Cash for Gold (cash4gold.co.uk)
One of the biggest scrap gold advertisers is cash4gold.co.uk, which appears to be an offshoot of the infamous cash4gold.com in the USA. Cash for Gold actually pay some of the lowest prices anywhere.
There are a number of examples of cash4gold.com TV adverts posted on YouTube. We found them quite entertaining, but obviously aimed at the sort of people who watch Big Brother and other "reality" shows.
As we are based in the UK, and cash4gold are in the USA, it's hard for us to give first-hand information about them, but the circumstantial evidence from numerous online forums all points in the same direction.
Typical Forum Post
Ever see those ads for cash 4 gold? Here is how the scam works.
You guys are using the word "scam" pretty loosely here.
They don't keep the gold if you tell them not to. They don't send you a bum check. They make an offer, and you're free to take it or not. And, apparently, they're even willing to haggle if you refuse the first offer.
I agree, they are shady, and their offers are certainly a joke. But making lowball offers to people trying to sell a good, and then being willing to bargain, does NOT constitute a "scam." Not by any reasonable definition of the word.
I once did a test of these services (just for fun). I didn't use Cash4gold, I used Gold Kit. Here's how it went down:
First, these services advertise "insured" handling, however, they only insure your shipment for up to $100 (or $300 if you had your items appraised). So if you send them $5000 in gold they could theoretically just "lose" it and cut you a check for $100.
Knowing this insurance limit, I sent them $100 in gold. It so happens I have access to 5N (99.999% pure) gold. I sent them the exact weight in gold which would be $100 as 24K (99.9%) but it was actually 99.999% pure (so there would be no excuses).
The other thing you need to realize is that the "offer" is not on the table for long. I believe it was 10 days from the time they print the offer check. No response means they just keep your gold, melt it down, and you're SOL. That means from the time they print the check until the time they receive your returned check rejecting their payment must be less than 10 days. When my check arrived in the mail, it was 7 days old (which meant I had to mail the check and have it back to their mailbox in 3 days).
So, my check arrives (7 days after it was printed) for $4 and change. That's right, I sent the maximum insured amount and they offered a measly $4 for it.
So, to get any more than $4, you would either need to have your items appraised or send items which exceed the insured value. Also, if you want your money back, you pretty much have to mail them the check the same day it arrives, or it will likely be too late.
I hesitate to call it a scam, but it's definitely an extreme rip-off with many pitfalls which are very likely to trip up people using these offers in good faith.
Fox News did a report on them and called them a "rip off."
I don't consider their advertising "false" or even "deceptive" -- it's just vague (i.e., by not saying how much you'll be payed).
On Saturday, 13th February 2010, we were asked to make an offer for a parcel of scrap gold jewellery. The owner told us he had just got them back from cash4gold.co.uk; naturally we asked what they had offered, and the seller told us he would prefer to hear our offer first. This is understandable, but it would not have affected our price. When we told him our figure, £915, unexpectedly. the air turned slightly blue. The seller composed himself enough to explain that the offer from cash4gold.co.uk was £187. Whether this offer was before or after he asked for the gold to be returned we do not know, but from anecdotal evidence we would have expected them to offer less than £100, so perhaps they had already doubled their normal offer we cannot tell. Still our offer was almost 5 times more than cash4gold's offer. The gentleman further informed us that we had not only made his day, but probably his week, month, and whole year. He had apparently just been made redundant, so the extra £728 must have been very welcome. The lot contained one gold sovereign which alone was worth about £160 on the day. Even at £915, we will make a healthy and respectable profit, and if the seller had accepted cash4gold's offer, they would have made over £800 for an outlay of under £200! We consider their offer to be in the "rip-off" category, although it is not illegal to make ridiculously low offers. The incident helps to confirm our strong opinion that cash4gold and many of the other newly arisen batch of postal gold buyers are get-rich-quick cowboys intent on cashing in the the stupidity and gullibility of their customers. We believe that most big advertisers in most industries need to advertise heavily to promote their inferior or expensive products to mass markets. The commercial television companies should probably take some of the blame because they must almost certainly know or suspect what their customers, the advertisers, are doing.
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Our Conclusions and Advice
Over more than 40 years in this business, we have seen a stream of similar cash buyers, advertisers, and leafleteers, most of whom pay low prices. We would recommend that any potential seller shops round a little. If you are not satisfied by the price you can get locally, you could always post it or bring it to us, and will almost certainly get a better price than from your local jewellers and dealers.
Scrap Gold Selling Advice
Our simple advice about selling scrap gold jewellery in the UK and elsewhere. Avoid get ripped off.
We are happy to buy any quantity of scrap, from a single piece upwards, without limit.
If you have a large quantity of gold scrap to sell, we will accept your instructions on price, or offer you helpful advice on selling. We are one of the longest established and largest gold buyers in Britain.
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Our buying prices for gold coins, bars and scrap are fair and competitive, but depend and change based on underlying gold prices, and other market conditions such as supply and demand.
Sending Gold Scrap by Post
You are welcome to visit our showroom to sell scrap, but it's also very easy to sell to us using the post. We have a page of advice about sending gold coins and scrap by post.
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