Monday, March 23, 2009

Cash4Gold Responds to Blogs

Several weeks ago on this blog, we responded to an October 2008 post from an anonymous person claiming to be a former employee of Cash4Gold. The posting was false and defamatory, and we responded appropriately to each of the claims.

Since then, several blogs have taken the original 2008 blog and attempted to spin it into a new story.

It used to be that when an anonymous person made false, defamatory and vicious claims, it was dismissed as a poison pen letter. Now that passes for discourse on the web. Almost every single claim that posting makes is false and malicious.

With that in mind, it is also important to take all accusations seriously, address them accurately, and ensure that the public is aware of the facts.

Let's take these one by one.

Claim: "1. The 'refiner's pack' that is used for you to put your jewelry is 'insured for UP TO 100 dollars,' according to how much they determine from a description from you, the worth of your items to be, NOT an actual fully researched appraisal."

The Truth: This is correct. Cash4Gold is not able to make an accurate appraisal until the material has been shipped and examined. The customers are encouraged to purchase more insurance at the post office if they feel their gold is worth more than $100.

Claim: "2. We receive your 'Refiner's Pack' within 3-4 days, BUT we are instructed to tell you that it takes '7-10 business days', for us to receive your pack, ALTHOUGH many times, your package has already arrived."

The Truth: At no time would a Cash4Gold customer service representative tell a customer that their pack had not yet arrived if it was in stock. It is common for any business to allow for 7-10 business days for shipping to set expectations. Of course, any package may and should arrive prior to that, and if a customer called about such a received package prior to the expiration of that 7-10 days, the rep would have record of that package that they would share with the customer.

Claim: "3. Your jewelry gets appraised by hand, a magnifying glass, a plastic container, a small weight pad, and a bottle of ORANGISH fluid, which your items are then determined a value for. Not million dollar equipment or specially trained jewelry experts. The company was temporarily closed recently due to health and code violations. I have witness testers being transported to Medical Centers, due to the testing department environment. There is literally a cloud of smoke in the air from acid and other testing material..."

The Truth: This is entirely false. The refinery and testing facility are A rated by OSHA for being a safe environment. All employees in these facilities are dressed in scrubs, the environment is clean and sterile, and the equipment is indeed state of the art. In the interests of full disclosure, an article will follow taking prospective customers on a virtual tour of these facilities.

Cash4Gold appraisers use three testing methods to verify the gold content of your material. A blog entry was recently written which describes this process in detail.

Claim: "4. Although the payment (check) for your item is dated within 24 hrs of testing your jewelry, we SOMETIMES DO NOT actually send out the check until up to 3-4 days later..."

The Truth: All checks are dated the day they are sent out. An audit was done and all 10 day periods began on the date the checks were sent. All of them. 100%.

Claim: "5. We do offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee or your jewelry returned, BUT THE CATCH IS, that the guarantee is to contact us within 10 DAYS from when your check is DATED. (This begins with the time it took for the accounts payables dept. to ISSUE the check and also including the TRANSIT TIME for you to receive your check in the mail... If you request (sign) for FAST CASH (direct deposit) you automatically WAIVE your rights to have your items returned, EVEN if you are not satisfied with amount of your deposit."

The Truth: Two items to address here. The 10 days does begin the day that the check is sent out. However, by law Cash4Gold must provide up to 12 days. The 10 days is indicated to encourage customers to have it taken care of quickly, but the 12 days is recognized. It should also be noted that the 12-day period stops once a customer contacts Cash4Gold, requesting that their material be returned. Their material is then held until the check is received back from the customer.

It is true that a customer waives the return policy if they select the FastCash method. However, this is clear on the FastCash promotional page. There is no fine print, it isn't at the bottom of the page, and it isn't hidden in a legal document. It clearly indicates in the middle of the promo: "**By using the Cash4Gold FastCash program, you agree that you waive the 10-day return policy for all material." Additionally, customers must submit a blank check and sign a form that clearly states that they are waiving this return policy. The customer signs up for this option because time is of the essence to them.

Claim: "6. You generally receive your check around the '7th-10th' business day, AND majority of the time Customers are outraged when they lay eyes on the amount of their check. Some Customer's even receive a check for 0.01 cents."

The Truth: As stated in the response to #5, the 10 day (which is actually 12) period begins on the day the check is sent. Mail can take up to 7-10 days for delivery, but in most cases it is much less. Even if the mail were to take 7-10 days, the customer has a full 12 days to contact Cash4Gold to ask for their material to be returned.

Regarding the amount of payment received, it all depends on what is sent. Cash4Gold receives many items that are of little or no value -- whether known or unknown to the customer. Additionally, the only value to Cash4Gold is in the material's gold content. Since the company is a full service refinery, the material is melted down -- craftsmanship does not add value.

In an effort to educate the consumer, a blog entry was written explaining some of the misconceptions about the appraisal process. Some consumers have been misinformed about the true value of their jewelry.

If a customer is unhappy with their check, they have every right to ask for their material back. They can request by phone or e-mail. More than 93% of customers accept the check.

Claim: "7. There have been times when we have received your package and MISPLACED or LOST it at the facility. We CLAIM to not have received the items and even try to convince you that it was lost in the hands of USPS..."

The Truth: Cash4Gold has established a high tech tracking program to follow all received packages. While packages do get lost in the mail, it would be extremely rare. At no point would a Cash4Gold employee claim that a package was lost in the mail if it was known to be in the facility.

Claim: "8. ...We issue low checks just to have you call us back if you are smart enough to realize that you just got scammed. For the smart one's we are paid to offer u a bonus up to 3x the original amount of your check and you accept. For ex: Sally Smith receives a check for $27.86... Now Sally Smith calls the cust srvc dept... and offer you a total amount of $53.20 which is a little under double the amount of your original check; in which case if you accept, the cust srvc rep makes a 15.00 bonus off of your transaction. If the customer service rep offers you under triple the amount of your orig check, he/she makes 10.oo in bonuses.

The Truth: Cash4Gold customer service representatives have received bonuses, but they are based on the number of calls, abandon rate and customer satisfaction.

Claim: "9. If you accept the offer, the deal is done, and you are told that the call is recorded (which most of the time, the record button does not work, or the box if full.)..."

The Truth: This is not true. All phone calls are recorded.

Claim: "10. If you only want the items that we do not find of any value back, you have to pay 10.00 shipping and handling fee to have your own items returned, which varies. Although it is listed under the terms and conditions, this charge varies from a 10.00-15.00 charge to NO charge, reason being, UNSURE."

The Truth: While Cash4Gold did charge for returns at one point, most returns are now done at no cost to the customer. Of course, given the range of material that may be returned, the company does reserve the right to charge if necessary.

In Conclusion: While the company is open to suggestions on improving its service, the accusations lobbed in the anonymous posting are false and defamatory and should be removed immediately from any site that has chosen to post them.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to hear the other side of this story after seeing it floating around the blogs (consumerist et all). I'd admittedly taken it at face value until seeing this response.

    When faced with negative press (or libel, as the case may be) the worst thing you can do is say nothing, so kudos for getting out in front of this. I think posting videos of the facilities is a great idea for credentialing your business, and I hope you follow through.

    One thing: having 300 keyword-laden tags with only 1 post in them hurts the site's credibility. It makes the site look spammy, which is the last thing Cash4Gold needs right now.

    Best of luck!