Smart Consumer: A golden opportunity for burglars to cash in
Ger Cawley contacted Smart Consumer about last week's article on selling unwanted gold for cash.
She writes "unfortunately it is a ready outlet for burglars to cash in at the expense of others. For most people this jewellery means much more to them than its monetary value. In one town for example, the average number of house robberies for a six month period has occurred in the last six weeks and gold jewellery is the target."
There has been a real increase in the number of people selling their jewellery, and Ger is not along in worrying about the ease at which gold can be sold for cash are shared by others.
Back in January Fine Gael Senator John Paul Phelan issued two press releases about this and he plans to introduce a bill to the Seanad which aims to regulate the business.
He said "I've spoken to several elderly constituents who fear that the allure of cash for jewellery will leave them even more vulnerable and more exposed to attack."
Dr Greg Heaslip, Director of TheGoldRetriever.com would welcome the regulation of the industry. He says "we have had to deal with many different types of customer -- a small percentage of whom may be unsavoury. It has been our experience that this type of seller looks for cash payments only."
Dr Heaslips believes that providing payment by cheque only is the biggest deterrent to criminals in addition to the traceability provided by using the postal service.
Q Mary from Dublin contacted Smart Consumer about closing her credit card account with Halifax. As she already has another credit card account in a different bank, she just wants to close that account but understands that she will have to pay an 'exit fee' of €30.
In addition Mary says that she would also have to pay the government duty of €30 if she closes the account after the end of March, as this duty is payable after April 1, so she reckons the smart move is to close the account before then.
She wants to know what the 'exit fee' is and if she has to pay it.
A Firstly, the Irish Bankers Federation has confirmed that there is no 'exit fee' associated with closing credit card accounts.
However, Government duty of €30 is payable each year after April 1 on your credit card. The fee is taken for the preceding year and this means that Mary will have to pay the €30 Government duty whenever she closes the account, for the year April 2009 to April 2010.
If Mary keeps the account open after April then she is entering a new year in terms of duty payment. This means that if Mary waits until May to close the account she will have to pay two years worth of duty (€60).