The buying and selling of gold continues to be brisk in Modesto, but officials are cracking down to ensure accurate scales are being used to do the deals.
Wednesday, an undercover "seller" visited the Buying Roadshow in Modesto to check whether gold was being fairly weighed.
"The weight we were given was accurate," said Dan Bernaciak, the Stanislaus County Department of Weights and Measures' deputy sealer. "We reinspected their scales, and all were found to be correct."
The Buying Roadshow, by Eugene Bascou & Associates Estate Buyers, is operating out of rooms at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Modesto this week. According to its advertisements, it offers "instant cash" for gold, platinum and silver, plus jewelry, coins and assorted collectable items.
There had been unconfirmed reports about the roadshow buying gold based on inaccurate weights, so Bernaciak sent someone undercover to check the scales' accuracy.
By California law, all scales used to buy or sell precious metals must have a county-issued "seal" showing the scales weigh accurately.
All scales also must be set up in a way that allows consumers to see the weight display, so they don't have to take someone's word for what it says.
Weight readouts on at least some of the scales at the Buying Roadshow apparently could not be seen by the public.
"The manager was informed that the scales need to be positioned so the customer can see the indications," Bernaciak said.
Weights and Measures Department staff members have been busy the past two weeks registering and sealing jewelry scales in Stanislaus.
On Jan. 5, The Bee printed a "consumers beware" story and a list showing only 22 businesses had jewelry scales certified as accurate by Stanislaus' Weights and Measures Department.
In response to that story, Bernaciak said, his office was swamped by additional businesses seeking seals.
"We have 50 registered (jewelry scales now), but some are for these home party setups, so they may be traveling around some," Bernaciak said.
Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2196.