on sale at $1,249.95. The secondary market prices instantly fell to match the new price level, and anyone who purchased the set at the higher price was put face to face with the fact that they had lost $1,400.00.

In the next five weeks approximately 1,500 more sets were sold before the offering was removed for good. I still receive comments from customers who remain unhappy about the US Mint’s handling of this situation. Was the brief relaunch and slight incremental sales really worth the long standing customer resentment that was created?

Inability to supply core products

Two of the most popular US Mint products unexpectedly sold out and were not available for customers to purchase. The 2008 Proof American Silver Eagle was not available for purchase after mid-August 2008. The 2008 Proof Set was not available for purchase after mid-December 2008. These "sell outs" caught many customers off guard who justifiably expected the products to be available for much longer. Other products such as the Gold Buffalo and Platinum Eagle coins also sold out before the end of the year.

While the unavailability of the silver, gold, and platinum coins could be explained by the ongoing precious metals blank shortage, the unavailability of the 2008 Proof Set is not so easily explained. Was this poor inventory planning? Or did the US Mint intentionally under produce the set so they did not have to transport the extra inventory to their new shipping facility following their change of fulfillment vendors?

Reducing collector favorites from the product line up

In mid-November, the US Mint announced that they would be cutting their 2009 Product line up by 60%. Deep reductions were made in precious metals numismatic offerings, including some collector favorites like the American Gold Buffalo fractional proof and uncirculated coins. As a testament to their popularity, the remaining 2007 dated Gold Buffalo coins sold out within one month of the announcement.

The 2009 Product line up is dominated by rolls and bags offerings for circulating coins and coins which the US Mint is legally required to produce such as the First Spouse Gold Coins. The reduced number of American Silver, Platinum, and Gold Eagles which the US Mint presumably will be offering are still missing.

Implementing policies with limited notice

The US Mint recently shortened their return policy from 30 days to only 7 calendar days. The policy was made public just one day before it became effective. The US Mint's official press release was issued after the policy had already been implemented. Not even considering the fact that the majority of US Mint customers feel the new return period is too short, some advance notice would have surely been appreciated.

Not following their own policies

In at least two recent instances the US Mint has not followed their own published or stated policies. The first instance relates to their pricing policy. Although their official notification in the Federal Registrar states that price updates would be effective Thursdays at 10:00 AM ET, the most recent changes took place last Wednesday around 2:00 PM ET. While the early change didn't seem to cause much distress, the implication that the US Mint has no qualms about breaking with their own published policies.

The second instance relates to their shipping policies. The US Mint sent an email to all customers who ordered the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle plainly stating that orders will be shipped on a first-come, first-served basis. Shipments of 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles and 2009 Lincoln Commemoratives suggest that they have not followed this policy. In both cases customers who placed orders on the second or third day of sales have received their coins while customers who ordered on the first day are still waiting.

Not effectively communicating with customers

US Mint customers are frequently left in the dark about shipping delays, issues regarding products they ordered, policy changes, and serious security issues. The US Mint will often release statements only through selected outlets days or weeks after the issues first arose, if they release statements at all. Besides the automatically generated emails with incorrect shipping dates, the only communication broadly distributed to all customers who ordered the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle was the recent email notification, which seemed to raise more questions than it answered.

Customers who call the Mint are often not provided with any useful information. Even the numismatic press has difficulty obtaining simple answers from the US Mint on straightforward questions.

No clear options for customer feedback

If you are a US Mint customer unhappy with your experience, where do you complain? If you call by phone, you are put in touch with representatives who are not responsible for the problems and do not have authority to solve them. Oftentimes they do not have information about the current issues or refuse to disclose the information. For the average customer there is no email address or phone number readily available to voice concerns or complaints.

Many Mint News Blog readers have asked for some way to voice their concerns directly to the US Mint. I can provide the following address:

Andrew Brunhart
United States Mint
801 9th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20220

Andrew Brunhart is the Deputy Director of the United States Mint. Although this address is public knowledge, it is not often publicized. Writing to him might be the best way to have your concerns heard.


Part Two: What the US Mint has done right

As previously stated, I wanted to also list some of the things that the US Mint has done right and some of challenges of the current environment which complicate their business and lead to some of the issues.

