Gold Seller Prices Vary Depending on Buyer

Elisabeth Leamy gets exclusive look at investigation into gold-selling shops.
3:53 | 12/22/11

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Transcript for Gold Seller Prices Vary Depending on Buyer
The price of gold is still sky high more than 16100 dollars announcement means that many are looking to sell their old jewelry and -- to raise cash for the holiday season. But ABC's Elizabeth -- has obtained video of an undercover investigation will show you what to watch out for and she joins us now Eli. -- George listen there are so many ways to sell your gold and a six -- staying by the new York city department of consumer affairs found the price you get. -- on who you ask here's an exclusive look inside the investigation. This hidden camera investigation shows that it's cell therapy where -- -- all. The new York city department of consumer affairs sent an undercover inspector to see how much gold merchants would pay for these pieces of jewelry. An appraiser valued at three at 509. Dollar to regulate the correct value merchant should separate pieces by carry around and wait and individually. At nearly half the shops including this one the merchant -- them all together. You need to take a look at each and every item you need to understand what does he try to -- what's the quality of the China. That's the way legitimate business does business. This merchant also tries to claim the rings are just ten care when we know they're actually fourteenth. Eighteenth. Well. -- be undercover investigation also showed it pays to be persistence. From Aurora loan. Because usually the opening offer isn't the best offer. When the undercover inspector dismisses that price -- merchant does better. -- At another -- the merchants starts at 250 dollars but the secret shopper hesitates. To -- than -- very. So the merchant raises its offer by forty bucks to ninety. -- biggest revelation evolve with. Is that how much can get for your -- depends on where you go all remember an appraiser said this gold was worth 590 dollar. Oh -- No -- -- -- are the merchants bids ranged from 175. To 450. Dollars all for the same three pieces of jewelry. A business can decide to offer whatever they want. The issue really is whether consumer has a sense of how we'll evaluate that offer. Low ball offers are not illegal their business but you can give merchants the business right back you're. And if you're hoping you're sitting on a little gold mine that's exactly what you should due to. As you can tell we altered the inspector's voice to protect her identity for future investigations at this point no violations -- been issued to the stores -- that undercover video you saw it's an ongoing investigation. The new York city department of consumer affairs also conduct another 450. Inspections. And issued violations to 74%. Of the buyers. Mostly for things like missing signage that helps customers get a fair shake and bad record keeping that can let stolen gold fall through the cracks. The gold buyers will now settle and pay a fine or defend themselves at a hearing -- actually -- the big take -- there is really get that appraisal first you know -- deal. Yes go to a reputable -- pay a little bit of money for appraisal to -- field ballpark idea of the value but keep in mind you will not get that full appraised -- mount because of course whoever's buying it from you asked to leave room to profit when they sell it to somebody else and you valuable selected edited out that's where you -- -- Your jewelry. Write -- it's like cash for gold is the most famous and we found the same thing that you get a wide variety of prices. And that if you had a goal and hold out you'll get a better deal. Okay thanks very much feel a lot more information on this -- Good Morning America dot com I'm. --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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