Consumers with debt problems have been warned against trying to raise cash by selling gold jewellery to companies advertising on television.
Campaign group Which? explained that its investigation of such firms revealed that much better value can be found elsewhere.
Three gold items worth a total of £729 were bought for the purpose of the research, with the TV buyers typically offering six per cent of the retail value.
High street jewellers and pawnbrokers, meanwhile, quoted more than four times as much at an average of around 25 per cent.
Chief executive of Which? Peter Vicary-Smith described the results as “simply shocking”.
“The cash for gold market is unregulated and this investigation has raised some serious concerns about the fair treatment of consumers,” he said.
Last week, a survey by MGM Advantage indicated that retired people could be facing debt problems, as the cost of living has increased by £429 over the last year.
By Andy Mackay