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Norfolk people targeted by unscrupulous gold dealers

PUBLISHED: 12:00 31 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:56 01 July 2010

Sarah Hall

Unscrupulous gold dealers are cashing in on the recession by using underhand methods to rip off Norfolk people who are selling jewellery, watchdogs have warned.

Unscrupulous gold dealers are cashing in on the recession by using underhand methods to rip off Norfolk people who are selling jewellery, watchdogs have warned.

Trading Standards is cracking down on gold selling events in hotels, shopping malls and other venues across the county - and found almost 90pc of the weighing scales tested were inaccurate.

The economic uncertainty and low interest rates have pushed the price of gold to its highest level in 15 years and traders are promoting this as the best time to make the most money from selling unwanted jewellery at the highest prices ever.

But Trading Standards bosses have been visiting the 'one-day events' to check business practices and take action against those breaking the law.

David Collinson, assistant director, public protection, said: “We want to make sure Norfolk residents who choose to sell jewellery get a fair price for it.

“Unscrupulous dealers can be very persuasive and in a face-to-face situation at a public venue, people may find it difficult to say no.”

In their crackdown, officers found some dealers were using underhand methods on unsuspecting sellers keen to get a quick cash return on their jewellery.

They found 86pc of weighing scales tested at the events were found to be incorrect - leading to incorrect and misleading valuations.

Many traders were failing to follow basic requirements such as using high accuracy scales, displaying a sign detailing hallmarks used to calculate the market value of scrap gold or including their business name on paperwork given to consumers.

Mr Collinson said: “One trader, who was found not to be using scales at all, told us he gave valuations based on his '25 years' experience'.

“While there is no legal requirement to use scales to work out the value of gold, it may make it difficult for sellers to decide whether they have a good deal.

“We recommend sellers use well established traders, shop around for the best deal and not be afraid to say no.”

He added the World Gold Council had a calculation on its website at www.gold.org, which can help sellers work out the price of gold.

Have Trading Standards helped you combat a con artist? Tell us your story by calling reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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