Last year, the US Mint produced more than ten billion coins for circulation. Other than discussion of coin designs or the necessity for certain denominations, there are rarely complaints on their performance in this area.

Last year, the US Mint produced more than twenty million American Silver Eagles. This was an all time record number, which they managed to produce amidst a silver blank shortage which impacted all world mints.

The 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle was made possible by the efforts of the US Mint and Director Edmund Moy. This coin was not created through legislation, as is the case for most other coins. The coin was authorized directly by the Treasury of the Secretary under 31 U.S.C. § 5112(i)(4)(C), presumably at the request of the US Mint. The US Mint was able to recreate Saint-Gaudens' original design and successfully mass produce the coin.

The US Mint has implemented new policies in an attempt to deal with known issues. Some of the resulting policies are far from perfect, but the intentions are to fix problems. One of this year’s new policies allows the US Mint to adjust the prices of gold and platinum numismatic products are often as once per week in response to changing precious metals prices. While I did have some critiques on the policy after it was announced, the issues the new policy creates are lesser than the issues it resolves.

The US Mint is dealing with some of the highest demand for gold and silver bullion coins in recent history. In many cases they are competing with world mints for a limited supply of precious metals blanks. The US Mint is legally required to produce bullion coins to meet public demand. They also produce numismatic precious metals offerings, which they are often not legally required. The US Mint is sometimes forced to make choices and prioritize.

Conclusion

Even amidst the current challenging environment and perhaps the heightened expectations of a high profile coin release, there are definite issues which the US Mint needs to consider and address. I sincerely hope that I am writing this lengthy post at a turning point, when the various problems start to be addressed with positive change and more open communication.

As always readers are invited comment with their thoughts on any of the issues or anything I may have left out. I will do what I can to make sure the proper people at the US Mint read this post and all of your comments.

Labels:

40 Comments:

At March 2, 2009 at 12:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Platinum resale. The price of precious metals fluctuates, and as such, its purchase (whether for hobby, resale, or pure investment) carries the risk that the value to the market can change. The real question is why they suspended sales in the first place. They could have made back considerably more money had they not suspended at all, even if the product had sold out sooner. By re-introducing for sale, they accepted huge losses (so did the people who bought when the price was high, but no one forced them to buy).

However, everything else you mentioned is spot on. You could also include the suspension of the "Track Order" online feature and what led to its suspension.

 
At March 2, 2009 at 1:05 PM , Blogger Michael said...

Re Platinum: I agree that anyone who buys the coins should assume the risk. I wasn't sure whether to include this, but I keep getting comments about people upset about it.

The main point is that US Mint could have handled the decline better. At least 3 different scenarios have been suggested:

1- Leave the products up for sale at the peak prices. They would have continued to sell coins, possibly a decent amount of them since many would bought them as a low mintage coin.

2- Don't bring the coins back at all. That was what I was trying to show with the 10th Anniversary Set. They brought the coin back for a few weeks, barely sold any, and upset everyone who bought before.

3- Communicate better. The coins were suspended for months, during which they had disappeared from the website without explanation. If there was some more clarity from the outset customers would have been less upset later on.

 
At March 2, 2009 at 2:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job and I hope the mint reads it. I think you left off one issue that I think is much more serious than a few of the others.

Lack of timely mintage figures for PM bullion sold by the mint.

Since the bullion and other precious metal coins sold by the government are actually owned by "We the People", how do you feel about the lack of accurate and timely reporting of how much of "our" PM's are being produced and sold by the mint.

I for one think that there should be no more than a 6 month time frame to report EXACTLY how many of each type of PM coin was made and sold for each year. This nonsense of still not knowing the EXACT numbers for 2006 and 2007 Eagle coin mintage figures is totally unacceptable. As a part owner of these assets, I think we should be outraged that the mint can't tell us how they're disposing of our money. The IRS would be pounding the doors down on a private company if they didn't report numbers for 1 year, let alone 3.

Can you say "Bernie Madoff"? I wonder how much the mint, or their fulfullment contractor, has "Made Off" with. Could some of our PM coins have walked off and now the inventory/sales sheets aren't balancing? Could that be why nothing final has been released for 3 years? If I were running the mint I'd feel more responsible for reporting the high dollar stuff than how many pennies were made.

