BBB Tips on Selling or Buying Gold, Silver and Platinum

  
     
January 12, 2012

Thinking about selling or buying gold, silver or platinum jewelry, coins and other items made of precious metals?

The Better Business Bureau in Southeast Texas warns that some consumers have become victims of deceptive practices that have cost them money resulting in emotional distress. 

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 and silverware for cash.  There are reputable, trustworthy companies that follow ethical marketplace practices when engaging in precious metal transactions, but there are also companies that use tactics consumers should know and avoid.

Before you buy or sell, make sure you do your research.  There is an enormous amount of information available both online and in print regarding selling and buying precious metals.  When reviewing information, check out the source by taking the time to research who is providing the information.  Is the business Accredited with the Better Business Bureau?  See if there are complaints on the company. How many years have they been in business? Does the business meet the licensing and registration requirements in your community or state?

It is wise to get more than one appraisal. Do not feel pressured to rush into a transaction.  Legitimate businesses will want you to take the time to check them out and carefully consider the pros and cons of buying and selling precious metals.  Before selling, keep in mind that the price you are being offered may not be equal to the value you put on your possession.  If it is an heirloom or sentimental piece, once it is sold, it is gone and you may find later that it was worth more than you were paid for it.  Consider doing business with a local company who has an established reputation rather than an out of state company with no ties to your community.

Don’t let your jewelry of different karat value be weighed together.  Separate your jewelry by karat value before selling and be wary of dealers who weigh all jewelry together and pay you the lowest karat value. 

Ask the buyer what the melt value of items you are selling is so you can make an informed decision.  Many buyers are willing to do this for their customers.  Don’t be misled by measurements/weights.  You may be quoted a price related to grams or pennyweights and it may appear to be a good deal because the goldweight seems larger when you are actually being offered a lower price.  Make sure the scale being used to weigh your items is appropriately licensed if required by government agencies.

Always get a detailed, signed receipt for your transaction from the buyer of seller.  This is essential if you later believe you were misled or determine the dealer may be operating fraudulently.  Documentation is your proof if you want to file a complaint and can be useful for tax purposes as well. 

How much are you really paying or receiving for melt value of the coin(s) or jewelry?  The value of common gold and silver bullion coins is mainly determined by their precious metals content. What is the intrinsic value of the coin if it was melted or sold?  The price of gold and silver may fluctuate dramatically.  However, when dealing with middlemen, you take the risk of receiving less money for your precious metal items.

For additional information regarding new Texas requirements effective January 1, 2012, click on the links below.  You will find detailed information and will be able to see if the precious metal dealer you are considering doing business with is registered.

http://www.occc.state.tx.us/pages/industry/CPMD/cpmdindex.html

https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/PreciousMetals/Reports/ActiveDealers.aspx

The BBB provides reports on both accredited and non-accredited businesses. Check BBB Business Review Reports at www.bbb.org.  For more information, call (409) 835-5348 or (855) BBB-SETX or e-mail info@bbbsetexas.org.