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Saturday 20 September 2014

'Cash-for-gold' outlets vary by up to 60pc in prices they offer for valuables

Published 14/11/2011 | 05:00

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Don Mc Manus from Sean McManus Jewellers in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, examines some secondhand gold
Cash Encounters in Naas, Co Kildare, which offered the lowest prices

CONSUMERS trying to raise cash by selling their gold jewellery face huge discrepancies in price between outlets, the Irish Independent has found.

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The amount of cash you'll get for your gold can vary by as much as 60pc between outlets.

The worst price offered was from Cash Encounters in Naas Co Kildare, which offered just €64 for a gold ring -- less than half the €140 quoted in most other outlets and a third of its actual value to the trader of over €200.

When we objected that this was too low, the sales assistant quickly agreed to raise it to a final offer of €82.

The same Naas outlet offered just €200 for a nine-carat gold chain compared with around €280 at most other outlets, and a trade value of €411.

Gold prices have been at record highs this year, leading to dozens of cash-for-gold outlets setting up around the nation.

Acid test

We took two items of jewellery to sell as scrap gold -- and got jeweller Don McManus in Dun Laoghaire to perform an "acid test" of their carat-level -- and value them accordingly.

Based on the industry-standard Cookson scrap-gold price of the day, he said the chain would be worth €411 and the ring €204 if sold on to a bullion dealer.

However, a trader would typically discount that by 30pc bringing the purchase price to the customer of €288 and €143.

Discounts of 25-30pc -- effectively the trader's markup -- were standard in Ireland and the UK to account for high handling and insurance costs, and a reasonable profit margin, Mr McManus said.

"Obviously prices will vary a bit, but if you were offered much less than €280 or €140 for these items, then that's profit taking," he said.

However, customers should also be aware that an item might fetch a better price if they sold it to a jeweller as a piece of jewellery rather than as scrap gold, Mr McManus noted.

"A typical example is Granny's old ring. It might have a couple of missing stones and look in bad shape. But if there's actually a diamond in there that has a value as well you don't want to miss out on (that)," he said.

The highest price offered in our survey was on the website scrapgoldbuyers.ie which quoted €313 for the chain and €155 for the ring -- though you'd have to send the items to their Co Carlow office at a cost for registered post of €9.25 to get a definitive offer. Recycle Gold in Navan offered just €95 for the ring and €226 for the chain.

Irish Gold Exchange in Tallaght's Square offered €90 for the ring and €240 for the chain and told us we were "robbing them" when we protested we'd had a better offer elsewhere.

In general, jewellers and a pawnbroker tended to offer the best rates, but they were matched by some of the cash-for- gold outlets.

All the valuations were carried out on the spot based on inspecting and weighing the jewellery.

Most outlets had signs saying they would require ID to complete a transaction amidst concerns the flourishing trade could encourage theft.

Pawning the items is also an option if you want a short-term loan with the option to get your jewellery back later -- Breretons charges 2pc per month on the amount advanced which will be around 30pc less than the purchase price, plus a transaction charge of €3.50 to €5 per item.

Irish Independent

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