Scam

Birch Gold Group

Birch Gold Group Review 2021 (karlo vartan)

Is Birch Gold Group legit
Is Birch Gold Group legit? Let’s find out here.

Birch Gold Group seems like a genuine company at first. But they aren’t what they seem to be. 

This precious metals brokerage relies on lies and deception to promote itself, which is a highly unethical method. 

In my following Birch Gold Group review, I’ll expose their shady marketing techniques and explain to you why you should stay away from this shady firm. 

Who Owns Birch Gold Group?

Spoiler Alert: It’s not Ben Shapiro

A lot of people search for the Birch Gold Group owner, however, there is no information available about this individual online.

Birch Gold seems to market it using the brand of Ben Shapiro, who has endorsed this company and often promotes them on his shows (Ben Shapiro Show & The Daily Wire).

If we Google “Who owns Birch Gold”, we will see this listing at the top:

The term “Ben Shapiro Gold Company” implies that Birch Gold Group is owned by the right-wing editor, however, that is not the case.

As we will see later on, this is not the only instance of deceptive marketing done by Birch Gold.

The actual owner of Birch Gold Group is anonymous which is extrmely shady. Transparency is a major factor in the finance industry and Birch Gold seems to make a joke of it by misleading its clients.

The closest thing to an executive I could find was the Chief Financial Officer at Birch, Mr. Karlo Vartan. However the actual founder and owner of Birch Gold chooses to remain anonymous from the public, but why?

Anonymous owners are a big red flag and many financial scams in the past had anonymous owners. The benefit of staying anonymous for shady company owners is that they stay safe from getting exposed to the public.

I find it shocking that a popular editor like Ben Shapiro would endorse such a shady company.

Birch Gold has been involved in many lawsuits however the firm has buried the court documents in search engine results. If you Google “Birch Gold Group Lawsuit”, you will see Birch’s sponsored BBB listing and BirchGold dot com’s article on a random lawsuit.

birch gold group lawsuit google results

Birch has taken active steps to bury the information about the multiple lawsuits they’ve been involved in. This is highly misleading for their clients, so I’ve compiled the information about these lawsuits in this report.

Class Action Lawsuit Against Birch Gold Group: Exploiting Employees!

If you were an employee at Birch Gold Group from 28th Feb 2013 to 29th June 2020, then you may be entitled to money.

Christopher Moore vs Birch Gold Group (Labor Class Action Lawsuit)

Birch Gold allegedy broke the California Business and Professions Code, and the California Labor Code.

Birch Gold Group exploited their employees by not providing meal and rest breaks, not compensating for rest breaks, and not even paying the minimum wages for all the hours the employees worked. Birch Gold also didn’t pay its employees overtime wages and the wages they did pay were very delayed.

They also failed to keep accurate and complete payroll records and wage statements.

Birch Gold Group’s Massive ~$500,000 Settlement For Mistreating Employees

Birch Gold Group has agreed to pay a sum of $500,000 to settle this class action lawsuit against Christopher Moore & Kyle Shaw.

Other Details About The Lawsuit

Kyle Shaw and Christopher Moore are the “Named Plaintiffs” in this lawsuit.

Key parties involved in this lawsuit are as follows:

Defendant’s counsel (representing Birch Gold Group):
Fadi K. Rasheed, Esq.
LEECH TISHMAN FUSCALDO & LAMPL

Class counsel:
SHENKMAN & HUGHES

I strongly suggest that you download the full court document if you want to learn everything about this Birch Gold Group lawsuit. You can download the full document using the box down below.

Birch Gold Malpractice Lawsuit: Settled For $700,000

The Malpractice Action is currently pending in Orange County Superior Court – Birch Gold v. Gordon & Rees, et al. In the
Malpractice Action, Birch Gold brought a cause of action for legal malpractice against Gordon & Rees and (soon to be added
defendant) Smith LC for legal malpractice due to their roles in creating Defendant’s employment policies at issue in the instant class
action matter, including the commission agreements, pay structures and break policies. Defendant believes its damages includes the
amounts at issue in the instant class action settlement. The Malpractice Action is currently pending in Orange County Superior Court
under Case No. 30-2018-00989318-CU-PO-CJC..

Birch Gold v. Gordon & Rees, et al.

The Many Other Birch Gold Group Lawsuits

There is not a lot of information available about the following lawsuits but I’ve included everything I could find after hours of digging.

Honest and legitimate companies don’t get involved in numerous lawsuits, and this is a big red flag for Birch Gold Group customers.

