Several months ago I had written a letter "Cash for Gold?" consumer alert. Since I proposed that in the form of a question, I have gotten several inquires about what to do, where to go, and who can be trusted. Perhaps its bares a refresher with some updated information for the good of all.
Consumer alert! "Caveat vendor" is Latin for "let the seller beware." Oh, how true.
One has to wonder about what all the "hype" is about during this 21st century gold rush. Yes, gold and precious metals are at an all time market high and seemly remain high gold ie: at around $1,600 an ounce (troy weight), fluctuating around $235 a troy ounce over the past year. It does seem that anywhere one turns someone wants to buy your precious gold. There are gold parties hosted in a friend's homes to mysterious motel rooms wanting you to sell to a complete stranger. Then they are gone. Also known as "road robbers."
I recently noticed a "set up" in a larger city mall that only offered "buying" precious metal jewelery, not "selling." We are bombarded by TV ads touting "cash for gold"; just mail your gold/silver to us and "presto!" you get your cash. "We'll beat any price!" This beckons back to the 1800s snake oil salesman business model. A quick cure only to be proven that it is not up to the advertised hype. Recently, articles are surfacing confirming consumers' complaints, and many say they are being swindled out of their gold and precious metals to the point of class-action law suits. Charges are ranging from theft to lowball estimates to "getting away with what looks like fraud." One man claimed he sent (by mail) $200 worth of gold and received only 15 cents. The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission are now involved to the point that legislation; Consumer Protection, Ohio House Bill HB530 is pending. We all know how long that process takes to become law and most of the motel buyers will have left town with your gold. Consumer Reports shopped around and discovered that some companies offered only 10 percent to 29 percent of market value; whereas most established jewelers paid 70 percent to 80 percent. Most jewelers offer an additional amount if you choose to make a purchase-trade for your precious metals. Well, in the meantime if you choose to sell your precious metals here are a few tips:
1. Compare by shopping around and get at least two opinions.
2. Deal with a trusted and experienced qualified professional (local jeweler gemologist, goldsmith, or precious metal dealer).
3. Make sure all your questions are answered to your satisfaction.
4. Sell in person, collect proceeds, and get a written receipt.
After 38 years in the jewelry business I thought maybe, I had seen almost everything. I continue to be enlightened. "Caveat vendor" ... let the seller beware.
Larry Hall, Certified Gemologists Appraiser
Baker and Baker Jewelers