EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSUNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION
from Eyewitness News Online
Cash For Gold Investigation Uncovers Surprising Offers
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: Kallie Cart, Troy Morgan, Larry Clark
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Feb. 13, 2012 3:38 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 13, 2012 10:34 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The commercials and signs are everywhere, all different types of businesses getting in on this modern day gold rush and practically begging you to cash in your gold, with the promise that they'll pay the highest price. But how do you know you're getting the most bang for your bling? Eyewitness News went undercover to investigate these businesses and find out where you'll get the best and the worst deals, and the offers varied drastically.
Using an undercover camera, we took around our gold; five rings, a pair of earrings, two necklaces and a pendant, to four different stores in the Charleston and Huntington areas. We took the gold to a pawn shop, a store solely in the business of cashing in gold, a jewelry store and a drive through that spins gold into cash. We also sent our gold away to Cash 4 Gold, the place you see with all those ads trying to convince you to send in your loot, in return they send you a check.
So where did we strike it rich?
We first let expert David Hill of David Hill Limited take a look at our gold. After examining the gold, separating the 10 karat from the 14, weighing it and crunching the numbers, Hill, who's been in business for nearly 40 years, determined about $375 would be a fair price. At that price, we'd be taking home 70% of the actual value of the gold. The actual value is around $535, an estimate because gold prices change from day to day.
So out of our four stores, who was the highest bidder? You may just be surprised.
The jewelry store offered the least, offering $294, nearly $80 below what our expert said we should get.
The drive thru gold shop sped past that offer, they offered $400. That's more than what's considered a fair price, but the offers went up from there.
The pawn shop offered us $435. That was the highest first offer and higher than the considered fair price.
But the stand-alone, Cash For Gold store is where things got interesting. The initial offer was $329, but as we go to leave the price went up big time. The offer jumped to $504. When asked why, the dealer said he wanted to give us a good price. That price of $504 is almost the full value of the gold, 95%, and was an offer even our expert couldn't believe.
And don't forget we also mailed the gold away. Cash 4 Gold's offer was the absolute lowest at $140. That's not even 40% of what our expert considered a fair price.
So five stops and five vastly different offers ranging from $140 to more than $500. Our expert says that should be a lesson for anyone looking to cash in.
"Shop a little bit, hit two or three places, that's the smartest thing to do," David Hill says. "Because most people don't know the value of their gold and there are consequences."
Hill says the price of gold hasn't changed that much, but says the rush to cash in gold has happened because the value of the US dollar has declined. Back in the 1920s a $20 gold piece was worth it's face value. But now that same gold piece would be worth close to $1,700 in its weight in gold.
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