Follow rules to make 'au'-some gold transactions

As global markets suffer declines, worried investors are seeking safe havens for their funds. Some are moving away from the stock market and into gold, in the hopes that their money will grow.

Others are looking to cash in on the gold they own, for some extra cash or to make ends meet. With the price of gold near all-time highs at more than $1,800 per ounce, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota advises consumers to do their homework before trading their gold for cash.

Many consumers are looking to sell their gold jewelry through online venues, at home "gold parties" or local jewelers. However, not just every dealer is trustworthy. This year alone, the BBB has already received more than 500 complaints against gold, silver and platinum dealers.

"Consumers need to be on the lookout for disreputable sellers," said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB. "Many of the complaints we receive stem from deceptive advertising and situations where consumers end up receiving payments far less than what they believed their gold to be worth."

The BBB recommends following these tips to help ensure an ‘Au-some’ gold selling transaction:


• Find a trustworthy appraiser. If possible, seek appraisals from someone locally whom you know and trust. The BBB suggests obtaining two or three appraisals to compare prices, prior to any sale.

• The true price of gold may not be what you receive. If gold is worth $1,813 per ounce, you aren’t going to be paid $1,813 for every ounce of gold you have. Understand that the ounce quote is for pure gold only. For instance, 14-karat gold is composed of just 58.5 percent gold. Ask how much the company’s going rate is for each ounce of each karat you will send; the lower the karat, the less the gold content.

• Don’t let jewelry of different karat value be weighed together. Some dealers will weigh all jewelry together and pay you for the lowest karat value. Separate your jewelry by karat value before attending a gold party.

• Don’t let anyone steal your diamonds from gold pieces. Single gold stud earrings might be worth $5 or $10, yet diamonds in the earrings can be saved. The labor to remove small diamonds might exceed their value, but engagement ring diamonds, for example, should receive a value separated out from the gold.

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