Call to regulate 'cash for gold' schemes

 

A FINE Gael Senator has called for legislation to regulate “cash for gold schemes” which he said were proliferating during the recession.

Senator John Paul Phelan, who is the party’s Upper House spokesman on enterprise, trade and employment, is to introduce a Private Members’ Bill to the Seanad after claiming that “there is no regulatory body overseeing this growing industry”.

Mr Phelan said there had been, “phenomenal growth in the number of outlets popping up on high streets and in shopping centres throughout the country, offering cash for old gold”, as well as advertising on television and in the newspapers “encouraging people to send off their old, broken or scrap gold in the post for cash”. But he claimed that there is no legislation in this area to protect consumers.

The Senator has spoken to elderly people, particularly those in rural areas, who were “living in constant fear of attack and robbery”, by criminals seeking gold which they could easily dispose of.

He said that an “immediate interim solution” would be to require anyone trading gold for cash to be required “to go to their local Garda station and sign a declaration in front of a Peace Commissioner that they are the legitimate owner of the property being traded”.

A number of companies operating in the Irish market run schemes whereby the public can submit items containing precious metals by post for immediate valuation and receive payments by cash or cheque through the post.

The Dublin Gold Exchange on Townsend Street, which claims “to pay top prices for old/broken gold”, said that it accepted gold items sent through the post and sent a payment by cash via “registered post”. Spokesman Joe Walsh said the only details required were “name and address”.

But Laura Walsh, of the “family-run”, Galway-based, goldparty.ie, told The Irish Times that “any person who sells gold to us must sign a declaration that they own the gold”. The company also required “a passport or driver’s licence”.