It looks like the Office of Fair Trading might finally have got the message, as they’re going to start investigating the behaviour of the growing number of companies buying up gold, often for a value well below its market value.
You can’t have failed to notice the tacky adverts (see below for an example), and there’s even a few celebrities who have been enticed in to promote the services:
Dale Winton’s doing one of those “Post us your gold” ads. I can’t work out who is more cheapened by it. Winton or the concept of gold. (@RufusHound)
Regular readers of Money Watch will be all too aware of the problems with one such company, Money4Gold, which created hundreds of comments from disgruntled customers, and which also spilled over into a forum. Thankfully many of the cases were eventually cleared up, but not without a lot of effort on the customers behalf.
Whilst the OFT is making no assumptions that the firms have broken the law, it is looking into whether the gold buying industry is operating fairly for the customer – I think we can give them a fair bit of evidence that they’re not.
UPDATE 22/01/2010: Thanks to Sharon for pointing out that the OFT cannot help in individual cases, but is looking for feedback from consumers about their experiences with the postal gold companies, via their website: www.oft.gov.uk/goldpost
Separately, Which? has described the postal gold companies as “shockingly” bad value, and has said they have serious concerns that this unregulated industry isn’t treating customers fairly.
Now, that ad I promised, which shows just how tacky these sorts of companies can get:
photo credit: BullionVault
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