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Should I Buy Gold From a Local or Online Dealer?

Ordering precious metals from an online dealer makes some people understandably nervous, which is one reason local brick-and-mortar metals dealers remain in business. But does it really make financial sense to shop locally instead of having your metals shipped to you by a larger dealer?

At first, there seem to be a number of advantages to buying gold and silver at a local metals shop. You get your purchase immediately, rather than having to wait for shipping. You know precisely where you got the bullion and the person who sold it to you, so if there is a problem you know exactly where to go. Some people assume this gives them more protection from phony or over-valued products.

These are all fair points, but there are other important considerations. First of all, brick-and-mortar shops usually have to charge higher premiums for their products because they have to pay for overhead, including the storefront and on-site storage and insurance of their inventory. Plus, they tend to have fewer customers because of their small scale, which also drives up prices.

It’s nice to have your gold or silver right away, but waiting a few days to get your gold can save you a lot of money. Even factoring in shipping and insurance, companies like SchiffGold can usually beat the premiums of smaller local shops because of the scale of our operation and agreements with major metals suppliers.

When it comes to feeling secure in the authenticity and quality of your purchase, well-respected online dealers like SchiffGold typically ship brand new bullion products directly from the source of production.

Compare this to a local metals dealer who may get some inventory directly from the mint or refinery, but who also sells products they have bought from other customers. Most metals dealers will have several ways of testing their metals, but there’s nothing like the peace of mind of knowing that your coins or bars came directly from the mint to your door.

One final point that many people forget to consider is taxation. Please note that the following does not constitute legal advice, and you should check your local laws before making any precious metals purchases.

Online dealers like SchiffGold are not currently required to collect and report sales taxes when you purchase from us. However, your local dealer is. Keep in mind, you may be required by local law to report your purchase from an online dealer, but you have no choice with a local dealer.

This situation may change soon.

The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 was recently approved by the US Senate, and will soon be up for consideration by the House. If this legislation goes into effect, out-of-state retailers – whether they operate by phone, online, or mail-order – will be required to collect the sales and use taxes of any state or domestic region to which they ship. Some locales have tax exemptions for the sale and purchase of precious metals that are also being reconsidered in light of the Marketplace Fairness Act.

If you do want to make a large metals purchase without being involuntarily charged sales tax by the retailer at the time of sale, consider ordering your metals with an online dealer like SchiffGold before the end of 2013.

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