Beck and Fox News declined to be interviewed by ABC News, but a spokesman for Beck noted that Goldline has an A plus rating from the Better Business Bureau and the consumer fraud investigation in California is more about politics than anything else.
"We expect our advertisers to treat our audience well. With its A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, Goldline has met that standard before and we expect any issues that our listeners have to be addressed swiftly and appropriately, even if complaints only represent a small percentage of overall orders," said Josh Raffel, a spokesman for Beck.
A Fox News spokeswoman said the network has not received a single complaint from a viewer about Goldline. ABC News was unsuccessful in obtaining responses from Huckabee and Thompson.
Goldline officials said its customers decide to buy coins only after they have all the information about the purchase in front of them. In his letter to ABC News, Goldline's Scott Carter said the company's "pricing is transparent" and "fees and commissions are disclosed in writing."
"Further, for many of its products, Goldline offers a price guarantee program, payment by credit card, and a seven day (or longer) refund period. Within our very competitive market, we believe these benefits are among the reasons customers choose Goldline," Carter said.
In interviews with two former Goldline employees, ABC News was told the company pays close attention to legal requirements – training its sales force to avoid offering investment advice or triggering any legal tripwires during sales calls. But that does not mean they do not try to persuade customers to buy coins. In fact, one former sales associate, who spoke only on the condition he not be identified, said the entire sales approach is built around coins.
That effort was at the root of Kismartin's complaint – and not politics. He said he remains one of Glenn Beck's loyal viewers.
Radinsky, of the Santa Monica City Attorney's office, said the same is true of the investigation into the two gold firms.
"Glenn Beck has nothing to do with our investigation. Our investigation is about transactions with individual customers and the complaints that they've raised. And politics really has nothing to do with it. It's all about consumer protection for us," he said.
Radinsky said his office is continuing to gather complaints. Customers of Goldline and Superior who have complaints can contact his office through a special website, www.gold.smconsumer.org.