It all depends on the buyer
As gold prices soar, so do the number of gold buyers and sellers.
That means more work for county auditors, who are tasked with validating the accuracy of scales used to weigh gold at businesses that buy it.
“With all the new stores popping up, it is important that the customers going into the stores are ensuring the scales are properly certified,” said Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds. “With the increased value of gold it has required us to be more active.”
In Southwest Ohio, auditors from Butler, Warren, Clermont and Hamilton counties in 2012 registered 186 scales from precious metals buyers, up from just 30 in 2009. During that time, the number of certification violations increased from zero to 21. If a test fails, the audior’s office has the ability to confiscate scales but cannot make an arrest.
Reynolds and his office recently purchased a set of Class II weights to test scales for $2,400. Most counties can’t afford the weights and make each business hire a third party to inspect their scales, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Weights and Measures.
But having their own weights saves auditors money in the long run, Reynolds said.
“With the increased demand and our need to be out in the field to test scales, we went ahead and purchased a Class II weight set,” Reynolds said. “What that allows us to do is go out and test the stores. In the past, the stores had their scale tested by an outside vendor and we would have to be there to oversee it.”
Gold prices have soared since 2000, but gold is only worth what someone is wiling to pay, said Lyn Tolan, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Commerce.
“Consumers have to be as vigilant as ever,” Tolan said. “They should always seek out three independent valuations with at least one of those coming from a qualified jeweler. Also, never send items out of state.”
When selling gold, Reynolds recommends checking to see if the scale has been certified by your county auditor. Once certified, the scale is sealed, similar to the seal one would see on a gas station pump. A broken seal may be a sign of tampering.