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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ABC News investigative reporting on Cash 4 Gold

The following video investigates claims from three gold buyers who claim to pay top dollar for your unwanted gold jewelry. The truth is, none of them come close to paying out the most money for your gold.

KMG Gold buyers pays out 5 times more money for gold than cash 4 gold, 4 times more money for gold than dollars 4 gold, and three times money for gold than get gold cash.

KMG Gold buyers did our own competition analysis in July 2009. We sent gold that we had bought from our customers to cash 4 gold and cashforgoldusa to see how much they would pay.

KMG Gold buyers paid out 4 times more money for gold than cash 4 gold and 3 times more money for gold than cash for gold usa.

In June 2010, KMG Gold buyers raised our pay out rates again, making KMG Gold buyers the highest paying gold buyer. Paying 5 times more money than cash 4 gold!

See proof that KMG Gold buyers pays the most money for gold and the full results of our competition analysis HERE.



See proof that KMG Gold buyers pays the most money for gold and the full results of our competition analysis HERE.

Posted by Michael Gupton at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Monday, June 28, 2010

Want to sell your gold jewelry? Proceed carefully

Complaints prompt investigations, regulation of cash-for-gold firms

By Jennifer Waters, MarketWatch
Last Update: 7:36 PM ET May 12, 2010

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- As gold prices touch record levels, consumers itching to cash in their gold jewelry should do so with caution: Gold diggers are around every corner.

A crop of cash-for-gold companies have generated a bevy of consumer complaints that have led to at least one civil investigation, a class-action lawsuit and a bill in Congress to regulate mail-order gold buyers. A congressional hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

"Reselling your gold is a total 'caveat emptor' situation," said Ben Popken, co-managing editor of The Consumerist, which is owned by Consumers Union, the nonprofit organization that publishes Consumer Reports. "You need to make sure you shop around, and if you don't like the appraisal you can walk out with the gold in your hands."

The price of gold closed Wednesday at $1,243.10 an ounce, the loftiest level since futures began trading in 1974, according to FactSet. In the past year, it has spiked some 36%. Since the beginning of 2010 alone, prices rose 13%.

That soaring price coupled with a recession that has left millions jobless and desperate for cash spawned new types of gold trading posts, including mail-order companies and home parties.

Mail-order companies typically promise consumers big bucks -- enough to pay for once-in-a-lifetime vacations, for example -- if they mail in their unused gold in a postage-paid envelope, sometimes called a gold kit.

Home parties tend to be neighborhood gatherings in which a gold representative, with a gold scale and other measuring tools, from a local company or mail-order firm is on hand to quantify your jewelry and dole out cash.

How gold is your gold?

Sounds simple enough, but the problem is not all gold is equal and gold prices change each day, even each moment when trading is underway. Valuing gold in such an assembly-like manner is risky.

"Not all gold is actually gold and many consumers don't know that," said Randy Cohen, co-owner of Royal Jewelers and Loans in Chicago. "A lot of times they think they have something that's worth a lot but it's not.

"And sometimes people will tell consumers that their gold's not real or not worth as much as it really is," he said. "That happens every day now because gold is so high."

A rule of thumb is that the lower the karat, the less gold there is. Gold that is 24 karat is 100% gold, but is too soft for jewelry. Fine jewelry tends to carry 18 karats.

Remember, too, that not all 14-karat gold necklaces, for example, are all gold. They're often mixed in with other metals, reducing their value. If the piece is tarnished, rusted or corroded, it's not pure gold.

Michael Pace, vice president of U.S. marketing for the World Gold Council, encourages consumers to educate themselves on gold and on what they have. The Gold Council's site, Gold.org, has a number of places to learn about gold and gold trends. Other sites, such as TheBullionDesk.com and GoldEagle.com, offer information about the market for gold. BlueNile.com has a jewelry education tab on its site.

Pace said consumers might want to think twice about selling their gold pieces. "There are many good reasons to keep gold at the moment," he said. "The prices will continue to go up and gold is a very good long-term investment."

And don't underestimate the sentimental value of Grandma's brooch or Dad's wedding ring. "Many people can regret that they sold those pieces," Pace said.

Get a second, and third, opinion

If you're going to sell, learn first about gold and then price shop until you're satisfied with what you're getting. The Better Business Bureau suggests two or three appraisals before you sell.

The BBB also warns consumers not to confuse retail prices with wholesale prices. Pieces are not generally pure gold and are marked up considerably when they're sold at a jewelry store.

"If gold is worth $1,000 an ounce, you aren't going to get paid $1,000 for every ounce of gold you have," according to the BBB. "The ounce quote is for pure gold only."

Pawn shops, most of which are regulated by their state and local governments, are likely to offer the highest price because they're able to sell the piece as is. Expect to receive 85% to 95% of the spot gold price on the day you're selling it.

The Consumerist ran a mystery-shopping test on a handful of mail-order firms and found them returning only 11% to 20% of the so-called "melt value."

