Attorney General urges consumers to use caution when selling gold

With gold at record prices, Attorney General Marty Jackley and the State Department of Public Safety urge South Dakota residents to use due diligence before selling gold coins, rings, watches or other items.

The high gold prices have greatly increased activity by both buyers of precious metals and citizens interested in earning some cash by selling jewelry and other pieces containing gold. The situation may offer opportunities for a consumer to make money, but basic rules of common sense should be used in the transactions, Jackley said.

"It makes good sense to work with a buyer you know or have researched,'' Jackley said. "If you don't know the buyer, try to get at least two separate offers before agreeing to a sale. Don't be afraid to ask questions. A reputable buyer won't be afraid to answer them.''

The gold boom has prompted some buyers to set up shop in a hotel or motel for weeks at a time. Others may move through neighborhoods, offering to buy gold items, said David Pfahler, Director of Weights and Measures in the Public Safety Department.

"It is important to know that any scales being used to weigh the gold have been inspected and approved for weighing precious metals,'' Pfahler said. "The best advice in any transaction of this nature is to move cautiously, ask a lot of questions and protect yourself first.''

Here are a few suggestions when considering a sale of gold or other precious metal:

  • Evaluate any offers and take your time.
  • Get written estimates from at least two dealers that identify the items and their value in detail.
  • Closely observe all scale use. The scale should be level and indicate "zero'' before weighing begins. Observe the weight displayed and compare it to any other value information.
  •  Sell to reputable dealers and get a receipt with contact information.

If you have questions, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or consumerhelp@state.sd.us, or call the Office of Weights and Measures at (605) 773-3697.

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