Goldealers Blog

Cash for your gold – How to spot cash for gold scams

Caricature of a gold thief

Goldealers regularly receive telephone calls from people who have had bad experiences with other postal gold companies. Unfortunately, Cash for Gold Scams are all too common. There are so many ways in which a gold buyer is able to trick you or scam you into selling your jewellery. This article aims to provide you with sound impartial advice in order to make sure that you really get the best deal for your gold and ensure that you are not a victim to dishonest gold buyers.

Theft – Cash for gold scams

This is one of the most shocking cases of theft which we have heard – and we have heard it more than once. A customer sends in a broken chain to a postal gold company after having used their online calculator and receiving a quote. When the gold buyer weighs and values the jewellery, they call the customer to confirm the price (significantly lower appraisal than the online calculator valuation). The customer asks for the jewellery back, and the jewellery is returned to them. But the jewellery returned (remember it was a broken chain) weighs less than when it was posted.

This is unfortunately extremely common with some postal gold companies. The gold buyer, knowing that they will not make a profit on the transaction clips off a few links of the broken chain meaning that even though they have returned the chain, they have still made a tidy profit.

Proving that this has occurred is extremely difficult. If you plan on trying out any postal gold company, following these simple instructions before you trade in your gold for cash will help you to ensure that links are not being stolen:

  1. Weigh your broken chain
  2. Etch a visible mark on each end link
  3. Take a photo of the items (if possible, include etched links in the photo).

Under-Weighing & Undervaluing cash for gold scams

If you seem like you don’t know what the purity / weight, the many of gold buyers will take advantage of this fact. Quite simply allowing one gold buyer to value your items when you don’t know it’s true value is asking for trouble and is one of the easiest cash for gold scams to pull off.

If you don’t know the carat of your 18ct gold necklace, a gold buyer could quite easily purchase it from you as 14ct or even 9ct if they can get away with it.

Several of our customers don’t know the true value of their sovereign coins. e.g. they had no idea that the coins are 22ct. If you don’t know the value of your sovereign coin, a gold buyer could quite easily buy it in at a lower carat rate.

If you don’t know the weight of your jewellery, a postal gold company could quite easily purposely under-weigh your items. By under-weighing by just 1g of 9ct, on today’s prices, they have stolen around £12. This equates to a £600 profit from stealing 0.5g from 100 customers.

Hidden Refining / Processing Charges

There are so many online postal gold companies, and every single one of them wants to show that they pay the best rates in the country. After all, being able to offer the public the best price for gold is a big unique selling point. Naturally, it is completely impossible for every gold buyer in the country to pay the best price. There are many companies who inject hidden refining fees or quote spot / live prices in their online calculators. In most cases, this is not the actual price you are going to get and in our view, is a real cash for gold scam.

Companies like the “British Gold Refinery” quote spot / live prices (an they have finally put in some small print that this is a live price but this does render the online calculator completely useless because they do not make it clear what rate they will actually pay. Then, hidden in some convoluted terms and conditions (which you have agreed to) are fees which are made almost impossible to find if you wish to have your items sent back. ASA Adjudication – British Gold Refinery (Weston Knightly Ltd)


It is always best to be safe than sorry. If the company has millions of reviews on it’s own site, but nobody appears to have heard of them elsewhere on the internet, alarm bells should be ringing. Just don’t get tempted by a high quotation or celebrity endorsements. Don’t get tempted by fictitious reviews and recommendations hosted on a companies own site or spammed on forums. Know your gold, get weights, purity and a valuation from your local gold buyer / jeweller to ensure that you know what your gold is worth.

The best reviews are that of your own friends and family. If you are in a position of financial difficulty and you do not wish for your friends and family to know, then Goldealers Ltd have an Facebook Page where you can find REAL people who have used and recommend our services.

If you find that you have been victim to a cash for gold scams or crimes, please do get in touch / share your experiences by replying to this post. We will do our best to see if we can help you.

You should also report any illegal activities with the relevant authorities if you believe that you have been cheated by any gold buyer.

  1. Advertising Standards Authority
  2. Trading Standards Institute