In a recent inspection of gold-buying shops around Sydney, NSW Fair Trading identified 25 breaches of regulations. As we experienced in our shadow shop, NSW Fair Trading also noted a large variation in prices offered by different shops.
Gold-buying shops are usually regulated like pawnshops; in NSW, they need a second-hand-dealers’ licence that they’re required to display. The main breaches NSW Fair Trading uncovered related to record-keeping. Gold shops, as with all second-hand dealers, must ask sellers for ID, log the items they buy and keep these items for a specified period before resale (14 days in NSW, for example). A copy of all items bought is forwarded to the police to allow checking against lists of stolen goods.
This regulation partly aims to prevent the use of pawnshops and cash-for-gold shops by thieves as an easy way to dispose of items. Tip: Take photos of all your jewellery and keep them in a secure place, along with photos and a good description of each item. If your goods are stolen, the description and photos give police the best chance to trace them.
Consider an antique dealer
Shops buying gold usually have no interest in the brand, style or design of an item or what you originally paid for it, as they’re only going to melt it down. You may get a better price by selling certain items on eBay or visiting a specialist store such as an antique dealer.
Damian Kalmar, from Kalmar Antiques in Sydney, told CHOICE about a woman who came into his shop wanting to sell the movement from a pocket watch. Her sister-in-law had taken the watch to a gold-buying shop and sold the case for $600. The watch was made by the best watchmaker in Switzerland in the late 1800s and, had it been intact, would have been worth $5000; just the movement on its own, however, was worthless. “From a collector’s point of view, it was a crying shame they melted the case,” said Kalmar.
Negotiating is worth your while
When CHOICE staff member Lydia decided to sell an 18-carat Italian gold chain (weighing close to 30g) she’d been given as a present years earlier, she first got a quote from a gold store in the Sydney CBD for $450.
She decided this price was too low for the chain, which had been bought for about $2500, so she went to a pawnshop in her local area, where she was quoted between $500 and $600.
She then went to another pawnshop and said she would sell the chain if she was given $600. “After the assistant spoke with his manager, they told me that as the chain was heavy they would be able to give me the $600 I was after.”