Statement on Despatching of Orders - 31/3/20
A Rapidly Changing Situation - 31st March 2020
The market became extremely busy overnight with supplies across the globe being bought up at a rapid pace, including from EU suppliers of some of our bullion coins. Our wholesale suppliers were struggling to provide us with up to date information in order for us to pass this through to our customers. We were advised that stock was out for delivery, only to find it missing from shipments, or that it was stuck at EU transport hubs due to the lack of staff as a result of local responses to coronavirus. The complete meltdown of EU supply chains could not be foreseen and the situation was changing on an hourly basis.
In a response to these market difficulties, we took the step of advising all customers of an inability to commit to a despatch date on the 20th March. We appreciate your order might have been placed prior to this and you were informed of a lead time as per our normal operations. If your order was placed after the 20th March we had already updated the website with a COVID-19 banner, an operational update refreshed daily, a popup for any affected products and basket and checkout updates to show which products could not be assigned a delivery time. Perhaps this needs to be improved; we would welcome the feedback in order to communicate more effectively in the future.
When products, such as 2020 dated coins, are good to order even with a lead time we denoted these as 'Available' as we have done so for years. On the 25th March, we took this a step further, changing stock status to 'Orderable' and 'In Stock' instead of 'Available'. All of this was happening at breakneck speed in response to the supply constraints as we attempted to build customer feedback into the site at the busiest time in recent years.
Since then our suppliers have confirmed that the mints are unable to produce at the rate required to satisfy demand. As such, lead times have become indefinite, premiums have shot up and backorders become the new norm. We fully expect production to ramp up once staff are back to work following relaxation on government-imposed restrictions and guidelines in the UK and EU. We have longstanding relationships with major refiners/suppliers and are in a fortunate position as most of our suppliers have continued to take orders from us at the live metal rates and they can do so until further notice.
We have been through this, or something similar before; the nearest comparison was during the 2008/9 Global Financial Crisis. We are one of the few UK bullion dealers who have and understand how to manage the uncertainty. We will update our site with pages explaining the 2008 crash, the issues and our methods to continue trading and supplying our customers.
We want to re-assure you your order is safe with us and we have any risks covered. In terms of financial risk, all outstanding orders are offset against our current stocks, so your money is safe in this regard. In terms of a risk to specific products bought, we like to inform customers that we have delivered on every single order ever placed with us spanning 55 years of bullion trading. That said, we endeavour to deliver the products ordered, for dated coins we still expect a 2020 supply. Should a new issue be released, we will purchase 2021 in place of 2020. Any product specific backorders which are unable to be placed with our suppliers due to supply constraints are covered with alternative metal products, further limiting risk. This metal is then liquidated and products purchased when they are ready for despatch. Please note that we only do this with reputable and longstanding suppliers who have weathered more than one global crisis before.
Your Goods, Not Ours
The benefit of buying at the current rate and allowing us to order or source your items means you have fixed at a preferred live price and bought your items whilst premiums were lower. Premiums have already increased in the past week for all products, and should demand continue to rise, so too will premiums. The precious metals you have bought at all times remain your personal property and our company liability. We never add these items to our balance sheet and you are welcome to sell back to us at any point at the current rate. You can also consider your items in free storage in the interim period until we receive stocks and despatch.
In summary, your money and order(s) are safe with Chards, we have delivered on all the orders ever placed with us and will endeavour to deliver yours. Should you be concerned about any financial risk, we hope the above gives context to how we manage the most demanding of situations, and we will keep you informed every couple of weeks via telephone or email about any updates we have with regards to the market situation.
We welcome customers to call us on 01253 343081 if any concerns remain and we have a dedicated team working on this topic and will try to assign names contacts for each and every customer. All customers can expect a call in the coming days regarding any orderable or sourced to order item. Please bear with us as over 70% of our customer service staff are on childcare duties for the foreseeable future and the remainder of our staff are shouldering the day to day operation.
Ian Davis – Bullion and Marketing Manager
Please see our COVID-19 Update Page for more information and updates.