 
At March 2, 2009 at 2:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Quality control. After a long wait, I recently received the Double Prosperity set. Unfortunately, there were two defects: The package sleeve was crushed in a corner due to inadequate packing. There was also a scratch on the gold buffalo. I received this set on a Thursday, returned it immediately, the mint received the return the following Thursday. On that day, the mint announced that the product had sold out. Should customers not be able to purchase a product because of the mint's poor quality control? I think not.
I have had numerous problems with other products, mainly uncirculated coins, with various cuts, nicks, scratches, and marks, followed by the aggravation of returning the product. Could the mint show a little more care with its products? Especially when they're costly precious metals coins?

 
At March 2, 2009 at 2:20 PM , Anonymous Susan Headley said...

Michael,

Excellent work! You've done an outstanding summary of many of the toughest challenges the Mint and its customers are facing right now. Hopefully the Mint executives will read it and take heed...

Susan Headley
About.com Guide to Coins

 
At March 2, 2009 at 2:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Tracking. Should the mint be punishing everyone because a few idiots let their order numbers be known? I don't think they should. Let everyone call if they wish to cancel (remove the check boxes), but please let the tracking feature return.

 
At March 2, 2009 at 2:33 PM , Blogger Michael said...

I definitely think some form of online tracking must be restored.

I don't think people who let their order numbers be known are "idiots."

The US Mint never gave customers any indication that this information should be considered confidential. Also the system never should have been so simplistic that "order number + last name" can be used to cancel orders.

 
At March 2, 2009 at 3:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Platinum: I'm sure the wild fluctuations in Platinum were a factor in the decision to discontinue the fractional coins.
Those who watch platinum prices were probably planning to buy on the aftermarket if/when prices were more reasonable. Let's be real honest here, buying from the mint isn't always your best option.

 
At March 2, 2009 at 4:06 PM , Anonymous Keith said...

Michael,

You are spot-on in this post, summarizing why the Mint has basically ground to a halt and alienated much of its customer base.

You list as a plus that Mr. Moy's efforts led to the release of the 2009 UHRDE. My biggest question related to this (barring the many fulfillment questions) - Why didn't someone think of this back in 2007, when it would have been a 100th anniversary of the coin? Since we're talking the 102nd anniversary, it seems like a gimmick designed to leave a legacy for Mr. Moy, as opposed to something for the collecting public. Too bad the legacy isn't what he wanted.

After much thought and frustration, I made the decision to quit buying any products directly from the Mint. When I called today to cancel the UHRDE, I was told I couldn't cancel because my order was in Pick Status. I asked when it would ship, but was told generally within a week from that Status. So instead of cancelling the order, the nice lady deactivated my credit card so that they couldn't charge me for the coin.

Not sure if this has soured me completely from Mint products, although I am leaning heavily that direction, but I will definitely only buy US coins from third parties in the future.

 
At March 2, 2009 at 5:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a 2007 legacy set 2 years ago and when i received it it was damaged. so i called the mint and told them and they said to return it if i wasn't happy with it and they would refund my money. so i asked if i could get a new one but i eas told no because it was sold out. but that was not true they didn't even sell close to the minatage #'s. the problem is they don't ship it until they pull it of the market so what are we suppose to do. NOTHING!!!!!!!!
basicly the mint says too bad take it or leave it. i had the same problem last year with a 4 coin platnium set there was a scratch on one of the coins. but by the time i received it the were sold out. too bad again i guess.
GREAT WAY TO TREAT YOUR CUSTOMERS!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahaha

 
At March 2, 2009 at 6:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add another one. I didn't get this UHR email that you have been talking about. I only got the two "I'm sorry but you will have to wait another 2-3 weeks" emails. From what you have been saying, it is probably best that I didn't. Hey, isn't this the same government that "gave" us DTV?

 
At March 2, 2009 at 8:31 PM , Anonymous Fyoder Dostoyevsky said...

Give man his utopia and he will deliberately destroy it with a grin.

Now I want my coins defect-free as much as the next guy (I returned the SF Mint $5 gold three times before getting an acceptible one), but I for one don't want a smooth-operating mint. At least not all the time. I don't want a perfectly-running machine, where everything is released on schedule and everybody always gets their coins and product is churned out by the millions.

