Press releases

TSI advice: Watch out for gold diggers!

As the price of gold reaches an all time high TSI is warning consumers interested in selling their jewellery to shop around amidst mounting reports of scams across the country.

Selling gold jewellery to make ends meet in this recession is becoming increasingly popular but sellers are urged to beware of conmen keen to cash in on the trend.

TSI’s lead officer for fair trading Sylvia Rook said: ‘There is a wide disparity in how much shops or dealers will pay for gold and I know a number of authorities are looking at this issue.
‘Unfortunately there isn’t much trading standards officers can do if people are getting a bad deal, provided the trader is not actually misleading the seller about the gold’s worth.
‘We can only urge people to shop around to make sure they are getting a fair price for their gold.’

Top advice from TSI:
* Never deal with people who visit your home asking if you have any jewellery to sell as they may be rogue traders or even would-be burglars.
* Don’t respond to adverts offering to buy your gold if the trader has no fixed premises.
* Remember that if someone tells you that they will give you x amount for your piece of jewellery, that is not the same than saying that this given piece is worth that amount
* Get several quotes to make sure you are getting a fair offer for your jewellery.
* Make sure your jewellery is weighed with accurate scales, verified and stamped by an authorised person, before you are given a price for it.
* If your jewellery contains any precious stones be sure that their value is taken into account.  If in doubt get such items valued by a reputable jeweller first.
* Any precious metals dealer is required to display a hallmarking notice in the location where he deals with customers – it is an offence not to do so.
* Look for the carat marking on your jewellery’s hallmarking stamp to check the gold’s purity – it is likely to be either 9 or 18 carat.

Editors’ notes:

* A snapshot survey by Sutton trading standards found huge differences in the cash offered by local stores.
Officers took 9ct gold bracelets to six shops and were offered between £17 and £32 – a difference of almost 90%.
* South Lanarkshire trading standards worked with police to stop one company, based in Northumbria and believed to have toured across Scotland, from trading.  The company distributed flyers which promised ‘top London prices’  and gave a phone number to contact to arrange for a buyer to call on the customer at home.
* Highlands trading standards are aware of ads placed in local newspapers inviting people to come to a room hired in a hotel to sell their gold jewellery and have alerted the hotels where there has been cause for concern.
* Norfolk trading standards have found that buy back agreements are on the increase and have come across numerous cases where the buyer will just look at the jewellery and offer a price without weighing the item.

Contact TSI press office on 08456089430 or pressoffice@tsi.org.uk