It’s not that they’ve reached a new low, they’ve sunk to a new low.
If it weren’t almost impossible to avoid their commercials on radio and TV, I wouldn’t have them in my (mental) gun sights. I’m talking about the gold hustlers, of course, probably for the 200th time since I’ve had the privilege of writing about the world of investing, finance and even economics for the Daily Republic.
I should say that this gimmick has been used in all sorts of commercials over the years, so you might think that viewers and listeners would realize how sleazy the advertisers are. Look on Google for “Rosland Capital Scams,” and it will take you all day to read the stories. Maybe by coincidence, but as I sit here at my computer, they’re airing a commercial for Lear Capital, which should be right up there with Rosland for low-life commercials.
Before going any further, let’s look back at how gold has performed in the past 12 months. I look at the SPDR Gold Trust ETF, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “GLD.” It’s currently selling for 125.89 per share, which, if you move the decimal point one place to the right, you have the price of gold.
Now – forgive the technical discussion – we can see the range for the past year. The low was 114.346, while the high was 137.55. Translated into the actual price for the precious metal, you can see that gold has done nothing, absolutely nothing, in the 12-month period. Oh, sure, it’s gone up and down in its trading range, but if you were a “buy and hold,” you would have been much better off buying your average stock-based mutual fund.
No, it’s not a conspiracy, but Rosland Capital and Lear Capital are at or near the top of the list of cable channel advertisers. The newest – or oldest – when it comes to misleading commercials is the “Be one of the first 50 callers and you’ll get this certificate ‘redeemable’ in gold.”
So how much gold is it worth? One-20th of a gram, that’s how much. Without doing the math, I don’t think you could exchange it for a can of Alpo dog food. Not only is this “certificate” practically worthless, but this “be one of the first 50 callers . . .” routine is, I would guess, deceptive. Do they mean “be one of the first 50 callers” today, or every time they run the commercial, which might amount to, who knows, dozens or hundreds of times around the country? Or does it mean whatever they want it to mean?
Now, this is just a guess, but what do you think happens when you’re “one of the first 50 callers?” It couldn’t be that a fish hook will be implanted in your lower lip so that you’ll buy gold or silver at inflated prices, could it? I guess the cable networks won’t reject these sleazy commercials as long they’re so profitable. They don’t have the legal obligation to check into the “integrity” of their advertisers, so, as long the advertising money keeps coming in, they’ll run the commercials.
I’ve got an idea. Be one of the first 50 readers to wire $100 into my bank account, and I’ll send you my free book, “How to Make Money in the Alfalfa Market.”
Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at [email protected]