North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice
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Cash for gold? Do some digging first

9/16/2011

By Attorney General Roy Cooper
Many consumers could use some extra cash right now, and promises that you can make hundreds of dollars selling your old gold jewelry can seem like a golden opportunity.   You’ve likely seen advertisements or gotten emails encouraging you to sell gold to local jewelry stores or pawn shops, online gold buyers, or at in-home gold parties. Many of these options claim that they will pay you the highest price for your gold.

But how do you know if you’re really getting a good price? Before you hand over your gold, read these tips:
 
  • Be realistic. As an investment, gold has recently sold for as much as $1,800 an ounce. But the market price for an ounce of pure gold is not the price you’ll receive for selling your old gold jewelry, which is made from an alloy of gold and other metals.
 
  • Find out how much your gold is really worth. Consider getting an independent appraisal—or more than one—to find out the true value of your gold, especially if you think your jewelry is very valuable. Also, keep in mind that some pieces of jewelry are worth more if resold rather than melted down for the gold.
 
  • Check out the company, especially if you plan to sell gold for cash via the Internet. Most of these companies ask you to mail them your gold before you receive payment. Some companies are reputable, but others simply take your gold and don't return the cash. Research the company first with my Consumer Protection Division and the Better Business Bureau, and also look for customer reviews and other information online.
 
  • Selling locally may be a better option.  That way, you can check with several local jewelers and gold buyers in your area to see who will give you the best deal.
 
What if you’re considering gold as an investment? With all of the ups and downs on Wall Street, many consumers are looking for a safe place to invest their hard-earned money. Before you sink your money into gold, consider these tips:
 
  • Whenever you invest money, you’re taking a risk. The price of gold rises and falls over time, and there is no guarantee you’ll make a profit. Be skeptical of any investment that promises quick and easy returns.   
 
  • Understand any guarantees the company offers. If an advertisement offering to sell you gold as an investment guarantees to buy your gold back, realize that the company likely is saying that it will buy the gold back at market price—which could be lower than the price you originally paid for it.
 
  • Check out the company before you invest. Be especially wary of buying gold bars via the Internet unless you have fully researched the company with our office, the BBB and online. Some unscrupulous companies promise solid gold bars and then hollow out the core of the bars. Others don't deliver the bars at all. 
 
To check out a company that offers to buy your gold or sell you some as an investment, contact my Consumer Protection Division toll free at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM. You can also file a complaint with us at www.ncdoj.gov .