Letter Re: Tulving Post Mortem

You guys printed the post mortem report on Tulving today, I read your site almost every day and have never seen any caution note about Tulving posted.

I specifically wrote you a fact based email with dates about my dealings with Tulving and requested you warn your readers.

SHAME ON YOU for any of your readers that lost money since I sent you that article.

Before you respond with “we have given notice to only deal with reputable online dealers”, note in the article you posted today that Tulving had a stellar reputation for 10 years.

I would bet a dollar you won’t print this, but you ought to be ashamed of yourself for not getting the warning out two months ago.

You’ve lost a ton of credibility in my eyes by printing an “after action” report, when you could have been helping shout the problem out earlier.

I bet somewhere someone who reads survivalblog has some of the purported 30 to 40 million dollars that is said to be “missing” in this saga.

Personally it appears I was extremely lucky as we took delivery only after filing complaints and our delivery was only 2 months before the operations cease. sincerely – J.N.

JWR Replies: I regularly get reports of delayed shipments at precious metals dealers, usually quite irate, often alarmist, and usually assuaged just a few days or weeks later, when orders are properly filled. It is a constant barrage of “CRYING WOLF.” I have received dozens of e-mails, like your first one, about Tulving, since I started the blog in 2005. Only two of the precious metals firms that were mentioned in those e-mails went bankrupt. (And I blew the whistle on one of them, at the first opportunity.) So this begs the question, on how many of those e-mails should I have raised the alarm? The correct answer: Hardly any of them. Why? Because most them came from just one source. In the intelligence world, we call that “single source intelligence”, and it is notoriously unreliable.

Yes, there were some red flags about Tulving (your e-mail, and one other), but nothing that unmistakably jumped out at me and led me to believe that they were about to go under.

If Tulving were one of my advertisers (past or present–and FWIW, they never have been), then I would have had cause for a some due diligence.

The fact is I’m not omniscient, and up until two months ago, I was a one-man operation, without a lot of time to delve into investigative reporting.

There is one other factor that you may not have considered: These days, small publications are regularly sued out of existence in libel cases. I can’t go shooting from the lip. As a “shallow pockets” small businessman, I simply cannot afford to.

Please walk a mile in my shoes. God bless.

HJL Adds: There are industry analysts that work full time to provide that information to investors. It is unreasonable to expect that level of evaluation from an online blog whose focus is much broader than just investments in PMs. SurvivalBlog endeavors to get information like this into the hands of readers as soon as possible and, in fact, the article was posted in less than 24 hours from when we received it. We also simultaneously received this warning from a SurvivalBlog reader:

“…In my case, at least, they did so after gladly accepting my wire transfer, without telling me they could not deliver as promised. I foolishly failed to update my research on them because I had successfully performed multiple transactions with them over the last eight years. Had I done so I would have quickly discovered their formerly good reputation began to deteriorate quickly last year, including numerous Better Business Bureau complaints. Please let my expensive lesson be an example to others – Always do your research even with a history of successful transactions. Obviously for my next purchase my first contact will be with a dealer who CURRENTLY advertises with Survivalblog – I have only had excellent experiences with them. – Pablo

That would be the first warning I had of Tulving in the two months I have been at SurvivalBlog. It is vital that each customer verify the supplier each time they enter into a major financial transaction with a vendor. SurvivalBlog continues to verify information of those companies that advertise with us, because we have intertwined interests, but even then, it is possible for the vendor to hide things. As JWR stated, Tulving, while mentioned in the blog several times over a period of years, has never been an advertiser in SurvivalBlog. We will continue bringing warnings to the readership if they are valid, but it must be more than a single-sourced complaint. Anything else is libelous.

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