The Office of Fair Trading is crusading again. Well, less of a crusade and more of a quick peek really. They are ow investigating ‘Cash-for-Gold companies,’ who, they believe, may be taking advantage of consumers in debt by paying them ludicrously low rates for their gold.

The OFT is specifically challenging 5 companies and asking them to clarify and explain certain claims made in their advertising material and on their websites and to come clean about certain business practises. The watchdog claims that this is to ensure that these particular companies are complying with consumer protection laws.

This follows a number of consumer groups urging people not to use such services. Which? warned consumers of terrible value for money when using such companies to cash in their gold. And Which? it seems have done their research. They sent off three items worth, in total, over £700 to a number of gold companies to establish that they offer an average of 6% of the retail price.

Gold buying services have increased in popularity as the financial belts of Britain have tightened in the midst of the worst recession in a generation. However, there are now huge concerns that, rather than being a potentially useful service for cash strapped consumers, such businesses are offering rates so low that it could almost be considered a con!

The advice of the experts is that, if you must sell your gold, shop around and check pricing with independent retailers too.