Birch Gold Group, LP v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London

Plaintiff:Birch Gold Group, LP
Defendant:Chubb Underwriting Agencies LTD, Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London Subscribing to Policy Number N194678 and Talbot Underwriting LTD
Case Number:1:2020cv07750
Filed:December 28, 2020
Court:US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Presiding Judge:Martha M Pacold
Nature of Suit:Contract: Insurance
Cause of Action:28:1441
Jury Demanded By:Both

More details included in the PDF document down below:

Curtis Davis vs Birch Gold Group

This case was filed on 1st July 2020, it is still pending. The case is of fraud.

Curtis Davis seemed to have sued Birch Gold for failure of service.

Gustafson J. Ryan is representing the Plaintiff.

The case was filed at the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Richard Stites vs Birch Gold Group, LP, et al.

Richard Stites was an ex-employee at Birch Gold Group and they are suing Birch for wrongful termination. It was filed at the Los Angeles County Superior Court as well.

The case was filed on 28th May 2020.

Rasheed Fadi is representing Birch Gold Group (defendant) & Alsarraf Laith is being represented by (Asatryan Sofya).

A Minute Order has been filed by the court and it is accessible on public dockets.

David Weinberger vs Birch Gold Group

On 30th August 2018, David Weinberger filed a lawsuit against Birch Gold Group for discrimination and civil rights.

Maureen Duffy-Lewis is the judge and this case was also filed in the Los Angeles County.

It is shocking that a company at the level of Birch Gold Group will be sued for discrimination and civil rights.

Birch Gold Group Reddit: Informed People Avoid Birch

Reddit has a strangely strong community of people well-versed in personal finance. Birch Gold might have 5-star reviews on 3rd party biased websites, however people on Reddit seem to advise against Birch’s offerings.

Unlike BBB or Trustpilot, Birch cannot bribe Reddit to praise their inefficient investment offerings. Here are some examples of what Reddit thinks of Birch Gold Group:

Exposed & Shamed By Reddit Users For Shameless Affiliate Marketing

Around 2 years ago, a user by the name of u/Black_Engineer10 made a post on subreddit r/financialindependence titled “6 Reasons Why 401k Plans Are a Rip-Off”.

u/Black_Engineer10 shared a link of townhall dot com and was wondering whether the bizzare claim of 401k plans being a rip-off is true.

The community members of r/financialindependence were quick to call out the non-sense claims made in the article. Later on, some of the users noticed the small disclaimer in the article, “This financial column is sponsored by Birch Gold”.

Users even mocked the horribly written and biased column and downvoted the post.

I hope I don’t have to tell you why 401k is not a scam, but apparently Birch Gold wants you to believe that one of the most helpful personal finance facilities is a sham. It goes to show that Birch doesn’t have their client’s best interests in their mind, they just want your money.

If you are curious and want to check out the thread yourself, you can do so by clicking here.

A Poor Long Term Investment

Another post on Reddit asked whether rolling over to Birch Gold IRA is worth it. The user u/JCDBionicman1 was contacted by an agent from none other than Birch Gold itself. The agent was apparently trying to convince u/JCDBionicman1 that Birch Gold IRA is better than Roth IRA. So to clarify the situation, the user decided to ask the experts at the subreddit r/personalfinance.

All the users advised against going with Birch Gold, the top voted comment calling it a “poor long term investment” and a “bad idea”.

The ROI on gold is essentially equal to inflation which makes it an utterly useless investment.

No Benefit Of Opening An Account With Birch Gold

The user u/Painful_Fanatic wanted to know whether purchasing physical metals or precious metal trusts is a good option, and the top-voted comment essentially summarized the response of the community.

The investors and personal finance hobbyist at Reddit advice against going with Gold IRAs.

What Is Birch Gold Group

Birch Gold Group is a  precious metals brokerage company based in Burbank, California. At first, they seem like a simple and quality service provider, however they are highly manipulative and mislead customers.

Birch Gold Group serves clients all across the US and manages Gold IRAs and Precious Metals IRAs holding gold, silver, palladium, platinum, or a combination of these metals. 

They have an in-house IRA Department that assists clients in opening a Precious Metals IRA or rolling over retirement accounts for clients.

Birch Gold Group is a specialised Gold IRA custodian and allows you to open a Precious Metals IRA. They also help their clients source and buy precious metals. They offer several Gold IRA Investments such as Gold Gyrfalcon, American Gold Eagle (Bullion or Proof), Candian Gold Maple Leaf, Gold Bars and Rounds, etc. 

I don’t have any issues with the precious metals offerings of BGG. What bothers me is their shady marketing tactics. 

Why would a company lie to others if it offers genuinely good services? 

