Jewelry, Gold, & Diamonds Selling Guide
A Consumer's Guide to Scams, Ripoffs, & Unfair Practices
dealing in precious metals should clearly disclose the amount they pay.
metals are a commodity, just like oil and natural gas. If a dealer
makes statements like, "Prices change daily so we can't give a figure,"
it is likely that you will be offered far less than a fair price. If
they can't provide an estimate after being given the total weight,
purity, and type of
item being sold, it is best not to deal with them at all. Rather, deal with
firms that provide payout
information up front. When a store sells
an item, their price is clearly stated - expect no less from someone looking to buy your precious metals.If a firm does post buying prices which seem to be
much higher than anyone else, be wary.
These firms may practice bait
switch techniques. Remember, all business must make a profit,
don't think that with all the costs associated with obtaining
materials to refine or resell, a firm can survive on a 5-10 percent
margin - there is going to be a catch.If mailing in your items, get a quote first.
Many firms operate nationwide, and allow customers to mail in their
jewelry and precious metals. Upon receipt, they perform a physical
inspection and send a check based on their valuation of the item. Most
of these firms consistently offer the lowest payouts. A recent
investigation by a San Diego media outlet found that popular nationwide
firms typically paid as much as 70% less
than local buyers. However, there are "mail in" companies which offer higher
rates than many local buyers, with the added convenience of not having to "shop around."
Look for a company that provides price quotes to those looking to sell their diamonds or
they mail the items in for inspection - they are likely to offer a
great price and fair transaction. To avoid a bait and switch, ask if
the company will stand behind their quote even after inspecting your
item. All too often, a buyer will
one price, but after the
physical inspection, the offer ends up being much less. This is the
purpose of our "$100 price
", which states that if our final offer is below
initial estimate, we'll give the client $100 even if they don't sell to us. Deal with an organization that is committed to
fair trade and believes in ethical business practices.
Look for firms that are A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau
This simple step can save you time, frustration, and potentially a lot
of money. No matter how large or reputable a company seems, always take
the extra step. One of the largest gold buyers, who even advertised in
the Superbowl, has an F rating with the BBB. In a recent investigation
by "Inside Edition", reporters sent them gold and were offered 20 to 30 percent of the amount that even local
And just because someone shows the BBB symbol, does not mean they are
members. Even if they are, see how long they have been members, or
have been operating. It takes a minimum of three years to get an A+ rating
from the BBB.Look for signs of stability and credibility.
all possible, deal with a company who is licensed and bonded in
the state where they are headquartered. This
shows that they have provided the necessary information to local
and are much less likely to be a "fly by night" organization.
Additionally, buyers with a brick and mortar location which members of
can visit to conduct business, are more likely to be credible. If a
firm does not allow this, be cautious.
while no one likes paperwork and regulation, be cautious if a buyer
does not require identification or keep records, especially in large
transactions. Gold and jewelry buyers are subject to provisions of the
Patriot Act, as well as various state and local regulations. If a firm
does not appear to abide by these policies, it is likely that they are
not going to be entirely honest in their dealings with consumers.Know what's fair.
Just because a firm advertises on TV or
provides you with prepaid mailing materials, does not mean they pay more
than other buyers. All too often, they actually end up paying less - and,
in many cases, much less. So, how much should one be paid, and
answer to this is subjective. However, follow these general guidelines
to avoid underestimating, or even overestimating, the value of your
Pay attention to the details.
- When selling gold or other precious
metals, a fair payout would be somewhere between 50 to 70
percent of the metal's value, and, depending on how much material is sold at
once, perhaps as high as 80 to 90 percent. Unless you need cash immediately, pawn shops should be used only as a
last resort. They consistently pay much less than
dedicated gold and jewelry buyers.
buyers pay by the gram, others by the pennyweight. Neither measure is
preferable, what matters is the percentage they are paying. By knowing
conversions, you can accurately compare one buyer's offer to another's.
