Beware of ‘Gold Diggers’: Consumer Council

25/09/2012 16:23

Consumers are advised to tread carefully with caution when responding to enticing advertisements from gold buyers.

The advice follows a recent attractive full page newspaper advertisement put out by a foreign company luring consumers to sell their jewelry (gold, silver, and platinum) in return for cash.

The Council found that this foreign company, ‘Secured Gold Buyers’ is practicing double standard in selling gold for cash. There is variation in price of 3.4g of 18ct gold offered by this company in the central and western divisions. The company offered $130 in Suva and $95 in Nadi for 3.4g of 18ct gold jewellery.

The Council also tried to find out what consumers can get in cash for 3.4g of 18ct gold in the local stores. The offers ranged from $102 to $340 for the 3.4g of 18 ct gold.

From the above survey it can be concluded that the price varies and therefore consumers must shop around to get the best price for their precious jewelry and not get blinded by enticing advertisement or by smooth talking salesperson.

In the last five years the Council received 41 complaints against goldsmiths. In one particular incident, a tourist from Canada bought $3,200 worth of 22ct gold jewelries but later realized through gold test in Canada that the jewelry was not pure 22ct gold. In another recent incident, a consumer was sold 18 ct gold jewelry as 22 ct in the western division. The consumer only came to know that it was 18ct when she went to trade the same jewelry at another goldsmith after 5 months.

Consumers need to know that there is no such thing as “old” or “new” gold. Gullible consumers are often duped by traders when they take their “old” jewelries either to be traded in or sold for cash at jewelry shops. Traders smartly but falsely inform consumers that since the jewelry is “old”, it will be traded at a lower price. This is unacceptable because gold stays as gold and there is no issue of it being old or new. The traders are well aware that the price of gold is at its peak in the global market.

What remains unknown is the amount of money these traders are making unethically on the back of uninformed customers who have no idea how gold should be sold or bought. These jewelers buy gold cheaply after which they add alloys and resell at a much higher price tagged as 22ct.

Gold jewelry is an area of concern for the Council as there are no standards or guidelines regulating this industry. The Council would like to see mandatory standard introduced for gold dealers in our marketplace to better protect our consumers.

In the meantime consumers are encouraged to visit the review sites for Secured Gold Buyers to make an informed decision.