BBB Gold Buying Investigation Finds Advertising Claims to be Unsubstantiated

November 07, 2013

BBB Gold Buying Investigation Finds Advertising Claims to be Unsubstantiated


Spokane, WA - Better Business Bureau conducted an undercover investigation involving twelve gold buying retailers advertising “Top Dollar Paid,” “Top Price Paid,” and similar ad claims as part of BBB’s Advertising Review program. Both BBB accredited and non-accredited Spokane area pawn shops, gold and coin retail stores and a jeweler were randomly selected for the secret shop investigation.


Gold items used in BBB’s investigation were appraised at $593 with an anticipated purchase offer of $361.98 - $455. Offers from gold buying retailers varied greatly, ranging from $187 to $510, averaging $374.37 for the jewelry being appraised.


Of the twelve businesses shopped, seven were using some sort of “top dollar paid” advertising claim. When asked if the business would beat a competitor's price, all seven businesses declined.


“Advertisers who misuse or are unable to substantiate ad claims such as ‘Top Dollar Paid,’ ‘Best,’ ‘#1,’ ‘Lowest Price’ devalue the advertising messages from ethical businesses that are able to substantiate their claims. We hope that by holding businesses accountable for what they promote, consumers will be more informed when making purchase decisions,” said Eleanor Katzele, BBB President and CEO.


Gold buying retailers advertising the "Top Dollar Paid" ad claims have been requested by BBB to modify or discontinue specific claims unsubstantiated by the secret shop investigation. To date, only one business has chosen not to modify their advertising. Businesses not abiding by BBB’s Code of Advertising will have their online BBB Business Review updated with custom text regarding their unsubstantiated claim, rating updated, and if BBB accredited, revocation of BBB Accreditation.


BBB offers the following advice to consumers looking to offload gold or other items:

  • Be wary of any advertiser stating ‘top dollar paid,’ ‘best,’ or lowest price,’ without providing tangible substantiation for the claim.

  • Get estimates from three different businesses and choose the best option for you.

  • Choose reputable gold buyers by checking with BBB at  


Better Business Bureau was founded on the principle that businesses should advertise honestly, and our Advertising Review program continues to be a core function of BBB’s mission.


Consumers, businesses and competitors are encouraged to submit advertising claims to BBB for review at