We recently sat down with Stirling Faux on Experts on Call to discuss a number of topics regarding selling your gold in Canada. Watch this video to learn more about Canada’s trusted neighborhood gold buyers.
Stirling: Vancouver Gold, Canada’s trusted neighborhood gold buyers. This is a national company Charlie. You're one of the co-owners. You're the CEO, but you really .. despite growing on a national basis you try and take each individual location and treated as a community... office..a community entity, all by itself right?
Charlie: Absolutely, yeah, it kind of goes back to how we we started as a company. We started with a single office... actually , we started even before that we just started you know meeting people and places so that was how we were we were really different from the competition, you didn’t have to send it in. We gave one-on-one service. We try to keep each store you know dealing with ... it's community seeing people and one-on-one, giving the estimates. Yeah.
Stirling: I probably point also a point out rather that Vancouver Gold has a terrific website. Greg give us the address because a lot of people listening have access. They’ll just lean over and pull up the website while they’re listening to this conversation. What is the website?
Greg: It’s Vancouvergold.ca and from there you can go through to any one of our offices ... except Victoria, I believe they have their own site so Victoriagoldandsilver.com
Stirling: Now I should point this out too, because even though it is a national chain Charlie - you and ... two of your brothers are growing this company literally in Ontario and Alberta as we speak, as well as what you're up to here in British Columbia. Three of the four stores in the lower mainland are Vancouver gold stores but the one in Surrey just called Surrey Gold, the one in Victoria is Victoria Gold - all the same company but this is part of that localizing initiative that you took right from the get-go isn't it?
Charlie: Exactly. Yeah. We want people to know that it's it is in their community. When we started. .this was 2009, most of the gold had doubled in price going from 300 to a new all-time or new kind of high over the last twenty years of about $600 an ounce. So there were all these kind of new options sprouting up there was ... a Superbowl ad that year with MC Hammer kind of advertising “mail in your gold” right and that's what kind of got it on everyone's mind so we kind of looked around with we had some stuff we weren't interested in selling gold. My brother and I, we'd had some stuff from you know we just kinda gathered up there some gifts and we didn't know what to do with it. We ended up, you know looking around locally and not finding anything. So we kind of resorted to those mail in companies we just had a bad experience basically. We had to kind of fight to get the stuff back, after you know we did research on what price we should be getting for items you know what they were worth that's at that $600 an ounce.
Stirling: and the whoever was offering you offering to buy your gold didn't even come close, right?
Charlie: They didn’t come close and they didn't give us the details on what it was we got so they just you know they give us a number and I think a lot of people didn't know what they should be expected so they get a number of assume that's correct .
Stirling: Well you know that's that's.. and I’m glad you brought that up because I think in terms of selling gold, a lot of people are aware of this what you put it “We’ll give you one of these special security envelopes and you send it off to us, Greg; and then we'll assess it and we’ll send you back a check and that's that. Bob's your uncle, it's all over.” Well you know it struck me, the very first time I saw that ad, that wait a second you want me to put Grandma's gold gift to my dad into an envelope and ship it through the mail to some “place” somewhere and trust that's gonna “get there” and at the other end I'm gonna get fair treatment from some unknown third party? That's bizarre and yet that's probably Greg; the way most people think of when they think of –“Well, I’ve got this gold. I'd love to sell it. It’s probably worth some dough. Do I have to mail it somewhere?” The short answer is no.
Greg: No you don't, and I mean I guess the appeal to mailing it is that it's just the easiest way to do it. You call that number, they send you an envelope in the mail and you're done with it
Stirling: There is no effort required.
Greg: Yeah, it’s very little effort but the reality is that you know you're dropping in the mail when you're hoping that it... it gets to where it’s going ... and once it’s there, I mean as soon as you drop in the mailbox, it’s completely out of your control right? You don't have the option to say that “oh no, that's not quite enough or maybe I'd like to shop around and get a better price.”
Stirling: I don’t know enough about the business. Once you send it to them Charlie, do they keep it or can they send it back and say we don't want to buy it. Or are you, I mean that's the other part of the risk, isn’t it? You’re sending it off to some unknown party and maybe they're gonna send you a check back and that's the end of the transaction, even if you're not happy with the money, it’s gone on and that's it, it’s over.
Charlie: Yeah, in most cases you know, most websites will offer or claim some sort of you know you can get your items back in the mail you pay shipping perhaps?
Stirling: Right, right.
Charlie: It's a real hassle to do that. That's exactly how we started,was by trying to send stuff in, just get fair market for.. you know we weren’t looking to start a business on day one there we were looking for to send stuff and get paid fairly for what we had. The problem is there's no..
Stirling: You said you had a bad experience, so I gather you didn't get paid as fairly as you were hoping to be paid.
Charlie: No, we sent in probably we had a decent amount there we had probably three thousand dollars or so. My grandfather was in kind of the jewelry industry back 20 or 30 years ago so we had some stuff from that. So we kind of knew what we were dealing with, and we didn't have a local option to do it so we sent it in and got I think, an offer of four hundred dollars or so for our twenty five hundred dollars worth of gold jewelery right . So we asked for it back, and went through their normal channels and it was just a big back-and-forth. I think they then offered us a hundred dollars more for the items and then we said no please send it back. They said how about fifty dollars more. You know going up these..
Stirling: Nickle and diming you on it, eh?
Charlie: Exactly, yeah.
Stirling: Nowhere near the real value.
