Five ways to avoid the cash-for-gold rip-off
If you want to avoid being ripped off by cash-for-gold websites, do your homework first. Get a rough idea of how much your jewellery is worth before sending it off.
Here are our top five tips:
1. Weigh your gold
Weigh your pieces on an accurate set of scales so you know how heavy each piece is in grams.
2. Check the carat
Find out the gold content. Carats are the measure of purity. Pure gold is 24 carat (ct.) This can also be expressed as a percentage: for example, 9 ct. gold is 9/24 = 37.5% pure, so a 10g piece of 9ct gold jewellery will contain 3.75g of pure gold.
If you don't know the purity it might be worth taking your it to your local jeweller for advice.
3. Check the price of gold
Scan the financial pages of a daily newspaper or a financial website such as the London Bullion Market Association (lbma.org.uk) to find out the current spot gold price, which is quoted per troy ounce (one troy ounce = 31.1 grams).
As at 4 March the spot gold price was £895 or £29 per gram. But don't confuse this with the scrap metal value, which is lower. According to Goldprice (goldprice.org), which has a useful scrap gold price calculator on its website, the equivalent scrap gold price would be around £21 per gram (18ct.), £11.68 (10ct.).
You probably won't be offered anywhere near this by a buyer, but if the offer is less than 10% of the intrinsic value, look elsewhere.
Write an inventory
Before sending any jewellery to a cash-for-gold website make sure you write an inventory of the items and take photos of them to record their condition. If you reject the offer but a piece comes back to you damaged you'll have evidence to refute any claim that it arrived in that condition.
Check the website's policies
If your item of jewellery contains gemstones, make sure you know what the gold-buying company's policy is first before sending anything off.