Thursday, March 19, 2009

What does the FCC have to do with Coins?

I just love (hate) these commercials for coin brokers-- you know, the ones with the extremely excitable "host" interviewing some clown about a "fantastic opportunity" to invest in Morgan Silver Dollars. These are a variation of a commercial from last year in which these two choads giggled gleefully about "Confederate gold coins found on a ship sunk in the middle of the Mississippi River." This time, their breathless excitement is all about Morgan Silver Dollars "discovered in the cellar of an Indiana farmhouse."

Ok, all this is fine. Anyone dumb enough to believe that someone bought time on nationally syndicated radio shows to try to sell a cache of coins stumbled across by accident is soon parted with their money anyway. But here's the part that really ticks me off: After the usual blather about "how you can inspect a roll of these beauties for free!" and "this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, isn't it?" garbage, I believe a line is crossed: One of the announcers says "The FCC has agreed to allow us to release these coins into the market for a limited time...."

Um, the FCC? The Federal Communications Commission? Seriously? Well, no, not seriously. The words "Federal Communications Commission" are not uttered in the ad. The FCC has nothing to do with the trading of coins. But "FCC" is the name of the company selling the coins.
So what's with this "THE FCC" stuff? I can only conclude that these hucksters are trying to con the listeners into believing that the Federal Government has put some kind of seal of approval on this whole deal. And that's not misleading- it's just plain false, and I can't believe it's not 100% intentional.

For the record--

1. The Federal Communications Commission deals with the granting of radio and tv licenses. It has nothing to do with regulating the sale of overpriced coins found in sunken ships or Indiana farmhouses.

2. These shysters badly NEED regulating, because what they are selling is rolls of readily available coins at shockingly inflated prices to people who think they are making an investment in valuable collectibles. And they are doing it by lying- even if they took out the "the FCC" line, I would love to see the evidence that any coins sold by this company were ever found in the hold of a sunken ship or in some forgotten Indiana basement.

A few more points-- these commercials never fail to describe the coins as "virtually uncirculated." What does this mean? Anything the seller wants it to mean, I guess. Also, we are told that we can "inspect" a roll of these "beauties" risk-free for thirty days. That means big Shipping and Handling charges, of course. And how does one go about "inspecting" the roll of coins? Want to bet that opening the roll means you OWN the roll, and the good people at "The FCC" are going to be billing your credit card for the full amount now?

I wonder how many calls The FCC has received from people angry about being scammed into buying coins at stunningly inflated prices. Hopefully, enough to turn the matter over to The Department of Justice.

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