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There has been a sudden mushrooming of gold shops or "Compro Oro" shops in and around the Benidorm area over the last few months.It seems to be the only flourishing trade at the moment. One has just opened up in Alfaz del Pi and another is about to open in La Nucia. Advertising boards are attached to almost every fence or lamp post promising to pay 38€ per gram - but don't be fooled by this offer.

I popped into the one in Alfaz where a "leather clad East European looking gentleman" was sitting behind the re-enforced  security partition, with a half square metre toughened glass access window. At the bottom is a 6 inch square cut out to pass the goods. Now, my first though was if I was to pass something across will I get it back if I'm not happy with the price quoted? I certainly wasn't prepared to take that risk for the sake of research. He quoted 9€ per gram for 9 carat and 23€ per gram for18 carat gold. In Benidorm the prices are slightly better - 14€ for 9 carat and 28€ for 18 carat ... but this falls far short of the 38€  advertised. When you mention this to them they tell you that is the price for 24 carat - which is highly unlikely.

Gold Shop in Alfaz
Yesterdays gold price was  the equivalent of 42€ per gram so they are certainly making a health profit.
I spoke with a reputable gold dealer and he told me that first and foremost when selling any gold you must take you passport or ID card which will be photocopied and kept. If any dealer offers to buy anything without asking for ID then stay away - if you are caught by the police you stand to be fined 3000€. Next, any  items bought are photographed,scanned and sent to the police to verify that they are not stolen goods. This safeguards both the buyer and the seller which is a good thing.

One of many ....
But I must say that with so many of these shops opening up in my mind it almost encourages muggings and crime. How many tourists do we read about that have had gold chains, rings and bracelets snatched whilst out on a boozy night and don't bother reporting it - most I would guess. They feel its not worth the bother as they won't ever see it again and put it down to bad experience.Plus with the language barrier they don't want the aggravation. But its a vicious cycle - if crime and muggings do not get reported then the police aren't aware of the problem and in turn police numbers will not be increased. This is not solely a problem in Benidorm - all major tourist resorts have crime, but it is getting to be a problem in certain parts of the town.

 My advice first and foremost to  ALL holiday makers is leave your jewellery at home - that way you won't be targeted. Most people are aware of Pick pockets, Pea men and other scams, but its the rise in violent thefts and muggings that is the most startling. Do not attract attention to yourself - most of the muggings are carried out by East European/Romanian gangs and they will target those that are slightly worse for wear after a night out with visible jewellery on display. The gypsy girls operate in pairs and are very distinctive with their long circle skirts - you will definitely see them out on Wednesday's and Sunday's ... market day! Tourists are rich pickings with their wallets and purses stuffed with euro's to buy souvenirs to take back home. Ladies, try and keep your money on you if possible or if not keep your bags across you with your hand firmly clamped on it.

Only last week a friend had her purse taken out of her handbag without realizing.  She has lived here for over 10 years and is no novice to the dangers of pick pockets- she remembers a "lady" bumping into her and she even apologized for not looking. She never felt a thing - these people are professionals!
Do not let me scare you off coming to Benidorm .... its a fabulous place and as long as you are alert and sensible you'll have a great time here.

Comments  

0 #1 dig 2012-02-01 10:07
My local gold shop have a website which tells you the daily price of gold. I took 32gram in last week & received £370 & I had to show my passport. The price of gold has gone up but you dont realise how much the jewellery you are wearing has increased! The white gold necklace I had ripped from my neck on Yellow Brick road was £190 when bought 7 years ago but was valued at £1100 by a jeweller, from a receipt.

I did report this to Police, otherwise I couldnt claim from insurance. i am glad you brought this to the attention of people, exactly the same thing is happening in England. These people cant get jobs, so they make a career out of robbing.
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