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February 26, 2022

Can those “we’ll buy your gold!” ads be believed?

With the price of gold hovering around $1,100, ads trumpeting promises of quick dollars in exchange for bits of old gold jewelery have become a staple on late-night television.

Companies like Broken Gold and Cash4Gold invite viewers to send their unwanted gold along. In return, the ads say, they’ll provide you with a quick appraisal of the value of the items on offer and then send you a cheque in a matter of days. 

Good deal? Of course not, say Consumer Reports. 

The magazine’s mystery shoppers sent identical items to three such gold buyers last year, matching them up with a selection of jewelery stores and pawn shops across the U.S. The cash-for-gold companies paid 11 to 29% of the day's market price for gold; the other venues, about 35 to 70%, CR maintains.  

You’ll do way better by going local, claims Matthew MacQuarrie, president of Recycle Frog, an Ottawa-based company that’s trying to take the gold-for-cash business out of the realm of TV hucksters and pawnbrokers and into local homes.  

Recycle Frog, which makes house calls and gets customers to witness the entire transaction, claims to offer its clients roughly 70% of the appraised value, some of which has been finding its way into the coffers of local charities.

Recycle Frog recently partnered with Ottawa's Christmas Exchange during a recent fundraising drive, giving a portion of both its profit and the customer’s payout to the cause. On a $100 item the owner would see $65 and the charity $10, with the company keeping the rest.

Seems fair.

Have you turned any gold into cash? Did you go local? Did you strike a good deal?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...