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Settlement reached in Washington precious metals case

By Nick Rees | Sep 19, 2008


OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) - A settlement with an Auburn business that failed to deliver precious metals sold online by the promised date has been announced by the Washington Attorney General's office.

Northwest Territorial Mint will pay $20,000 in civil penalties and almost $38,000 in attorneys fees and costs under the terms of the settlement, filed in King County Superior Court.

"Silence may be golden but not when consumers are waiting to hear when their precious metals will be delivered," Attorney General Rob McKenna said. "Today's settlement requires that Northwest Territorial Mint honor its promises to deliver on time or offer a fair refund."

A seller of gold and silver bullion, coins, medallions, knives, lapel pins and other items online and at a storefront in Auburn, Northwest Territorial Mint also mints some of its own products.

The lawsuit against the company, filed in February, accused the company and its president, Ross Hansen, of violating the state's Consumer Protection Act.

According to the lawsuit, Northwest Territorial Mint misrepresented delivery dates, enforced an unfair refund policy and failed to respond to consumer complaints.

Items repeatedly failed to ship within a represented time frame, according to the state's complaint, and consumers were left waiting months for their bullion to be delivered.

In the settlement, Northwest Territorial Mint didn't admit to any wrongdoing but agreed to fully disclose its delivery and refund policies.

They also agreed to deliver products on time and offer refunds for delayed shipments. Costumers who's bullion orders do not arrive by the promised date will be compensated at the market or purchase price, whichever is higher at the time.

The company will also advise consumers of the risk associated with buying precious metals and make timely responses to consumer inquiries.

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