As it turns out, Birch Gold Group uses various deceptive marketing tactics to promote itself. And that’s why I don’t trust their offerings much. 

The following points will highlight why you shouldn’t trust Birch Gold Group:

The Misleading Birch Gold Group Affiliate Reviews

When you google Birch Gold Group reviews, chances are, you’ll come across Trustpilot, BBB and RetirementLiving, along with several other blogs. 

If you’d go to their RetirementLiving review, you’d see that Birch Gold Group has a stellar 4.5-star rating there. Such a near-perfect rating means they must be offering the best possible services out there. 

However, RetirementLiving has given them a stellar rating not because of their quality services, but because of their paychecks. RetirementLiving is an affiliate of Birch Gold Group. 

They do a good job of trying to hide this fact from their readers by keeping this information in fine print: 

Birch Gold Group scam

What does it mean?

It means they make money when you click on one of Birch Gold Group’s links present on their website. Now tell me this, why would they tell you the bad things about BGG if it would come in their way of making money? 

It’s a conflict of interest. The worst part of all this is people would read that review thinking they are getting an unbiased and honest take while instead, they are only getting the opinion of a paid reviewer.

Using affiliates to appear better is a common tactic among online scams. It’s a highly unethical marketing strategy because it deceives people. Affiliate blogs and websites hide their affiliation in small text and make it seem like they are giving you a genuine review. 

For example, Amazing Selling Machine is a shady online guru who uses this exact tactic to promote its course. They have partnered with numerous affiliates who claim to give honest reviews of their courses with an affiliate link at the bottom of their article or video. 

When reading a review, you should always check if they are partnered with the brand or not. After all, you can’t trust an affiliate review, especially when it’s about a vital service like the one Birch Gold Group provides. 

Why You Can’t Trust Birch Gold Group BBB Rating

Having a good online reputation is vital for a business to succeed. And that’s particularly true in the case of BGG. 

After reading their affiliate reviews, you might think you should check their BBB rating, after all, BBB is one of the most reputed consumer boards online. However, you can’t trust their BBB rating either.

You see, Birch Gold Group has an accreditation with BBB. BBB says that your business must meet a certain criteria to get their accreditation but it only depends on the funds you can shell out for them. 

CNN Money did an investigation on Better Business Bureau’s shady rating system and found that their ratings depend on the amount of money a business pays to them regularly. According to the investigation, a business with charges of discriminating against minority borrowers had an A rating on BBB because it had an accreditation. 

The problem with BBB is that it’s accreditation costs around $10,000 per year. It can go higher than this amount too. 

As long as a business pays this fee, BBB doesn’t care how it treats its customers and what kind of services it provides to them. 

Birch Gold Group has an A+ rating on BBB and has been accredited since 2011:

Birch Gold Group BBB Rating

Just imagine how much Birch Gold Group has paid to BBB so far. They must be one of the most loyal clients of the Better Business Bureau. Birch Gold Group has been paying them for a decade now and it’s obvious that they have a mutually beneficial relationship going on. 

But not everyone knows about CNN’s investigation into BBB’s crooked ratings. Most people trust BBB ratings blindly. They don’t know about the suspicious nature of BBB accreditation. And businesses like Birch Gold Group take advantage of this fact. They pay tens of thousands of dollars to organizations like BBB so they would appear better than they actually are and deceive potential customers. 

Why You Can’t Trust Their Trustpilot Rating

One of the biggest reasons why I wrote this Birch Gold Group review is because of the sheer level of misadvertisement and deception going on. The people behind this company have tried every tactic possible to deceive others. 

When it comes to online scams and deception, you’d always find the name of Trustpilot with them. It has become the favorite website for online scammers as it gives them full control over their review boards.

Trustpilot has been at the receiving end of a lot of criticism because of their biased policies.

And for the right reasons.

This is what you get when you search for ‘buy trustpilot review’:

As you can see, it’s very easy to stuff your review page with fake positive reviews. When you’d look at Birch Gold Group’s Trustpilot page, you can easily spot suspicious reviews that seem completely fake.

Fake reviews tend to be from accounts that haven’t added any other review and share little to zero details. Such reviews only focus on praising the person or company they are talking about. 

Notice how both of the following reviews avoid sharing any specific details about Birch Gold Group:

Birch gold group review 1

Also, these reviewers haven’t posted any other reviews on Trustpilot. They created their Trustpilot account solely to add a review on Birch Gold Group’s page. Isn’t it suspicious?

Guardian Money had launched an investigation against such reviews where they found that many freelancers offered the service of adding fake reviews on businesses’ profiles for a price.

