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Sep 18 2018 09:44 EST

Avoiding Fraud! 100 mills = silver/gold plated

August 17, 2014 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Education

when sellers list the purity of the platting (.999 silver/gold) in the title directly followed by the weight of the whole bar. Putting these numbers together implies your getting a .999 pure gold/silver bar that weights 1 ounce. 

These are a few titles listed under the BULLION category today 
5 x 5 Gram Gold Bar– American Buffalo – 100 MILLS .999, 24k Fine Bullion Ingot” 
All of these are selling for $10 on up. So far every buyer I have spoken to has had the same assumption as I did, that they are silver bullion. So how do you tell if the item you are considering buying is one of these fakes? 

These are the signs:

  • The keyword ‘mills‘ is in the title the vast majority of the time. This term is not applicable to bullion. Bullion by its definition is solid.
  • Mills is a measurement of the thickness of the silver/gold plate. It is true that the silver plate is 99.999% silver which is why these sellers are able to get away with their fraud. How ever they neglect to tell you that the silver plate represents 00.009% of the weight of the bar.
  • They are minted by CMC Mint. This is usually on the reverse of the bar. Some times you see this sometimes not. The majority of the ones I have come across have been minted by CMC Mint. If you want you can buy these directly from the mint for $5 bucks a piece. Just do a quick Google search
  • If you are still not 100% sure your bar is authentic, you can lightly sand a corner of the bar. The silver coat will quickly sand off and you will see copper under its silver/gold face.

What to do if you already bought one of these bars thinking they are pure silver.

  • 1st – Contact the seller and ask to return the item. Even if the seller says that he does not take returns, or if your 3-7 day return period has long since expired.
  • 2nd – For a lot of us, myself included, I left positive feedback for sellers before I found out they were not pure silver bars. This does not prevent you from later returning the item, or filing a case with eBay. If the seller refuses to give you a refund I would file a case with eBay. eBay has the buyer protection guarantee. This is what I had to use to get my money back. I sanded off the silver coat, removed the black paint, even drilled a hole in one, and I was still entitled to a full refund. Do NOT accept any excuses from these sellers as to why they wont let you return these items.

Working with eBay through the claim process.

  • To obtain a refund when the seller refuses to do so you will have to go through the claims process. To start off you will be given a chance to put your complaint in writing. This will then be forwarded to the seller and he/she will be given a chance to offer you a resolution. From here you can except or reject the sellers offer. After you reject the sellers offer, if he made one at all, you will have the option of escalating to eBay customer support. The turnaround time for this is 48 to 72 hours. However they have never resolved any of my claims that fast. (Maybe a half a dozen claims during my ebay life time.) This is not necessarily a bad thing. This gives you the opportunity to call eBay regarding your case. In my experience they are willing to make a judgment while I am on the phone with them. Use this to your advantage and you can argue your case with a live person. It will not be hard at all to show how at the very least the seller offered a misleading item for sale.

Final thoughts.

  • Ask yourself if you think the sellers intention is to sell a art bar and pass it off as pure bullion. If this is the case, I would  leave NEGATIVE feedback for the seller. Even if I was easily able to return the items without having to escalate to eBay. My logic on this is simple, only a fraction of the people that are scammed by these sellers will find this or similar articles. HOWEVER everyone reviews negative feedback. When you are looking at a sellers feedback you can click on the number of negative feedbacks received by the seller rather than have to go through pages and pages of feedback.
  • For these seller this scam is a pure numbers game. Even if half of the people that receive these bars returns them, they can still make a ton of money considering there cost is only a few bucks per bar. This gets back to the negative feed back thing. If everyone that returned these bars successfully without having to escalate left positive or neutral feedback the sellers would not be exposed for the fraud they are.

For one seller I told him we could leave on good terms if he modified his auctions going forward to include the term ‘silver plated’ in his listings. It should be no supprise that he did not. This was proof to me that his intentions are to scam eBay buyers. 

If anyone has some other suggestions or recommendation on how to deal with this fraudsters please send me a message though the eBay messaging system and I will add your piece to this article.