State to gold sellers: Avoid 'roadshows'
MADISON A state agency is urging caution for those seeking to sell heirlooms, coins and jewelry after people in Elkhorn and elsewhere complained of checks that bounced.
The state Consumer Protection Bureau reports "a handful" of complaints about THR & Associates, an Illinois-based company that buys goods from consumers at events in hotels and conference centers nationwide.
People have complained about bounced checks they received for items they sold to the company at events in Elkhorn and Prairie du Chien, according to a news release.
The news release came out last week, but CBS News reported in August that THR & Associates had been shut down and was the focus of several state and federal investigations.
It was not immediately clear when the Wisconsin gold-buying shows took place.
Consumers who received bad checks or believe they were otherwise defrauded after attending THR & Associates events in Wisconsin are asked to file a written complaint with the state agency.
To download a complaint form or file a complaint online, visit datcp.wi.gov.
"Given gold's continuing rise, the resale industry will likely remain popular for some time," according to the news release. "The safest bet for getting your money's worth for your items and avoiding a scam is to sell your goods to a local business with an established track record, rather than to a buyer at a roadshow."
The bureau offers these gold-selling tips:
-- Shop around. Visit at least two stores in one day and compare offers to guarantee that the best price.
-- Exercise your right to observe the weighing of your gold. The price is based on the purity, or karat, and weight. Make sure the scale has been inspected and sealed by a state or city sealer and approved for weighing precious metals. The scale should be level and read "zero."
-- If you know the karat weight of your item, verify that it matches the buyer's estimate.
-- Buyers might use acid to determine the gold's purity. Ask what kind of acid is being used and whether it is appropriate for your gold.
-- Get written estimates that include details of the items and their worth.
-- Verify the weight and karat value on the receipt matches the weight on the scale and results of the acid test.
For more information, visit the state Consumer Protection Bureau at datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an email to email@example.com, or call the consumer hot line toll-free at 800-422-7128.