Gold buyers targeted by CBS News investigation set up in Pooler

Gold buyers targeted by CBS News investigation set up in Pooler

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Selling your gold and jewelry? You better listen up. This week, a CBS News investigation zeroed in on a traveling, gold buying operation. Right now through Saturday, the same company is in Pooler.

The report started after complaint after complaint from consumers who say they were given a bad deal on the gold they sold.

People, some in need of quick cash, taking gold in to gold buyer events usually in rented hotel space, claim they were either lowballed on the actual price of their jewelry and heirlooms or, in some cases, as caught on video in this CBS, which you can read in full below, outright lied to.

In the report, at one location, using a hidden camera, $8,000 worth of loaned gold, real gold, was taken to a road show run under many different names by a company called THR and Associates.

"Half of what you have on the table here is copper," said the gold buyer in the video.

CBS reported, it was real gold. And it may be legal to not pay the best price, lying to you about the quality of your gold is not.

We showed the CBS report to the folks at Harlkeroad Jewelers in Savannah, who also buy gold and diamonds.

"It's very, very scary," Susan Games told WTOC.

They saw an advertisement in the local Savannah paper.

"It was a two page ad. Very impressive," she said.

They advertised a gold buying event in Pooler, under the name Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery, run by THR and Associates. Both names were prominently featured in the CBS report.

They promise the best value for your gold. WTOC decided to drop by their event in Pooler.

"I'm a field manager for this area," Blake Beyer told me when I introduced myself.

WTOC asked Beyer about the CBS Early Show report, which aired Wednesday morning, just a few hours before our visit.

"I've heard some stories too," he said.

He would not comment and said he *did mind* we were there.

"Anthony Enright is the gentleman to speak to," Beyer said.

CBS had already spoken with Enright, a THR spokesman.

"We're not in the business of lying to people," Enright told reporter Julie Watts.

It turns out that the company operates 120 traveling shows a week, under at least eight different names. The investigation showed, among other things, the company's own buying guide does instruct employees to make a first offer of $1.50 per pennyweight.

The going rate was more than 30 times that.

"Isn't that excessive," Watts asked.

"Ahh, ya know, it's absolutely legal," Enright replied.

Does he feel guilty?

"Do I feel guilty?" Enright repeated the question. "I'm not the one out there buying and doing those types of things."

After watching the story, Harkleroad's Jewelers has some words of warning.

"Sell your items locally to someone they can trust. Someone you can go to again and again," Games said. "Get it appraised first. Get more than one opinion. Do it with someone you know is the most important."

Also, do not accept a check from a gold or silver buyer who will be leaving town shortly. Get cash up front.

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.