That’s a Bad Plan, Dude

That’s a Bad Plan, Dude from Schiff Gold

There are certain things I see and I automatically think, “That’s a bad plan, dude.”

For instance, when I see a sign taped to a light pole that reads, “I’ll buy your house for cash!” scrawled in magic marker, I think, “That’s a bad plan, dude.”

Or, when I answer the phone and some guy with a thick Indian accent tells me his name is “Bob” and he needs access to my computer so he can “fix my Windows,” I think, “That’s a bad plan, dude.”

And when some outfit rolls into town, sets up shop at a cheap motel for two days and promises to give me “the best price” for my gold and silver. I think, “That’s a bad plan, dude.”

No. I’m not going to sell my house to a guy with posterboard and a magic marker. I’m not going to let Bob into my computer. And I’m not going to sell my gold at a traveling road show at some sleazy motel.

Apparently, this traveling gold-buying setup is a real thing. Back during the fall, a San Francisco TV station did a report on an outfit called Huntington Rare Coins and Precious Metals. Apparently, these guys travel around California, set up at a local motel and then paper the town with brochures offering a “2-day only” opportunity to get “instant cash” for your valuables.

An enterprising reporter at KPIX thought that sounded a little scammy. So, she talked a local jeweler into lending her $6,000 worth of gold, plus some costume jewelry to put the traveling road show to the test. With hidden cameras running, the reporter went to the local motel and got quotes for the jewelry from the good folks at Huntington Rare Coins and Precious Metals, then compared it with quotes from local dealers.

Now, this is going to shock you. The guys set up at the motel offered substantially less for the gold than most of the local dealers. Huntington offered about 47% of the gold’s actual value, compared to the locals, who offered upwards of 87%.

There was one scammy local guy. I guess there always is. He took the gold in the back, out of sight of the customer. A few minutes later, he came back with a bulk offer for all the gold, including the costume jewelry. He said he would have to charge a $75 appraisal fee to offer a value on each piece. That made me think, “That’s a bad plan, dude.”

One of the local dealers made a pretty good point about the traveling roadshow gold buyers.

When they come to hotels or other venues they know they are never going to see you again.”

I have to throw in this little side-note. The ad that ran before the KPIX report on scammy gold dealers was about a one-day seminar at some hotel that will teach you how to “make millions” in the San Francisco real estate market. That’s a bad plan, dude.

Anyway, I did a little Google search and learned this traveling gold-buying show isn’t just a California thing. Back in 2012, a Texas TV station did a report about people getting scammed by one of the largest traveling gold-buying operations in the country. The company was operating under different names such as “Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery” or “Treasure Hunters Roadshow.”

We compiled complaints from across the country, mostly from seniors. They include a 71-year-old in West Virginia and an 88-year-old on the Canadian border. Both are grandmothers desperate for cash, selling family heirlooms for pennies on the dollar.”

That company was ultimately shut down. There were no reports of the dirt-bags running it getting punched in the face, but that would seem fitting as well. Sadly, there is no shortage of shady characters out there. And they will keep doing their thing as long as there are people that can’t hear that little voice saying, “That’s a bad plan, dude.”

We buy gold at SchiffGold. But we don’t set up at sleazy motels. In fact, we view the decision to sell precious metals as seriously as the decision to buy. Our precious metals specialists can help you determine the market value of your gold investments and advise you on how to sell them when you’re ready to make that move. All you have to do is call 1-888-GOLD-160. SchiffGold is dedicated to fair service and honest dealing at every stage of precious metals investing. That, my friends, is not a bad plan.

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and the economy, and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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Peter Schiff

Mr. Schiff began his investment career as a financial consultant with Shearson Lehman Brothers, after having earned a degree in finance and accounting from U.C. Berkeley in 1987. A financial professional for more than twenty years, he joined Euro Pacific in 1996 and served as its President until December 2010, when he became CEO. An expert on money, economic theory, and international investing, he is a highly sought after speaker at conferences and symposia around the world. He served as an economic advisor to the 2008 Ron Paul presidential campaign and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut in 2010.