Many don't follow state rules, regulations
If you've seen those sign twirlers standing on the sidewalk holding signs that say things like "We Buy Gold" and wondered if such stores are legitimate, the answer appears to be "yes and no".
The Arizona Department of Weights and Measures conducted recent inspections at dozens of gold-buying stores, and "compliance was pretty bad," according to the department's compliance director, Shawn Marquez.
For example, out of 50 scales that were inspected, fully one-third of them were out of compliance. In some cases, the scales were inaccurate. Some were not legal for trade. Some were missing the required tamper-proof seal. Still others were kept in the back room, out of sight of the customer.
"Normally, you would take your gold up to the front counter and they would weigh it in front of you," Marquez says. "But unfortunately, what we found in some cases was that people were taking your gold and weighing it in the back, which is against state regulations. You can't do that."
Other violations included failure to post the buying price that the store was paying for gold.
Marquez suggests that if you want to sell some gold, check out the stores ahead of time. You can check to see if they have had any complaints filed against them with the Better Business Bureau. Another option is to ask the store personnel to show you its license issued by the Department of Weights and Measures, which indicates the store has been inspected and is in compliance.
In all, at the 40 stores inspected, 11 were cited for non-compliance with state laws or regulations and fined a total of $8,400.
"I kind of call them fly-by-night gold-buying places," Marquez says, "because the locations that were there in the past were long gone."