Charlie: We got it back (from) there and then we sent it to someone else and had the identical experience there. All these places called some variation of cash for gold, dollars for gold you know they're all these different companies and none of them is building up a reputation really they're all kind of sharing one reputation. There's no incentive for them basically to do a good job so..
Stirling: The reason, so why Charlie, did you send this stuff away? I assume that you were in Vancouver at the time right? So why wasn't there, was there not a place in Vancouver 3 or 4 years ago that you could go to and do the kind of thing people can now do with Vancouver Gold? Was there no such establishment like that 5 years ago?
Charlie: The promises they made online involved their prices and those prices were better than you’d get from a pawn shop on jewelry store locally, so those were the options before.
Stirling: So it’s pawn shop or jewelry store or send it in the mail?
Charlie: Or send it in the mail. Sending in the mail, you know that was the new business and they put a price on it there was much higher than you get going in locally. It turns out that going in locally even back then before there were specialized gold buyers was a better option for you, but we kind of took at face value, the offer online. So we did try to send it in. After we got the stuff back, we did go to a couple jewelry stores and again didn't really have the luck we wanted. Then we eventually we approached a refinery to deal with their stuff and you know they offered to do it. We basically- there are some fees to do that but it is that being the best option for us. So that's exactly what we did. We actually posted an ad on Craigslist to see if we can get a bigger load together to kind of do a shared thing. We do better the more we send in to this refinery basically so we got, we gathered some other people up in kind of in the same situation as we were in and we gathered up I think about 10,000.00 worth of gold which was literally just a handful. It wasn't a lot, it sounds like a big dollar amount but it really adds up quickly.
Stirling: But at $600.00 an ounce in those days, it does add up quickly. Let me take a break. The guys from Vancouver Gold are with us on Experts on Call, this edition.
We're talking with the guys from Vancouver Gold, Canada’s trusted neighborhood gold buyers. CEO and co-owner Charlie Pollock is in studio along with regional manager Greg Neilson. Charlie, you talked to us a little bit before the break about why you and your brothers founded Vancouver Gold, a company that is now expanding across Canada. Basically because as a lot of uh... consumers do, you saw an ad on TV – (saying) Send us your gold to company x somewhere in the States probably right? Was that the States or Canada?
Charlie: They advertise from the States and then was a company in Canada that did the same thing exactly.
Stirling: So you send it off and you just didn't get any satisfaction. It just didn't work out for you. They didn't offer you anywhere near the dollars you felt that your merchandise was worth and to retrieve it took forever and a day. The experience was extremely unpleasant and time-consuming.
Charlie: It was a wrestling match, yeah only we really had to fight to get that back.
Stirling: So now you decided well that was a real waste of time. Let's see what we can do about organizing ourselves perhaps into some kind of enterprise that makes this whole process worthwhile not only for us but for anyone else in British Columbia that has maybe some old gold or jewelry they would like to find out whether it's worth anything and then maybe sell it. Maybe have some fun with some of those things. How long have you been in business?
Charlie: We have been a business for little over three years now.
Stirling: Okay and that's with the four of the lower mainland stores, were they opened simultaneously or did you start with the one downtown on Broadway and gradually expanded incrementally?
Charlie: Yeah we started small. You know our intention even when we got those you know did that first refining load wasn’t necessarily to start a business but we had so much luck with that first load. You know getting rid of our own gold was the goal. We had twenty five hundred dollars we got that together with some other people and we refined that. We kept getting emails from our original ad coming in. So we bought a little testing machine called the Miser. It’s a little electronic testing machine. We met people in coffee shops and we hooked up these little circuits to the gold on a little screen that said you know 10 karat gold so we'd buy based on that. That was the start. We started on Craigslist, going to coffee shops. We just figured there was enough demand enough people so we opened small office in a shared office floor.
Stirling: Really baby steps all along.
Charlie: Absolutely. We never intended to open twelve stores like right away. It was just kind of where the demand drove us.
Stirling: Okay and where the four lower mainland locations Charlie?
Charlie: We have one on lower Lonsdale in North Vancouver, 65 Lonsdale Avenue. We've got our oldest store...kind of our original one on West Broadway. It's 254 West Broadway uh... we've got one in Surrey. On King George Boulevard 104362
Stirling: Around Surrey Central
Charlie: Around Surrey Central . So that’s Surrey Gold, so don’t go looking for Vancouver Gold at that location, ‘cause you’ll go nuts. That’s Surrey Gold. It’s the same company, and that’s what you need to know.
Charlie: The last one is a branch in Richmond on Number 3 road right by Richmond Centre. They're all easy to get to by a public transit ...
Greg: free parking
Charlie: free parking at most .. some of them street parking but yeah..
Stirling: It really is worth repeating: Vancouver Gold is the only gold company, gold buying and selling company that is endorsed by the Better Business Bureau after a fairly exhaustive examination process. Which uh... which is terrific again it's all about peace of mind. On your newspaper ads you say, in huge block letters - sell your gold with peace of mind and for the consumer especially in an area of precious metals , that we're not too savvy about - peace of mind is important. Again if you're looking and your thinking about this, if you're going through these cleaning exercises that you're finding yourself (thinking) Gosh, I've always wanted to know about this ... Vancouvergold.ca is the website. Great place to go first - educate yourself a little bit - and then go see Charlie and Greg and the staff at any one of the stores.
Charlie: and you could drop into any store anytime. We give estimates for free, there's no fees, no obligation - just come in and figure out what you've got.