So, will Cash4Gold offer me cash to kill this story?
You’ve seen the tacky ads; you’ve been entertained by Ed McMahon and MC Hammer; but hopefully, you haven’t fallen for any of it. Cash4Gold has a simple promise; send them your unwanted gold (and we all have a ton of unwanted valuables lying around I’m sure) and in return they’ll pay “top dollar” for it. But as you’ll see from over 260 complaints to the Better Business Bureau, top dollar certainly doesn’t mean what it used to.
The Cash4Gold operation is at best misleading, and at worst is more like a sophisticated version of highstreet robbery. What they ask you to do is hunt around in your home for gold that you no longer have a use for, and pop it into an envelope. In return, Cash4Gold will estimate its value and send you an offer for it. You can choose to accept it or turn it down. And as the offer is usually well below market value, most people reject it and get a slightly better offer. This from Inside Edition:
INSIDE EDITION's Senior Investigative Correspondent Matt Meagher asked master appraiser and jewelry expert Don Palmieri to assemble a collection of gold, 23 pieces in all, to sell to the company Cash4Gold. Each piece was weighed and analyzed with precision instruments to determine exact gold content, and laser etched for identification purposes. Based on the going rate for gold at the time of INSIDE EDITION's investigation, Palmieri and a second independent expert said we should get between $975 to $1,200 for the 23 pieces of gold in our collection. So we sent the gold off to Cash4Gold to see how much they would pay. About a week later, a check came for just $209.81. Expert Don Palmieri laughed when he saw the amount. "It's not a very good offer," he said. When INSIDE EDITION called to turn down the offer, Cash4Gold nearly doubled it instantly to more than $400, still much less than the experts said it was worth.
The ads are generally aimed at certain sectors of society, which is clear from the times and channels where their advertising appears. They want people who are at home during the daytime, usually retirees or people down on their luck. And they’re hoping people will be ignorant to the current market value of gold. A great story I read at Cockeyed.com highlights one guy’s encounter, Brent, with the Cash4Gold lowballers. Here’s an extract:
The pawn shop prices were as follows:
$10 per DWT for 14K gold.
$8 per DWT for 10K gold. With these prices, Brent's booty was worth $198.
He had $110 worth of 14 K gold plus $88 worth of 10 K gold.
Brent had initially noted prices on the Cash4Gold site as: $15 per DWT for 14K gold. $13 per DWT for 10K gold. Better, but all any prices had been removed from the Cash4Gold site by the time he was ready to send in his gold.
Cash4Gold operates in a manner similar to GoldKit. They send you an envelope, you send your gold to them in it. They determine the value and cut a check for that amount. If the amount meets your expectations, you cash it. If not, you have 15 days to return the check and get your gold back. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. He also noticed that Cash4Gold offers a "fast cash" scheme to forego the paper check and deposit their payment directly into your checking account within 24 hours. This setup would be faster, but gold sellers would give up their chance to examine and renegotiate their offer. And that, it turns out, would be a huge mistake for anyone selling gold to Cash4Gold. Brent did not use the FAST CASH option, he wanted to see what they would offer, and was willing to wait to see how much it was. The offer check from Cash4Gold arrived, for $60! Brent called Cash4Gold and immediately and asked for his stuff back. They made a new offer on the phone: $178!
I think the phrase that resonated most strongly for me from the article was this one; “How can you offer someone one price, then TRIPLE it, and not call the first offer a rip-off?”
At this point I would usually warn you all to stay as far away from Cash4Gold as you can, and bid you a good day. But there’s now an interesting new twist to this sordid tale. As it turns out, some of the many people out there who are writing bad things about this shady outfit are getting noticed; they’re appearing in the top searches on Google. And in turn, that has the Cash4Gold guys getting pretty nervous.
An article I found on BoingBoing tells the story of a guy, not unlike myself, who tries to keep consumers informed. And his story on Cash4Gold was met with an offer from them to pull his story in exchange for cold, hard cash. I wish I were making it up. Here is one of the letters Rob Cockerham received:
I work with Cash4Gold on the reputation management. Your article is ranking #3 on their brand term. They would really like to make it worth your while to take it down or make it more positive. They did something similar by joining (OTHER CONSUMER AFFAIRS WEBSITE)’s advocacy program. Is it worth a few thousand to take it down? If not, maybe a donation to your favorite charity is more to your liking?
Feel free to call me anytime to discuss further.
Tandem Interactive - Trendy Online Marketing Solutions
Hollywood, FL 33020
This is a new low. And what’s even more concerning is that other sites with your interests at heart have taken the bribe and pulled the story. Outrageous is too small a word. I popped over to The Consumerist to see what they had on Cash4Gold. And yes, they had plenty, including this article in which a former Cash4Gold employee tells all (no doubt to repair a very bruised conscience). I advice you to read the full article, but here's an extract:
I am a former employee of Cash 4 Gold. I did not know much about the company before being hired. On my first day of being hired, I was taught the "Cash 4 Gold Scam" from beginning to end.
5. We do offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee or your jewelry returned, BUT THE CATCH IS, that the guarantee is to contact us within 10 DAYS from when your check is DATED. (This begins with the time it took for the accounts payables dept. to ISSUE the check and also including the TRANSIT TIME for you to receive your check in the mail. **** NOTATE THE COMMERCIALS THAT INSINUATE THAT YOU GET YOUR CASH IN 24 HRS.*** If you request (sign) for FAST CASH (direct deposit) you automatically WAIVE your rights to have your items returned, EVEN if you are not satisfied with amount of your deposit.
6. You generally receive your check around the "7th-10th" business day, AND majority of the time Customers are outraged when they lay eyes on the amount of their check. Some Customer's even receive a check for 0.01 cents.
So, Wise Bread readers, spread the word. Let everyone you can know that Cash4Gold is not only a very shady organization with whom you shouldn’t trust you valuables, but it’s also one who will attempt to pay off people who try and tell the truth. If I do get an offer from the Cash4Gold people to pull my article, I'll let you know. And of course, I would never take it anyway, even for my favorite "charity!"
And folks, if you want money for your gold, try your local pawn shop. If you don’t like their offer, walk away with your gold; perhaps sell it on eBay or Craigslist. But never pop it in an envelope and mail it to this company…you may never see it again, or be offered a paltry amount of money in return.