Are women being ripped off by gold buyers? -

Are women being ripped off by gold buyers?

These days, gold is selling for more than ever. So who's really paying top dollar for it?

Do race or gender have anything to do with the price you get when you sell it? America Now went undercover to find out.

If you're going to sell your gold, you obviously want to get the best price. But you have to be careful.

"Considering how much the price of gold is right now, I thought I'd get more back than I did," said Lori Hansen of Ohio, who was selling her gold.

She knew gold is at an all-time high, meaning her old class ring and broken chain could be worth some serious cash.

But did she get ripped off because she's a woman?

"No, not at all," she said.

Think again.

"Women that go to different places are going to find a lot of times they are getting paid less than a man would at the same place with the same type of jewelry," said Jon Saylor with JS Gold and Coin. "It should be based on what it is - the weight, the carat - these are the things it should be based on."

But more often then not, it's not.

We took the some old pieces of jewelry to five different businesses that buy gold. The pieces were in two separate bags, and weigh the same. Our undercover team took the gold to pawn shops and high-end jewelry stores to test the claim of a gender-based offer.

The jewelry we gave to our investigators consisted of a ring, a few bracelets and several necklaces. At the time of this report, each bag was valued at $3,500.

When our female undercover producer went in, she was offered between $1,500 and more than $2,800 for the same bag of jewelry.

Our male producer went into the same stores about an hour later and the prices varied based on the shop. But in every instance, our male investigator received a better price on his gold. On average, it was $300 more than our female producer's offers.

In once case, our male producer was offered $3,200 for his jewelry bag, when our female producer was offered $1,600 for the same weight of jewelry in the same store.

Saylor says our findings show a disturbing, yet not surprising trend.

"You're going to find the same holds for race," he said. "Race people get paid different, gender they get paid different and this has been going on a long time and it's disgusting. It really is."

Saylor also says our report shows why it makes sense to get several quotes before you sell.

"We base all of our offers on what is on the table and that is all we base it on," he said.

Here's a breakdown of what we were offered for our gold worth $3,500:

  • The highest offer we got overall was around $3,000 for both of our undercover producers. It came from what some would call a plain and industrial pawn shop, not the high-end jewelry store.
  • The low price of an average of $1,600 for both our investigators came from an older, established gold shop, meaning we found that gold shop appearance has nothing to do with getting the best price for your bling.

So what do you need to know if you plan to cash in on the high price of gold?

  • Know that the price of gold fluctuates.
  • Know exactly what you're selling before you try to sell it. Know what carat your gold is and how much it weighs. An appraiser can usually tell you that.
  • Get multiple offers before you sell.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All Rights Reserved.

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