Website Cash4Gold.co.uk has been warned by the Advertising Standards Authority that one recent advert was misleading - because it insinuated that people would get more from selling their gold through the firm than was actually on offer.
So what did the firm do wrong, and how can you get a good price for selling your gold?
The advertThe advert in question was promoting a Cash For Gold Calculator on the website. It said "What is your gold worth?" and allowed customers to enter the weight and carat of their gold to be given a price figure.
It also included a section with the headline: "What Are Your Current Gold Prices?" which listed various prices for different carats of gold. Text underneath stated "*The gold price changes daily and so does the price we pay. We always keep inline with the market price so if the gold goes up we pay more!"
After sending their gold into the website, one consumer was shocked to find that the sum they received for their gold was far less than had been shown on the calculator, so they complained that the advert had been misleading.
MisleadingThe Advertising Standards Authority agreed. It said: "Consumers were likely to understand that the figure given by the gold calculator was an approximate one, and may not tally exactly with the price offered for their gold. However, we also considered they would expect the figure given by the calculator, and the listed prices for gold, to be close to the amount offered to most consumers sending in that carat of gold. As we had not been provided with any evidence this was the case, we concluded the gold calculator and listed prices for gold were misleading."
It demanded that the advert must be changed, so that it no longer stated or implied that the listed prices would be close to the amount offered to most customers - unless they could prove it was true.
Falling pricesThe complaint is a reflection of the fact that people are receiving less for their second-hand gold than previously. Henry Lancaster, Senior Investment Analyst at Coutts, says that the price of gold has been falling slightly for the past year, as demand from India and China has dropped, and the demand for jewellery has fallen 13%. There has been a brief rally recently, but the movement of the dollar against the rupee has made gold expensive in India, and hit demand hard.
He expects the price to start increasing again, as central banks buy more gold, but in the interim, sellers have been receiving less for their old gold.
Get moreThe advice from the experts is to think carefully how you sell your gold. It pays to understand what you have before you sell. You need to know the karat before you know how much it is worth when sold on. You also need to know whether the designer is well-known or popular. If you have a designer piece, it may be worth more when sold as second-hand jewellery rather than melted down and sold for its gold.
And finally, you need to shop around. Take it to a reputable jeweller, try a jewellery party, and if you send it away to a mail-away service, bear in mind that you really don't have to accept their offer. There's no guarantee of who is most likely to offer you the most value for your gold, but if you are going to part with your jewellery, you need to be sure you are getting good value for it.