What I want, is value, that is to say, some scarcity mixed in with the usually-high mintages.

Value that comes from a little bit of chaos, a sudden shortening of a product run that can result in a nice little profit for those in the game. Yes! Isn't that what you live for? It's not that you got your UHR late, it's that you already made money on it before you even got it. I could care less that the pr SAEs and clad sets went off-sale early; in fact I loved it because I made mad money on that stuff. Yess! Thank you mint!! That's what I'm talkin' about; everything else walks.

 
At March 2, 2009 at 8:40 PM , Blogger limalo said...

There is one thing that you didn't mention here and that I have never seen mentioned anywhere else but troubles me. That is the fact that bullion coins such as the Silver American Eagle can only be bought through third parties. The US Mint has a list of certain third party intermediaries who they sell these bullion coins to and the rest of the American public has to buy from these people at great markups. Why can't an ordinary American citizen such as myself buy these silver coins directly from the Mint at the spot price the way these dealers can? It seems as though the Mint is giving favored status to these dealers and allowing them to establish an oligopoly at the expense of ordinary citizens. I would like to be able to purchase silver bullion coins at spot price instead of a minimum of $3.99 per ounce above spot. This is something I have never understood. Is this a legitimate complaint to made to the Mint or is there some legitimate reason they have created this oligopoly of dealers who are given this huge opportunity to make a profit from the general public who is not allowed to purchase silver bullion coins at spot? This seems patently unfair to me. Any thoughts?

 
At March 2, 2009 at 10:08 PM , Blogger Scott said...

Why write Brunhardt? Although the Deputy Director is a career position within the government, Brunhardt is a political hack who used to be the unsuccessful general manager of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), the water and sewer company in Maryland. His tenure was less than stellar. You can read more here.

Why not write directly to Edmund Moy. He is the Director of the Mint until replaced. Moy has a responsibility to dispatch his job with due diligence while being on the government payroll.

Now only should you write Moy, but his boss, Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner. You can write to Geithner at:

Secretary Timothy F. Geithner
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

You may also want to write Secretary Geithner's boss at president@whitehouse.gov. Someone will read your letter and it will be passed along to the proper people.

 
At March 2, 2009 at 10:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let the chaos last! For in this situation, I made my money.

If everybody is happy with MINT, I am sure most coin dealers on ebay will close their doors sooner or later.

Please, please, don't have a great quality control. I want only one 70 coin out of a million!

 
At March 3, 2009 at 3:34 AM , Blogger Michael said...

limalo-

You raise an interesting issue that I don't think has been examined much.

I believe the system of "Authorized Purchasers" was set up when American Gold and Silver Eagles initially started being offered in 1986. At least part of the reason for this system is that the AP's are supposed to create a two way market for the bullion coins- willing to both buy and sell them. This seems much less relevant now.

 
At March 3, 2009 at 3:44 AM , Blogger Michael said...

Scott-

I discussed who was the best person to contact with comments and complaints with Susan Headley.

We decided that Brunhart was the best option so that people's comments would actually be heard.

If people write to Moy or Geithner, it's likely that their letters will be read or filtered through an assistant and possibly never reach the destination. We thought that Brunhart was in a position to actually read his mail, listen to customers, and start the process of bringing about some change.

Of course people are free to write to others higher up the chain as well.

 
At March 3, 2009 at 5:42 AM , Blogger sure said...

order confirmed 1/22 @ 12:34pm
my order range is 3082xxx and got notice of ship last night. UPS track says it should be here this am. I think it is just the coin per the email.

 
At March 3, 2009 at 9:15 AM , Blogger Scott said...

Michael:

Brunhardt is incompetent. He will not know what to do with the notes. As director of the Mint, it is Moy's responsibility.

As for writing the others, it ensures that the complaint does not fall into the black hole of the bureaucracy.

I will tell you that under the orders of the president, Treasury does have a customer service unit in formation. There is an under secretary and a forming staff in charge of customer issues.

Also, there is a very proactive group of people in the Executive Office of the President that will look into issues. I have written to the EOP and have received responses on other issues.

Unfortunately, I do not see the Mint changing until the president appoints a new director who is not a political hack. Moy was a patronage appointment and the performance of the Mint's services shows that he unqualified for his position.

