ConsumerWatch: Who Pays The Most For Scrap Gold?

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — With the price of gold at an all-time high, it seems everyone is offering to buy. With jewelry stores, pawnshops and even mail based operations such as Cash for Gold wanting your scrap gold, who is really paying the most?

CBS 5 ConsumerWatch went undercover to find out. We offered to sell a 24 karat chain, an 18 karat gold band and a 14 karat omega necklace.

To determine exactly how much it’s all worth, CBS 5 took it to the source: a commercial gold refinery. They can’t buy gold from you, so they opted not be on camera. But this is where licensed retailers, who buy your gold, get paid.

“The Melt” is the term used to account for how much gold the pieces produce once they are melted down. According to the refinery, our gold is worth $1,320. But experts said we should only expect to get between 40 and 80 percent of that.

Our first stop was Van Mardirosian, a licensed jeweler in San Francisco. He offered $852 for our gold, which is about 65 percent of the value of the pure gold, and a pretty good offer according to our experts.

Next, CBS 5 ConsumerWatch took our hidden camera to the Southland Mall in Hayward. The buyer at the Jewel Time kiosk said he would give us a good deal. He offered $775, which is about 58 percent of the “melt,” which experts say is still not a bad deal.

Just a few feet away was the Gold Rush kiosk. They offered $549, or 41 percent of the melt. The clerk offered to give something extra, but he would not disclose the bonus unless we agreed to sell.

ConsumerWatch then went to Fremont, where a company called Secured Gold Buyers was holding a gold buying event. After weighing and examining our pieces, the appraiser said the gold chain wasn’t real gold. Ironically it was the only 24 karat piece we had.

She offered $221 for the other pieces, plus an extra 10 percent because we had a newspaper coupon. The total was $241, or 41 percent of the melt.

Our lowest offer came from a pawnshop in Oakland, where the appraiser said there wasn’t much market for our prices. He offered $265 for all three, just 20 percent of the gold’s value.

To get the best price, you have to shop around. When you do, ask what percentage of “the melt” you are getting. And to start with a trusted jeweler, that way, you’ll know what you have and which offer is good as gold.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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