Fools Gold?

Determining if Cash4Gold is worth its weight

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Out of all the cash for gold companies shilling on television, Cash4Gold has managed to ascend the ranks from late night informerical-esque advertising to ubiquitous primetime spots featuring Publishers Clearing House pitchman Ed McMahon and too-legit-to-quit rapper MC Hammer – who are both ironically notorious for their financial woes. Promising quick and easy cash for your scrap gold, the company has been a go-to gold buyer for folks seeking to bring in extra money.

There’s something about mailing in gold jewelry for “cold hard cash” that doesn’t sit well with me, especially when there are pawnshops and jewelers in just about every downtown, USA. Well, earlier this month the fine people over at Good Morning America confirmed my suspicions, by conducting their own cash-for-gold test, sending off three packets of jewelry all appraised at $350 to mail-in gold companies. Get Gold Cash offered $206 and later raised its offer to $275. Dollars 4 Gold offered a measly $89.71, claiming some of their pieces were only 10 or 12 karats.

So, what did the Grand Puba of this burgeoning industry offer? A whopping $66.05! When GMA asked for its gold back, an option available to dissatisfied customers they were made another offer of…$137. The company later explained that it reevaluated the packet and one of the pieces could be sold “as-is” instead of being melted down, giving it more value.

For those especially pressed, Cash4Gold offers a “fast cash” deal, which directly deposits funds into your checking account within 24 hours. The caveat: gold sellers are stuck with the offer with no chance of getting the jewelry back.

Some might call it a scam; I call it highly dubious business practices, especially after what Jeff Aronson, Cash4Gold CEO, told GMA: “That’s what the material was worth to me at that time.”

In a statement sent Tuesday, Aronson said, “our prices are based solely on the precious metal content of the goods, which are weighed and thoroughly tested before ultimately being melted down. We pay our customers between 20 and 80%  of spot price with the larger amounts going to people sending in more than 10 ounces of gold.”

But that doesn’t explain why three different companies offered three vastly different prices for the same items. Apparently, value is dictated by whichever way the wind blows, so much for market value.

“We’ve seen checks [from Cash4Gold] that have been written out for two cents,” says Brodie White, president of the South Florida Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Cash4Gold has conducted more than 700,000 transactions since it was founded in 2007, and currently has a “D rating” with the BBB. There have been more than 319 complaints filed with the consumer advocacy agency.

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  • william robinson

    whats worth is weight in gold is information check into the estell richardson murder case and gus puyer it is time for accountability seriously check it out

  • Terrence

    I have heard about these scams for months now. I wanted to sell some gold I didn’t want anymore but I didn’t want to be made a fool so I shopped around. I found a place that did me right called the Silver and Gold Exchange. They put the prices they are paying right up front on their website so there are no games.

  • Cynthia Bennett

    Thank you for this story. So many of us are looking for extra money and selling our old gold is certainly an option. I looked into Cash4Gold and several other online companies, and each time didn’t get a good feeling about the process. So I attended a Golden Girls Gold Party in Atlanta and discovered a really great group of ladies with a great business. It was very simple. They sat with me and weighed my gold in front of me. They explained the pricing to me and paid me on the spot. I had received offers from two jewelry stores and my boyfriend got an offer from a pawn store, and Golden Girls paid me $122 more than the highest offer. Plus, they donate money to charities from their own proceeds. It was no pressure; very honest; and they are fully licensed. It was a great experience and I would say, “Don’t send your gold to someone you don’t know or deal with someone that isn’t fully upfront with you.” I highly recommend Golden Girls.

  • william robinson

    Go to and no disrespect to black interprise but go to harlem heights blog on vibe magazine to see what type of president george w bush really was he helps cover up murders of black women

  • william robinson

    Let me say this to about the estell richardson case people would beleive me on what i was saying if there wasnt so much preferential treatment in law enforcement and as black people we know there is alot of that those gaurds at cca loved there job so much because of it they know it was a security blanket when they did the foul things they did bush loves it to because of the security it has you see they never snitch on each other its defeniatly not common place but they stress infasis on others telling on others bush loves this and thats how he has been able to manipulate people around me and probably other situations as well you have to catch his people in the act before they will say anything and then you still have to watch what they are saying because they will try to protect there other accomplices by lying to mislead the rest of a investigation bush used his pull to mask that murder of estell richardson

  • http://www.teenentrepreneurblog.com Shonika Proctor, TeenBizCoach

    Get a clue people. This is supposed to be a business magazine and business blog for crying out loud.

    This is not a “scam”. Why do you see cash for gold commercials popping up everywhere?

    In simple terms we are in a recession. People are concerned about the U.S. Dollar collapsing and thus having a worthless currency.

    So that means people would need to rely on another type of currency. In this case it is gold. So that is why companies are running commercials on the Super Bowl and other places where they can reach people in volume? Because the people who own the most amount of dollars have the most to lose. Think about it. It is actually common sense.

    Look at who is advertising products? Ed McMahon and MC Hammer…too former branded personalities who appealed to urban and poorer communities (i.e. look who we are making a millionaire this week on Publisher’s Clearing House). That is their audience. People who are misinformed, might be hard pressed for cash and do not have the resources or credibility to do anything should something go wrong. So those personalities probably receive a small percentage of the sales via licensing (i.e. why you aren’t getting the amount of money you thought you would).

    So as the market continues to crash and everyone’s money is lost in real estate and their stock portfolio, the only thing that might have some value is gold (IN VOLUME) hence cash for gold type websites and programs. Personally speaking, if I was that hard pressed for cash I think I would go out and use my worthless U.S. dollars to buy cases of Scotch instead.

    Read the Financial Times (UK) if you want real business news.

    @teenbizcoach

    @teenbizcoach

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