To make these reviews authentic, BGG has deliberately responded to every positive review posted on its Trustpilot profile. However, they don’t respond to any negative reviews added to their profile. 

After all, why would they when they can simply remove a negative review altogether? This brings me to my next point:

Birch Gold Group Has A Paid & Biased Trustpilot profile:

Another red flag that Birch Gold Group has fake reviews on its profile is its near-perfect 4.8-star rating with 100+ reviews. 

Do you know why they have such a near-perfect rating? 

It’s because they have a paid profile with Trustpilot. 

Birch gold group fake review

Trustpilot’s paid profile system has been in a lot of controversy because it gives businesses full control over their profile and the reviews added there.

Businesses can easily manipulate their online reputation with this feature. 

They can flag a negative review as a fake review and Trustpilot will remove it immediately. You can understand how twisted this system is.

Keep in mind that a Trustpilot membership isn’t cheap. It’s quite similar to BBB’s system which we have already discussed prior in this Birch Gold Group review. 

Birch Gold Group Complaints They Don’t Want You To See

Seeing so many positive reviews on Birch Gold Group, I realised there was something wrong. 

So I did a little research and found some serious complaints against this firm. 

I found out that they aren’t the reliable service provider they pose themselves to be. In fact, they are highly shady and are certainly not what they claim to be.

Here’s a snippet of a complaint I found on them online:

A snipped of Birch Gold Group complaint

According to this complaint, the people at Birch Gold Group are focused on scamming people. This person had contacted BGG as they were interested in investing in gold. 

The reviewer first got their brochure, which didn’t list out any prices neither did it give any information about the company like who runs it and their background. Their brochure only had stock images of people holding their gold coins. 

Still, this person decided to call BGG and find out more about their products.

At first, they talked to someone named Jake Kennedy who didn’t give them any specific information. Instead of answering this person’s questions, Jake focused on recommending them BGG’s “investment grade” collectible coins. 

“Investment grade” seemed like a made-up term to this reviewer so they requested to talk to a senior staff member. To be honest, I haven’t heard of any “investment grade” coins as well and it definitely sounds like a scam. 

Moreover, Jake Kennedy told this person that the US dollar is getting weaker and gold is the only strongest option to invest in. To this, the reviewer replied that it’s wrong and the US dollar is the strongest currency out there. 

Jake didn’t have a reply to this remark and chose to forward the call to his superior, Vince Miller. 

The reviewer points out that whoever this VInce Miller is, he is using an alias and this is not his real name. 

Vince kept reiterating that the reviewer should invest in BGG’s investment grade coins and it would be a wise investment. However, VInce kept lying about gold’s value as the reviewer cross-checked his claims with APMEX’s data. 

The reviewer realised that BGG’s people only wanted them to buy their collectible coins with markup. When they asked about the buyback price and any guarantees related to buyback, Vince couldn’t reply. 

According to the reviewer, Birch Gold Group is selling collectible coins at 30% markup when the industry standard is 3-4% markup. In the end, the reviewer points out this scam and suggests avoiding buying from Birch Gold Group. 

This person isn’t the only one who had such a bad experience with BGG’s sales staff. Here are some additional complaints on Birch Gold Group’s sleazy sales staff:

Birch Gold Group scam

Clearly, Birch Gold Group is a ripoff and is not worth your investment. Not only are they deceiving people through their fake reviews, but they are also trying to deceive people through their sales pitches. 

You should be wary of Birch Gold Group and all of its offerings.

Gold IRA Isn’t A Good Investment

Birch Gold Group is a Gold and Silver Trading company. They make pretty bold claims about the benefits of investing in gold IRA and claim that it’s a solution for all issues.

On their website, you’d find many praises about the gold IRA and how it’s the best investment for every individual. However, like their reviews, their opinion on the gold IRA is heavily biased. 

Granted, gold IRA can act as an excellent supplement to retirement funds, it’s not perfect. Most investors choose to invest little in gold IRA and that too, only to hedge their investments. 

Many people think gold is an excellent investment because it has been a valuable commodity for innumerable years. However, there are many drawbacks in gold IRA:

The Tax Code About Collectibles

The tax code prevents IRA holders from investing in the stock of an S-corporation, life insurance, and collectibles. Moreover, some gold coins are collectibles and violate this rule. 

It’s very difficult to determine which precious metal coins are collectibles and which aren’t. 

So suppose you invest in bullion coins hoping you’re making an investment but they turn out to be a collectible, wouldn’t that be a significant loss?

Standard Custodians Don’t Handle Gold IRA

TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and Fidelity are some of the most popular standard custodians. However, they don’t handle physical gold in an IRA. 

