When the times are tough, like they are today, a lot us try think of some ways to raise a little extra cash. Garage and yard sales are the tried-and-true, classic examples. However, one of the hottest selling items today is "old" gold. With the economic downturn and huge upswing in the price of gold happening almost at the same, gold dealers are on the radio, television, and internet offering to buy it. And at "top" prices. For cash-strapped consumers, it's hard to resist a cash offer for broken gold jewelry, or things you haven't worn in years.
Don't be so quick to jump into the gold market head first, though. A new lawsuit against the dealer "Cash4Gold" shows you need to be careful. You may not get that quick and easy pay day you were expecting, and you could lose your gold altogether.
You've probably seen or heard Cash4Gold's advertisements. They make it sound like an easy way to get some cash. All you do is ask for of one their special mailing packages, send them your gold, and they'll mail you a check after they test, evaluate, and weigh your gold. The company even has a guarantee: If you don't think your gold was fairly evaluated, you can return the check or call the company within 12 days of the date on the check, and the company will return your gold to you. Sounds like a good deal, right?
Not according to some consumers who tried to do business with Cash4Gold. Elizabeth Kirts and Rachel Bernhardt are "representative plaintiffs" in a class action lawsuit recently filed in a federal court in California. The suit claims that Cash4Gold commits fraud, and essentially "steals" the gold sent to it by either:
- Claiming the gold was lost in the mail and was never delivered to or received by the company. The company, it's alleged, keeps the gold without paying for it
- Making sure the consumer's check for payment of the gold isn't delivered until after the 12-day guarantee period has run out. By that time, the lawsuit claims, Cash4Gold has already melted the jewelry, and so it can't be returned. The complaint also claims that the company underpays for the gold, but the consumer has no choice but to accept the check because the 12-day return period has expired
The suit claims that Cash4Gold has broken several California and federal consumer fraud laws, and other laws as well. It asks for damages, including the repayment for gold taken by it and punitive damages.