Following complaints, the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service has recently conducted a survey into high street businesses which offer to buy gold.
Posing as a customer wanting to sell gold, an officer tried to sell three pieces of gold jewellery provided by the Sheffield Assay Office. The range of offers for the same piece of jewellery was astounding.
The worst example was an 18 carat gold ring reliably valued at £200- £250 which attracted a paltry offer of £26.41. The best offer for this item was £210.
Ten premises were visited altogether, and the prices offered by retailers for pieces of gold jewellery were recorded.
Unfortunately, Trading Standards Services cannot take action against traders offering less than the market value for items unless the trader is actually misleading the seller about the gold’s worth or falsely claiming to offer the best price.
Consumers are advised to shop around as prices offered were found to vary widely between gold buyers – even between those shops in close proximity to each other. Based on Trading Standards’ findings, you could attract as much as 90% more for an item simply by taking the time to have it valued by a few different gold buyers.
Ashley Carson, Assay Master at Sheffield Assay Office commented, “Unfortunately we are still seeing traders taking advantage of customer’s lack of knowledge of the buying and selling of gold. I would urge anyone wishing to sell their gold to obtain at least 2 prices before selling. Do not accept the first price given, no matter how tempting it might be”.
Councillor Jayne Booth, of the Trading Standards Committee, said, “Consumers who need to sell their gold jewellery should obtain a number of valuations if they want to get the best price. Some buyers have misled consumers about the authenticity of their gold jewellery and offered prices well below market value. It’s important therefore that they shop around. Anyone who has concerns that they are or have been misled over selling their gold should contact the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 040506.”