Cash4Gold, the company that targets poor, desperate late-night TV watchers with endorsements by equally cash-strapped celebrities, is a scam! Okay, maybe you already knew that. But unless you're one of the poor chumps who dialed their 1-800 number, you don't know how they fleece customers—4 Cash!—or what the state plans to do about it.
The company's advertisements—which feature washed-up rapper MC Hammer—lure in customers with handfuls of money, but in reality pay only 11 to 29 percent of an item's market value, compared with pawn shops that pay 35 to 70 percent. One victim, church organist Frank Poindexter, received 15 cents for jewelry that had been appraised at $200. "I looked at the check and thought it was a mistake," Poindexter said. "When I called them, they actually accused me of scamming them." After customers send in their jewelry for appraisal, Cash4Gold gives them only twelve days to get their goods back if they feel they've been low-balled. Sometimes when they protest they're told the jewelry has already been thrown in the furnace.