Consumer Alert!

Please read this before selling your silver or gold to anyone!

consumer_alertDue to the increasing volatility in precious metals markets, there has been a surge in companies and individuals offering to buy gold and silver.

There has been a tremendous increase in complaints to the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau, and various other agencies regarding the unscrupulous tactics being used.

This article is to serve as an informative guide to help you navigate through and understand the various ways that consumers fall prey to these scams.

Online “Mail Order” “Cash For Gold” type operations

These outfits have received the largest increase in complaints. You have probably seen them advertised on TV or heard the radio spots. They promise fast payment for gold (sometimes silver also) and offer to send a “Gold Kit” or similar. These companies refuse to state to the consumer how much they will pay for their gold or silver. They claim to use “formulas” and “sliding scales” but will not disclose any further information. A select few will give a estimate of what they will pay, but confuse the consumer by using archaic measures such as Pennyweight and employ other tactics to make converting the units of measurement difficult for the typical seller. They also tend to publish their rates for purchases over 10 ounces, which is far above the average amount being sold.

The Silver and Gold Exchange offers a “mail order” buying program, but always states the amount being offered, in grams, troy ounces, pennyweight and avoirdupois (postage scale) ounces.  The Silver and Gold Exchange also verifies the payment amount with the seller, by email, before making the payment. In the event the seller is dissatisfied, or changes his or her mind, they can arrange to have their items returned to them.

Jewelers and Pawn Shops

Although considered more reputable than the “online only” operations due to their bricks and mortar presence and regulatory obligations in some states, these businesses can be far from safe for sellers. Usually they pay considerably less than any other buyers. In addition, since they tend to cater to “desperate” sellers, the greed factor can be astonishing. They too play the units of measure game and transition between Troy ounces, Advordupois ounces, Pennyweights, and Grams. When testing for gold or silver content, they may claim that an item tests as a lesser karat piece than it actually is. They also have been known to make “mathematical mistakes” when calculating totals. These problems tend to be even more prevalent in economically depressed areas.

The Silver and Gold Exchange always pays more than these businesses due to ethical standards, as well as an advantage of not having the overhead of a retail, storefront location. The Silver and Gold Exchange uses GRAMS as the standard unit of measurement.

Individual Independent Buyers

Usually found posting on free classifieds websites, or in ads in Pennysaver type newspapers, these individuals are a hit and miss lot. While there are some reputable buyers, others can range from friendly con artist to mugger. Lacking any business licensing, documented presence, or accountability of any sort, these folks represent the “Wild West” of the precious metals market. Some may pay more than the businesses mentioned above, while some pay much less. Many use the less than savory techniques mentioned previously, while still others add more, such as inaccurate scales, judging payment amounts based on the appearance of the seller, and more. The worst are not legitimate buyers at all, but hard core criminals that meet with prospects at their homes or remote locations and rob them or worse.


We hope this consumer alert has been helpful. If you have any questions about safely selling your silver or gold, please feel free to contact the Silver and Gold Exchange via email at:

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