Rip-off alert: Do your research before parting with your gold

Don't sell off your coins and jewelry for cash until you know who you are dealing with, says the Better Business Bureau.
— image credit: THINKSTOCK.COM

Consumers have lots of options for selling gold, including local jewellers and pawn shops, gold buying services, gold parties in friend's homes, pop-up events by traveling dealers, and mail-away gold buying websites.

"No matter where you choose to sell gold, it's important to know the value of your gold as well as the reliability of the business buying the gold," says Danielle Primrose, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Mainland British Columbia. "There is often a big difference between the market value of your gold items, and what you end up receiving for it."

Generally, complaints are concerning dissatisfaction with the amount offered for gold. With mail-away services, complaints also are about delays in receiving the cheque, or not getting gold items back when an offer is turned down, as well as difficulties getting in touch with the business.

Locally, the Better Business Bureau of Mainland BC only accredits companies who have met all of our pre-screening requirements. Some of these requirements include:

• A company must be able to explain the different ways to weigh gold and how the company weighs gold

• List refund policies, if any

• If consumer does wish to mail gold, the company must ensure consumers send gold through secure means (e.g. registered mail) and the company sends payment through secured means as well

• The company must have an actual physical location and not just a mail-drop box.

The Better Business Bureau provides the following BBB Tips to both safeguard and educate the public with regard to selling gold.

Consider your jewellery or coins market value versus its melt-value. Consider appraising your items first before deciding to melt down your gold. Jewellery stores, pawn shops, infomercial gold buyers, and online mail-in services, typically offer 20-60% of melt value, according to research by Vancouver Gold, the first BBB Accredited Business for gold buying service.

The true price of gold may not be what you receive. If gold is worth $1,600 per ounce, you aren't going to be paid $1,600 for every ounce of gold you are willing to sell. Ask what you will be paid (if an online company, make sure you ask for specifics and give details on items you'll be sending BEFORE you send them). The going price for gold is for pure gold only.

Don't let jewellery of different karat value be weighed together. Some dealers will weigh all jewellery together and pay you for the lowest karat value. Separate your jewellery by karat value before selling.

Keep up with the price of gold. Know how much gold is going for on the day you sell. This will help you know whether you're being offered a fair price and will help you make a decision to sell or walk away.


Know who you're dealing with. Check out jewellery stores and gold buyers at A BBB Business Review tells basic information about the business as well as any complaints and whether the complaints have been resolved when presented to the business by the BBB.



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