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With the price of gold and other precious metals at an all-time high, consumers are being drawn to offers to sell their old jewelry for cash. Your Better Business Bureau, however, warns that some people have become victims of deceptive practices that cost them time and money.

Like most businesses there are reputable, trustworthy companies that follow best marketplace practices when engaging in gold transactions, but there are also companies that use tricky tactics consumers should know and avoid.

Legitimate precious metal merchants want to educate consumers about some of those unscrupulous tactics and how to avoid falling prey to them:

-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 check you're unhappy about. 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, and 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 process in the advertised 12 to 24 hour time frame.

-Fudging the Weight:
Some companies will claim the gold weighs less than it actually does.

The BBB urges consumers who want to sell old jewelry for cash, to check out the name of a gold purchaser at to see if there have been any complaints about the company.

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