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Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Montana
BBB Cautions of Traveling Gold Buyer’s Advertising Tactics in Spokane
July 22, 2014

Kravit The Estate Department, a company based in Boca Raton, Fla., is set up at Spokane Valley’s  Mirabeau Park Hotel & Convention Center this week buying gold, diamonds, jewelry, watches, etc. with cash paid on the spot based on estimates provided by their appraisers. The business is scheduled to be selling between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from July 22-24.

Kravit currently holds an F-rating with BBB in Southeast Florida as a result of advertising reviews filed in 2011 & 2012 that revealed misleading messages.  

Though the review filing was three years ago, BBB discovered that Kravit used similar messaging in advertisements seen in the Spokesman-Review and in those featured at the Mirabeau Park Hotel.

Based on their current advertising, customers are led to believe that Kravit will give them the most for their precious metals and stones.  Compared to their 2011 advertising language, Kravit did modify their claim from "We pay the Most" to "We pay more."  However, estimates are made at the location, payment is made in cash on-site and customers cannot obtain refunds.

BBB advises consumers to proceed with caution and encourages following these tips when considering selling precious metals.

Shop Around. No matter how or where you ultimately choose to sell, start locally. Take your gold to a reputable local jeweler or pawn shop and ask them to estimate its value. That way, you'll have at least have a base price in hand before you solicit online bids or consider other offers.

Beware 'Rogue' Buyers. These buyers blow into town, run ads promising high prices, and set up shop, say, in a hotel ballroom. After vacuuming up a city's worth of jewelry and coins, they disappear, sometimes leaving their victims unpaid or underpaid. Before you sell gold--whether to a hotel buyer or to anybody else--check with BBB to see if there are complaints against the buyer.

Don't Mix Karats. Some buyers value all jewelry together, regardless of its karat value, and sellers are paid according to the lowest karat value. Don't accept those terms. Separate your jewelry in advance, by karat, and make sure higher karats get you higher prices.

Keep an Eye on the Scale. While the accuracy of scales used by jewelers and pawnshops is verified periodically by the department of weights and measures, the same may not be true for scales used by hotel or house party buyers. BBB advises sellers to pay close attention to how their gold is being weighed: Jewelers value gold not by the ordinary ounce (28 grams) but by the Troy (31.1 grams). While some buyers pay according to the gram weight, others use a system called pennyweight: A pennyweight is equivalent to 1.555 grams. A seller needs to make sure his valuables aren’t being weighed by pennyweight and paid out by the gram, since that would allow the buyer to get more gold for less money.

Read the Fine Print. Some websites offer free shipping to send in gold, but gouge with return shipping rates if you change your mind. Check the buyer's policy, too, on reimbursement if they lose your gold. Many offer only limited liability.

Check Credentials. Ask a potential buyer to show you his credentials: If he's legitimate, he'll be licensed by the state to buy gold. He will also be required by law to ask you, the seller, to produce a driver's license, passport or some other form of government-issued identification. That requirement exists to frustrate money laundering and the sale of stolen property. If your buyer does not ask to see your ID, take your business elsewhere.

Know the true value.  Before you sell a gold item to be melted down for scrap, make sure it's not worth more in its present form. For example, a California antiques dealer was brought an antique item—a small gold watch fob made in the shape of a railroad spike. Upon inspection, the fob turned out to have been fashioned out of gold left over from making the famous full-sized golden spike used in 1869 to commemorate completion of the transcontinental railroad. At auction, it sold for $20,000, many times more than its value as melted down gold.

If you or someone you know have been affected by a gold buying scam, contact BBB by calling 509-455-4200 or emailing info@spokane.bbb.org.

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ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving E. Washington, N. Idaho & Montana, founded in 1912, is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America.  

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