 
At March 3, 2009 at 9:34 AM , Blogger Michael said...

Scott-

You are definitely more in tune with the political side of things than I am, so I am glad you provided this input.

Thanks,
Michael

 
At March 3, 2009 at 10:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael, I want to thank you for all of the good work that you do on this site. I do want to expound a little more on what Limalo posted earlier about the bullion coin program. I agree that in the age of the internet, that it is ridiculous that the progam is run the way it is.

Let me get this straight, the mint buys the silver, has the blanks made, strikes the coins, packages them into tubes and boxes and sells them to the chosen few for, according to the mint website, $1.50 over spot. Then we all end up paying $4 to $5 over spot to the people that have really done nothing except have a lot of money and friends in high places. I'm sure the gold program works approximately the same way.

Wouldn't we and the mint all be better off if, for instance, the mint sold them to individuals at $2.00 over spot. I am sure the chosen ones will yell bloody murder, but I would appeiciate it if you could get a conversation going on this topic. Thanks again for all of your fine work.

 
At March 3, 2009 at 7:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been ordering coins from the mint for almost 40 years and have been for the most part quite happy with the coins and the service that has been offered. I am at this point frustrated though, I ordered my UHRDE within the first three hours of it going on sale and have as of today not yet received it. This is unacceptable! While I am not going to cancel my order, I am considering alternatives to dealing with "The Mint". They really need to get this fixed!

 
At March 3, 2009 at 7:54 PM , Blogger Aunt Curly said...

I've noticed a lack of pride from the US mint. If you compare just the asthetics to the Canadian mint you can see what a poor job our US mint does in marketing. I think the coins are beautiful but how they are presented is lacking. This whole issue of pride runs rampant throughout most gov't agencies and I think once we see their marketing image improve the behind the scenes inner workings will follow. A lot of this is attitude.

 
At March 4, 2009 at 5:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is unforgiveable that a government-run enterprise with unlimited product demand and unlimited profit potential is so blatantly incompetent.

I just got off the phone with the Mint to inquire about the status of my UHR coin, and the word is now that anyone who ordered from 1/22/09 - 2/22/09 will have their coin shipped "no later than" 04/22/09. There is no explanation for why those who ordered after the first day have had their orders fulfilled.

If a private company had employees who run things this way, those employees would be FIRED, or the company would go out of business.

 
At March 4, 2009 at 7:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael: We all really appreciate your leadership on our issues. Having just received my first coin under the new fulfillment contractor, I was absolutely appalled at the way the coin was packed. First the box could have held fifty or a hundred coins, rather than this one coin floating around in brown paper wrapping. The exterior of the box was loosely taped. All of that contributes to damage of the coins .This particular coin was a proof and for the first time I received a proof coin with visible damage. Now the old packaging cost me a few fingernails trying to open the box without tearing it up but I would rather lose a fingernail and have a PR-69 rather than a PR-60

 
At March 4, 2009 at 9:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to concur with the poster regarding packaging. My 8-8-08 set and several GAEs arrived from the new fulfillment center in boxes filled only with brown paper and the content/return sheet. It was a shocking difference from the packaging of the Celebrations I received from FedEx last year. Yes, this may be minutia for some, but it depends on what one believes he/she deserves for the price they pay.

When I ship packages, I am told by the shipping company reps that the use of plastic bags or paper as filler are NOT acceptable to protect the product nor sufficient for insurance purposes. I assume the Mint is not held to such standards anymore; at least the products can still be returned.

 
At March 5, 2009 at 9:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the biggest problem with the Mint is that they have become a people-pleaser business. They seek to please a small % of their customers who complain about being able to order coins on the day they come out, and as a result, with the implementation of their 1 per household deal they have effectively killed off their First Spouse line in the 1st year of it's release.

No interest is created in the coin if it does not sell out, therefore it is not perceived as valuable and the Mint will sell dramatically fewer coins. This has been PROVEN by the fact that the Mint has sold about 75% fewer First Spouse gold coins since they implemented this policy (excluding Jefferson's Liberty which was still riding the high of the 1st 2 coins).
You would think that as a BUSINESS, the Mint would be more interested in selling 40,000 of a coin rather than fewer than 10,000...That's 75% less profit. WHY would ANY business do that?