To store gold in your IRA, you’ll need to get a self-directed IRA and find a specialized custodian. BGG is one of them, however, there are many prominent names in the industry such as APMEX and American Bullion. 

Cost of Purchase And Maintenance

Once you have picked a specialised self-directed custodian for your gold IRA, be ready to pay heavy fees for purchasing, storing, and selling your gold. 

Many people don’t consider the fees involved in purchasing and storing the gold. These costs affect your profit by a huge margin. 

Moreover, such fees ranges substantially from one service provider to another and not many people realise how many profits they miss out on because of this. 

Taxes

A prominent issue with investing in gold IRA is that it’s a waste of tax-deferred space. It doesn’t generate any income so it doesn’t save you from any taxes. 

Like any conventional IRA account, its value will be subject to taxes on withdrawal. Other investments such as stocks, ETFs or mutual funds offer dividends, capital gains distributions or interest. 

But physical gold doesn’t offer these benefits.

It’s a big disadvantage because these benefits get sheltered in the IRA. With gold IRA, you 

RMD (Required Minimum Distributions)

After you reach the age of 70 ½ your gold IRA will be subject to RMD (required minimum distribution) like any other non-Roth IRA account. 

Your gold in the IRA will need an official valuation and if there isn’t sufficient liquidity in your other accounts, you might even have to sell some of your gold to meet the requirement. 

Doesn’t Generate Income

A huge issue with investing in a gold IRA is that it wouldn’t generate any income for you. 

If you want to reap the rewards of investing your money, you should invest in something that would generate a passive income for you. 

For example, real estate would provide you with a passive income along with an increase in value over time. Gold’s value would increase over time, but that’s it. It wouldn’t generate any income for you, which is a huge downside.

After all, you’re investing in your money and want to get positive returns. 

Volatile Value

One of the biggest reasons why experts avoid physical gold is the volatility in its value. For example, the cost of gold went over $1,000 per ounce during the Great Recession but prior to that, its value was around $300 to $500. 

You might think, ‘that’s great, its value rose at a time of need”, but keep in mind that the inflation at that time rose around 152%. 

Moreover, gold’s general pace of increase is very slow. 

If you had invested $500 in something in 1980, its value would have been $1,258 in 2007 (the time of Great Recession). On the other hand, if you invested $500 in gold in 1980, its value would have barely increased in that period

Now, it’s true that after the Great Recession, gold’s value increased substantially but at the time of need, it didn’t help.  

There are plenty of investments that are significantly better than gold IRA.

Better Alternatives to Gold IRA

Now that you know why the gold IRA is a terrible investment, let me suggest a few investments that let you add gold and precious metals to your investment. 

However, unlike the gold IRA, these investments are much easier to manage. 

First, you can start with the SPDR Gold Shares ETF. As it’s an ETF, it would offer the daily liquidity you wouldn’t get with physical gold. Moreover the expense ratio is quite low (only 0.40%) for this investment.

Another good investment for those who want to invest in precious metals is the Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining Fund. Vanguard is a much older and reputed brand name than Birch Gold Group. 

And Vanguard certainly doesn’t need shady marketing tactics to promote itself. VGPMX is not a pure gold fund but it tracks the price of gold and related commodities and invests in companies involved in this industry. 

These investments offer you the advantages physical gold offers to you without its drawbacks. 

Birch Gold Group Review 2021 – Conclusion

Birch Gold Group is a shady precious metals IRA custodian. They don’t share much information about themselves and rely on paid and fake reviews to promote their services. 

I wouldn’t advise dealing with a company that uses fake or paid reviews to promote itself. If they were offering genuinely good services, why would they need to rely on paid reviews?

Moreover, there are plenty of customer complaints on Birch Gold Group online. It would be best to avoid doing business with them altogether. 

If you know someone who might be interested in investing in Gold IRA, you can share this review with them. They might get a unique perspective on this investment. 

3Expert Score
Deceptive and Shady

Birch Gold Group uses paid and fake positive reviews to promote its services. They have been involved in multiple lawsuits for discrimination, employee mistreatment, civil rights, and more. Its sales staff lies to its clients. All of this suggests that it would be best to avoid doing business with this firm.

Trust
2.5
Expertise
3
Honesty & Transparency
2.5
Client Experience
3
Reputation
4
PROS
  • None
CONS
  • Fake reviews on Trustpilot
  • Suspicious profile on BBB
  • Gold IRA isn't a good investment
  • Lies to clients
  • Shady affiliate reviews
  • Exploit Employees
  • Multiple Lawsuits
  • Deceptive Marketing Techniques
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