There are 20 pennyweights
or 31.1 grams in a troy ounce of metal. If a buyer does not
tell you what they are paying and can not break it down by gram or
pennyweight, don't deal with them.
are many costs
associated with the refining process, and there is a loss of
weight involved in that process as well. For this reason, quotes from most
reputable buyers will not deviate by more than 10 to 20 percent, as
they must maintain a profit margin. However, for high value pieces, it
is often advisable to see
how much you are offered by presenting it for sale to a few
different buyers. A disreputable dealer's offer will be much less
others, perhaps even 70 to 80 percent less.
- Signed pieces and antique items will
net higher premiums.
- Larger, high quality
diamonds will certainly sell for more. Remember, a store may
have sold a diamond for $10,000, but their cost may have been
$5,000. So when going to sell it, a buyer would most likely
be offered $2,000-$3,000.
be fooled by appraisals, since many jewelers use these to give
the consumer a false sense of value. Remember, an item is only
the amount someone is willing to pay at any given point. While you
could have paid $1,000 for an item that came with a $10,000
appraisal, if it was really worth $10,000, do you think someone
would accept 10 cents on the dollar? Appraisals are
often grossly exaggerated, and even the jeweler who sold the item is
aware of that. If an appraiser won't offer at least 20% of their
appraised amount, then they are
providing you an exaggerated figure. Retail jewelers also don't want
you to know how little the item may be worth, especially when you may
have paid much more than the wholesale value. Typically, the
value could be 20 to 40 percent of the amount the store charges. Thus,
a reputable buyer will usually offer 20 to 30 percent of the amount an
sold for new, and this amount can be adjusted based on overall quality
and demand for the item.
with anything else, not reading the "fine print" can get consumers in
trouble. Know the policies and terms of a firm before you do
business with them, to avoid unpleasant surprises.
One of the
most common unfair practices of the less trustworthy mail-in
buyers is their check policy. After receiving your items, these firms
issue you a check. If you are unhappy with their payout, they require
notification within ten days from
the date the check was issued
(not received). This often means that by the time
you receive the check, you could only have a few days to get your items
back. And with check in hand, many consumers find it difficult to return it in order to look for a better offer.
sure to find out a buyer's policy on diamonds or gemstones. Many firms
specialize only in gold or metals, and do not pay anything for diamonds
and gemstones. If your item contains stones, some buyers will not pay
you for them, pricing the item only on its metal content. Higher
quality firms generally accept and pay for both stones and precious
Finally, understand a buyer's shipping policy. Are
they responsible for items lost in the mail? Do they provide sturdy
shipping materials or insurance? Some large buyers provide
inexpensive prepaid mailing materials, and unsuspecting sellers
just mail their items off with no real protection. An unscrupulous
buyer could simply say the item never arrived, so tracking information
is critical, especially on high dollar items. If a buyer will not allow
you to ship using your own secure packaging and trackable delivery
(such as USPS Registered Mail, Delivery Confirmation, or a parcel
service such as UPS with real time tracking and delivery
confirmations), tread carefully.When selling high value items, opt for discretion.
Pawn shops, notorious for their location in high crime rate areas, are
never a good idea if you want to sell expensive jewelry. Even some
"uptown" jewelry stores with large, conspicuous "cash for gold" type
signage may unwittingly make themselves targets for robbery. If you
feel uncomfortable with the area or location of a buyer's store, ask if
they would be willing to set up an appointment in your home. While no
pawn shops and few jewelry stores will do so, serious jewelry buyers
understand the need for high value transactions to occur in the safety
and privacy of your home. If you cannot find a local buyer willing to
do this, a reputable mail in firm may be your best solution.
are an endless supply of buyers, and many are trustworthy.
Unfortunately, however, many are
not. By doing some research, and referring back to this diamond selling guide, as well as demanding transparency, you can
ensure a fair transaction every time. And once you have found a trusted
buyer, share your experience with family and friends. In a slow
economy, many Americans are selling unused gold, diamonds, and jewelry.
Your research and recommendations could potentially help someone you
know earn a much higher price for their items.
For more information on Gold Jewelry Buyers
, visit the rest of our site, or feel free to contact your leading San Diego Gold Buyers