THE Consumer Council of Fiji has come out strong against a foreign company they claim are practising double standards when buying gold from customers.
Secured Gold and Silver Buyers Limited (SGB), traders of gold, silver and platinum has been operating in Suva, Nadi and Labasa recently buying unwanted, new, old and broken jewellery.
This "enticing" offer, the council claims, has resulted in a variation of prices offered by the company for particular gold products.
"There is a variation in the price of 3.4 grams of 18ct gold offered by this company in the Central and Western divisions. The company offered $130 in Suva and $95 in Nadi for the 3.4g of 18ct gold jewellery," council chief executive officer Premila Kumar said.
The council said various offers from local stores for the same product ranged from $102 to $340.
"Consumers are advised to tread carefully with caution when responding to advertisements from gold buyers," she said.
"In the last five years, the council received 41 complaints against goldsmiths. Consumers need to know that there is no such thing as 'old' or 'new' gold. Gullible consumers are often duped by traders when they take their old jewelleries either to be traded in or sold for cash at jewellery shops.
"Traders smartly but falsely inform consumers that since the jewellery is old, it will be traded at a lower price. This is unacceptable because gold stays as gold and there is no issue of it being old or new. The traders are well aware that the price of gold is at its peak in the global market."
Meanwhile, SGB chief executive officer Ryan Knott told The Fiji Times they had stringent measures in place to ensure customers understood the trade transactions taking place.
Speaking from the United States, Mr Knott said it was not just about making a quick buck. He said it was also an educational process for customers because they had staff on hand to carryout instant testing and grading of merchandise.
"The calibration and certification are done in their presence so they can see the value of what they're brought to us," he said. The company has over 300 markets worldwide 'smelting' or melting unused gold, silver and platinum products among other operations.