"That comes as quite a shock to customers," Popken said. "Their advertising suggests that you can be taking the vacation of your dreams from the gold you [sell] ...but then they get a check back for $9."

Cohen said he can offer 95% of the spot price because he turns around and puts the piece on sale. A jeweler might offer less because he has to remake the piece. If the gold is going to be melted, any stones in the piece have to be taken out and the cost of that labor is deducted from what you get.

If you choose to go the mail-order route, do your homework on the company and be sure you know what their policies for reimbursements and guarantees if pieces are lost or stolen.

Florida-based Cash4Gold, the largest mail-order firm, used famous bankrupt personalities MC Hammer and Ed McMahon, when he was alive, to promote business during a 2009 Super Bowl ad and on cable stations.

But consumers have filed a number of complaints against Cash4Gold, leading the Florida attorney general's office to open an investigation.

"There is a pattern of complaints from consumers who allege that they are not paid nearly enough for the gold they send to Cash4 Gold, some checks are as small as 7 cents," according to the filing.

A class-action lawsuit was filed in California in October on behalf of consumers who said their jewelry was either lost or stolen or that their checks were mailed too late for them to get their jewelry back within the return-policy period.

All this prompted Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, to introduce the Guarantee of a Legitimate Deal Act, or GOLD Act, to regulate mail-order firms.

The act, which Cash4Gold supports, gets its first hearing at the House subcommittee of commerce, trade and consumer protection on Thursday.

"The secondary melting industry is like the Wild West," Popken said. "There definitely needs to be more protection for consumers."

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Posted by Michael Gupton at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

To Buy Or Not To Buy in Gyrating Precious Metals Market

“With recent gold market fluctuations, even investors are puzzled whether it’s now the best time to buy gold or sell gold,” says precious metals expert Michael Gupton, MA Eng. and KMG Environmental President. 

Last July, gold prices stabilized at $902 an ounce, and are now hovering at $1,200 an ounce, after reaching record highs in the past few weeks.

“With the recent flux in gold prices in response to the falling Euro, many people are uncertain. I believe that gold still has good momentum and that we have not seen the ceiling yet. As long as the Euro debt-crisis is unresolved, gold prices can edge upward,” Gupton predicted.

So should people be gold-buying and hanging onto their old jewels and Grandpa’s gold teeth? Or is it time to sell the trinkets in the gold rush?

Gupton, who’s been a gold prospector since 1983 and has worked in gold and diamond mines, believes that there’s no need to panic. He says that commodities -- such as gold, silver or platinum – are a safe-haven investment to rely on.

“It can work both ways. If you are the investor type, now is an interesting time to become a bit of a scavenger like I was as a kid, rolling through thrift stores and scouring classified ads buying gold. I still do that, but now I also gold hunt on Craigslist for anything from broken gold earrings and rare platinum to industrial trash, photographic silver, and dental gold,” he commented.

“One option is to stockpile resources by buying people’s unwanted gold jewellery, especially pieces from India, Pakistan, Thailand and China. These countries have some of the world’s finest and purest gold jewelry

“If someone is on the selling side and wants to have a gold party to say goodbye to old promise rings and other unwanted jewellery, recycling them into cash, they can now make a significant profit, especially so, because we offer payout rates five times higher than our competitors,” he added. 

Gupton cautioned that while gold jewellery can now fetch a higher price, most manufacturers ‘under carat’ jewelry for a quick sale and higher margins, leaving sellers with less cash in the long run. As always – it’s buyer beware.

He emphasized that KMG, a gold refiner, is certified in gold testing high karat jewellery. He says that within a day, his company will analyze contents sent to them to tell if ‘Grandmother’s tea service is junk, plated or the real thing’. Once the gold value appraisal is done, sellers can decide whether to take cash or place their metal in their pool account.

Gupton likened the process to investing in the stock market.

“If a customer wishes to recycle their gold or silver items, but the market is low on the day we receive them, the customer has the option to place their pure metal in their pool account for sale at a later date when prices are higher. Customers are in control of their investment and are one click away from selling or buying, with no processing delays,” he says.

When asked how customers can trust shipping their gold to a stranger, Gupton talked about his SecureShipTM program which is an easy, fast and safe method to ship items through an insured overnight carrier. 

Customers can also drop off metal for recycling at our retail affiliate locations all across Canada.

He says that the Gold Affiliate Program is there to heighten customer service but also to offer enterprising retailers a chance to make commissions as gold buyers and become an important link in the gold recycling chain. Gupton says that he is now prospecting for affiliate program members ranging from large department stores to local laundromats.

To share his wealth of info on metals recycling, Gupton is now developing a Gold Buyers Secrets website with webinars and instructional videos, including how to test for gold. His goal is to create a certified gold buyer program and to promote the environmental benefits of gold recycling.

For more information on Gold Buyers Secrets, visit:www.goldbuyersecrets.ca.
Posted by Michael Gupton at 12:00 AM 0 Comments