The nonsense continues with the lack of a mintage limit of the UHRDE. If coin is available to anyone on an unlimited basis, then what is the point of collecting it? It has no inherent value if it is as common as anything else.

That aside, again with the limit of 1 per household they are turning off future coin collectors. Imagine the situation with anyone with children and/or grandkids: well let's see, who is my FAVORITE kid? That one will get the UHR coin, the rest get nothing. Are you kidding me?
They are running their business into the ground with these FACTUALLY-PROVEN TERRIBLE PEOPLE-PLEASING techniques.

If they don't want an instant sellout, then up the mintage limit by 20 or 30%, and then raise the household limit to at least 5 so we can pass these things on and create more interest in future Mint releases.

Doesn't anyone agree with these statements?

 
At March 5, 2009 at 12:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ordered 5 1/2 oz gold coins from the us mint on the 20th of Feb. It is now march and I have heard no word on what is wrong with my order. 3000+ dollar order. Wait times are huge and the people I get cannot give me a solid ship date. I am thinking about ordering elsewhere so I can get my coins sometime soon!!

Question: If gold rises while my order is in progress will they hit me with the new price or honor my original price?

Also, the coins I ordered (item z8b)are not UNAVAILABLE on the site. Will I ever get them!?!

I wish I though it over before putting my faith in the American gov. Please help!

 
At March 5, 2009 at 3:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new and hopefully soon to change no signature requirement really ticks me off. I could not believe my Feb. order of the 08 First Spouse Golds (a $5000 order) was just sitting outside my apartment door a couple weeks ago waiting for some yahoo to walk off with it. I could just image what a hassle it would be to claim your order never arrived and get a replacement order shipped.

 
At March 6, 2009 at 6:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a bunch of instant gratification junkies! What do you want the mint to do, hand deliver the coins to you the same day you order them? Stop listing eBay pre-order auctions, and get on with your lives. No other business has a 24-hour real-time order checker, why do you insist the mint MUST HAVE one? Did you learn nothing when you watched the girl demanding "I want an oompa-loompa NOW" on Willy Wonka?

 
At April 8, 2009 at 8:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice write up, i was caught off guard with the 2008 clad proof quarters. Now i'm just waiting for the "fever" to die off so i can get my set closer to cost. Also i hope they get around to the proof silver eagles as i really like collecting them vs the bullion ones.

 
At April 16, 2009 at 12:13 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was absolutely furious when UPS left my UHR coin on my doorstep without a signature! Aside from that and the fact that the Order Track on the mint's website is never dependable there are really no other complaints from me. On the flip side, there are variables that can easily get overlooked when running a business. Last year, the mint simply had too many fires going without the necessary fuel to keep them going. That led to the early cancellations of products and delays in receiving orders. I have never rejected anything the mint has shipped me in the 20 plus years I have been doing business with them. This has built a great reputation and the mint usually rewards me with timely shipping. However, there are absolutely too many people who complain and reject anything that may not be absolutely perfect. So, what the mint does is try to cherrypick certain inventories for these complainers in an attempt to not have anything sent back, leading to the delays in receiving orders. Are you complaining about this too? If the world was perfect, everyone would be rich, no one would have to work, and absolutely everything would be perfectly done by machines that never failed with no maintenance and ran off an infinite power source. One of my life's lessons has taught me that those who complain in this manner are those who have no self-fulfillment in life and have never been exposed to reality in the form of a real job. When you learn the true value of money, then you can complain!

 
At April 19, 2009 at 12:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I not only missed out on my 2007 Presidential Spouse medal set because it took so long my credit card expirted in the mean time - in my recent order for 1 proof and 1 unc Lincoln $1,coin, I received 2unc. coins. I called the mint finally getting though and was told to return 1 coin and they would replace it which was a complete lie, regrdless what you write on the form, they refunded the coin, end of Story. Being a cynic, and being afraid this would happen, I placed my OWN individual order for the POroof caoin, which was accecpted. Two weeks later, I got a message saying "SOLD OUT - SORRY" I've been dabbling in Canadian coins, and UK issues. with all this nonsence, I may just switch ALL my business there - I know I'm not a multi-thousand orderer of bags and rolls, but I do spend well over $1,000, a year, and all I ask for/expect is for service. Big Silly ME!@

 
At April 19, 2009 at 8:20 PM , Anonymous Arthur said...

