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Gullible Gold Sellers May Get Gored on Gold Price: Consumers Beware
Jan 10, 2013 (03:01 PM EST)
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As cash-strapped consumers sell their gold to pay for everyday necessities, complaints against gold dealers have risen. Among the worst offenders according to a recent tally on the Better Business Bureau's website, BBB.org, are cash for gold companies advertising heavily on television. One company received 119 complaints in the previous 36 months. Another received 81. Complaints range from pricing discrepancies and misleading advertising to customer service issues and claims for lost shipments.
"Not every Internet gold buyer is dishonest," says Michael H. Gusky, whose company, GoldFellow.com has served over 250,000 customers and is rated A+ by the BBB.
A 30 plus-year gold jewelry industry veteran, Gusky was invited to appear on an episode of last season's America's Money Class with Suze Orman to help teach consumers how to sell gold.
"GoldFellow.com was created to provide consumers a safe, competitive and easy method to sell unwanted gold, sterling silver, platinum and diamonds," says Gusky.
He attributes his company's success and rapid growth to a higher level of trust achieved through his company's transparent business practices and higher payments.
"The owners of GoldFellow® are the most honest and ethical dealers I have had the pleasure to do business with," says Carla Stern who first tried to sell her unwanted jewelry to two other Internet gold buyers. "GoldFellow® paid me $1,800 for the same package I had sent to a highly advertised on TV and Internet dealer, who tried to pay me only $310," explains Stern.
Gusky is not surprised by Stern's experience.
"We could spend our money on commercials – or we could put the cash in our customer's pockets. We prefer to pay the customer higher prices," he says.
According to Gusky, the way gold is valued causes confusion. In a phone survey conducted by the company, consumers reported the primary obstacles to selling their unwanted gold jewelry was uncertainty about their gold's true value and unfamiliar weight units like pennyweight (dwt), gram and troy ounce.
"We realized we'd been communicating our pricing in the wrong language," explains Gusky. "As consumer advocates, we'd focused on educating the public and built an informative website but we needed to find a way to illustrate gold value so it could be more easily understood."
To complement its online payment schedule, GoldFellow® created the interactive Gold Payments Gallery which displays photos of actual jewelry the company purchased along with the item's karat, weight stated in both grams and pennyweight and price paid.
"Customers tell me they like looking through the photos and finding items similar to those they want to sell," reports Mary Hamilton, a customer support manager who has worked for Gusky since 1987. "They say the photos help them understand what to expect for their own jewelry and really appreciate our honesty."
According to the company's website, www.GoldFellow.com, GoldFellow® posts and updates its payment schedule daily, provides every customer with free, insured FedEx® shipping and posts the customer's itemized settlement offer in a password protected environment where it must be reviewed and accepted before they are paid.
"Do your homework before you sell your gold," cautions Gusky.
Gusky recommends always checking potential gold buyers out with the Better Business Bureau. Look for accredited companies with A+ rating and few or no unresolved complaints. Ask several gold buyers how much they would pay you for one single pennyweight of 14 karat gold when selling less than one ounce, and then compare prices.
"And for goodness sake, never drop your valuables in a regular mailbox, warns Gusky. "There's no record or proof that it has been mailed - and it may not be fully insured. Read the terms and conditions on the gold buyer's website."
Gusky, and his wife Robin, who is also active in the company, earned their reputation over 30 years in the gold jewelry business. Their previous company grew to become the largest karat gold jewelry manufacturer in America, culminating with a sale to Warren Buffett's, Berkshire-Hathaway in 2007.