Ask Andy: The gotchas of 'cash-for-gold' offers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported By Andy Wise

Ask Andy: The gotchas of 'cash-for-gold' offers

They're all over the airwaves -- bold, sometimes obnoxious offers of cash for your gold jewelry.

The cynicism over these offers was not lost on this e-mail from "Vickie" of Memphis:

"We have been very curious about cash 4 gold, but I am more concerned with 'unknowing' individuals. Could you please check this out for Memphis?"

Vickie, no matter what cash-for-gold offer you deal with, the Mid-South Better Business Bureau says you need to look out for these pitfalls:

  • Bait & Switch: Some gold buyers only post prices they pay for large amounts of gold but don't mention that there's a penalty for smaller quantities.
  • False Statements of Insurance: Some companies send consumers mailers for their precious metals, claiming the contents are insured. Putting gold in an envelope and mailing it is neither secure nor insured.
  • No Real-Time Tracking: Many dishonest buyers claim your package is traceable, but only provide a first class, postage-paid mailing envelope which, in fact, cannot be tracked.
  • Cat and Mouse Payments: Some buyers will send a check without first allowing the seller to reject their offer. The result is they have your gold, and you have a low-ball check. To get items back, you must first return the check and wait as long as 30 days to get your jewelry back.
  • Inadequate Customer Service: Many disreputable gold buyers use outside call centers and only want to collect your personal information for use in identity theft.
  • Changing Quotes: Some of these big players initially offer a low quote or low payment by a surprise check, then only double or triple the offer when the seller objects.
  • Difficult Returns: When there is a disagreement over price and a seller requests their gold be returned, some buyers don't return the items quickly and may even charge a processing and shipping fee for the return.
  • Slow Processing: Many in the gold-buying industry are unable to deliver on promises to close the deal in the advertised 12 to 24-hour time frame.
  • Fudging the Weight: Some companies will claim the gold weighs less than it actually does.

Always verify that a cash-for-gold company is legitimate, either through the BBB or through the consumer affairs division or attorney general of the state where the company is based.

It's also a good idea to get a reliable appraiser to appraise your jewelry before you send it off.  In fact, an appraiser or jeweler may be the one who actually pays top dollar for your jewelry. 

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