Great Blog, I never had any problems in 2008 with my orders taking longer than 2 weeks. I must say that this year after February every order I have placed has had its shipping date changed at least once and most 2 or 3 times.Still waiting on my pennies from March 13th, had a Lincoln Proof cancelled after being IN-STOCK AND RESERVED. Totally amazing that a company can screw up as bad as PBGS. I agree with the folks about the mintage numbers of OUR coins/money. I also think that limalohas a very good point about the "bullion" coins not being available to the general public. Why should the dealers and other 3rd party's with lots of money and pull be able to get huge amounts of these coins and then charge even more for us to get them. Just not agood practice for the U nited States Mint to be associated with.

 
At July 17, 2009 at 8:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 2008 web outage happened not so much because of a poorly managed switch in providers, but because the management of the Sales and Marketing division allowed the provider contract (with a private contractor) to expire (which they knew was going to happen months in advance) without renewing the contract or having an alternative "bridge" plan in place. When the private contractor finally pulled the plug, Sales and Marketing - in desperation - turned to the Mint's OIT team - which took a week and half or so to get the website back online and functioning at a rudimentary level. This debacle is one reason that the individual who headed Sales and Marketing at the time is no longer with the Mint. Her top middle managers and their minions are still in place - and a major reason things are still going so poorly. Until they are replaced - don't expect much good to happen.

 
At October 9, 2009 at 11:44 PM , Blogger ripley said...

What do you expect from the Gooberment ???

 
At December 1, 2009 at 7:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last Wed. am I was going to purchase a gold spouse coin only to find the price went up by $25.
I think it was premature and greedy on Mr. Moy's account.

Decided to skip it, actually skip the whole future series. Actually paying more than $600/ 1/2 ounce coin is risky! It's only been 2 months since gold has been over $1000!

Can't afford the gold spouse. I guess I'm stuck with the Braille set. Nice coin actually!

 
At January 17, 2010 at 4:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a titanic article as they all are. I tease been wondering nearly this for some measure now. Its notable to get this info. You are fete and balanced.

 
At August 24, 2010 at 9:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am extremely unhappy with a recent order. For 30 years, I have given proof sets for baby gifts. I recently ordered 4 coin sets and two of them were unsatisfactory. That in itself came as a surprise. Then I was told I could not exchange the sets as more than 7 days had passed - it was 10 days. I explained that I was out of town (my daughter had her baby) when the sets arrived. I will no longer be a customer and have now decided not to give any more coin sets as gifts.

 
At April 30, 2011 at 9:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought the 2011 United States Mint Proof Set
Item # P13.
I received the item in unacceptable quality, This is supposed to be a proof set and this is a three container proof set with penny nickel dime half dollar, sacagawea dollar, the 4 Presidential dollars and the 5 territory quarters. There was a defect in at least one or more of the coins in each sealed case.
The first set I received even had a hair sealed in with the coin. To Me this is unacceptable quality and as such I returned it within their 7 day return period and received a replacement set and refund for My having to return ship the first set! That part was acceptable and they were helpful BUT,,
I received the second set and it is almost as bad or worse then the first set!
The penny has a nick on the obverse, the Sacagawea dollar is spotty on the reverse, some of the Presidents are dirty on the obverse and the obverse of the Glacier quarter has a scratch after the last A in AMERICA!
I had intended to immediately return this set and try one more time for a replacement but there was a death in the family and I was occupied with that and now that things are settling down I called the mint to ask if I could kindly get an extension past the 7 day return policy due to a death in the family but the girl on the other end calmy said No, I'm sorry We cant do that! I said thanks and we hung up! I then went on to their website to look up the 7 day return policy and it states that because of fluctuations in the market of gold and silver they cannot accept returns past the 7 day period. To Me this is a bunch of Bull!!!! This is a set that they sell for a set price and will probably resell in some way for the same set price so their reasoning for the policy of no returns so we dont lose money in the market is flawed!
All I know is I Paid for a PROOF set and got garbage instead. I wanted to continue with buying the Proof set each year but if this is how you get treated, you pay for proof and get garbage I guess this is the final sale they will get from Me! Thanks for your time, David.

 

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