Encouraging people to sell 'Old Gold' is an increasingly popular business in these hard times and I see that 'Which' magazine, has revealed that the public are being ripped-off by advertisements in the press and on TV offering good value for items of jewellery.
The Daily Mail reports "The Which? Money magazine picked out three items of jewellery on the high street, a £115 bracelet, £215 bangle and £399 necklace, and purchased four of each. In November 2009 it sent them to four TV gold buyers, as well as getting quotes from three high street pawnbrokers and three jewellers.
CashMyGold offered the lowest prices on all three items, offering just £38.57 in total for the three pieces.
The firm offered just under £10 for the 9ct gold bangle. This compared to a scrap metal price quote of £54 from an independent jeweller. In one instance, Money4Gold told a Which? Money researcher that a 9ct necklace he bought for £399 was 'not gold' and it would cost him £10.95 to have it returned."
The salient paragraph in the 'Which' report is: 'Companies that encourage people to sell their unwanted gold by post are offering consumers shockingly bad value and should be avoided.'
Here in Thanet, I've also read warnings over a number of new, so-called, debt advice agencies operating in the area, taking advantage of the recession and the post-Christmas financial crisis among many hard-pressed families. The Citizens Advice Bureau is invariably the best place to start for impartial advice for many people and doorstep salesman and seemingly attractive offers through the post should best be avoided. Sadly however, getting to the people who need the best advice about such matters is frequently one of the most difficult tasks for the agencies involved.
We heard from the Prime Minister yesterday how unemployment has fallen from the first time since the recession began but the Total Politics website takes a less rosy view of yesterday's figures, reporting:
"A less superficial reading of today’s employment figures suggests that there are some tell-tell signs that the economic crisis is far from over and is becoming increasingly entrenched. The employment rate (the percentage of the labour force in work) was down 0.1 per cent to 72.4, the lowest since before Labour came to power in 1997. Full time employment fell massively by 113,000, counteracted by a rise in part-time employment of 99,000 to a record high of 7.71 million.
What this tends to reveal is that people are making do with incredibly tough circumstances by going into part-time or self-employed work. In total there were 1.03 million employees and self-employed people working part times because they could not find a full-time job, the highest since records began for this statistic in 1992. This will have a knock on effect as part-time work leaves people will less money to spend on non-essentials."
All that glitters most brightly in politics and statistics isn't always Gold!