Gold Buying Group Drawing Crowds Amid Rumors
By Bill Hughes
PADUCAH, KY - A gold-buying group is in Paducah this week, and the McCracken County Sheriff's Department says they are in complete compliance will all local laws. But that hasn't kept people from talking about them.
The front parking lot of Country Inn and Suites was full on Wednesday afternoon, as people brought gold and other items to sell, but the show has also had sparked rumors about the owners reputation.
The Collectors Roadshow opened Monday in the meeting room at the hotel, and runs through Saturday at 4:00 pm. They have purchased advertising with several media outlets, with "Jeff the Coin Guy" as their spokesman on WPSD.
Jeff Parsons is listed as the CEO for THR and Associates of Springfield, IL, and a quick Google search for him or the company will reveal articles about bad checks, unpaid bills, bankruptcy, or class-action lawsuits by former employees.
Bristol Broadcasting (which owns WestKentuckyStar.com) received similar tips and information shortly after being contacted by Parsons regarding radio advertising. Initially, an arrangement was made, and a credit card belonging to Jordan Parsons was used, but Bristol eventually decided to refund the money.
Other local media have run his ads, and Argen Dodd, who works for the Collectors Roadshow, said the company has spent about $30,000 in the area in the last week or two. After placing a call to someone named Jeff, Dodd explained that the Roadshow is a separate entity started by his cousin, Jacob Parsons.
Jacob and Jordan are listed as Vice Presidents in an online rating for THR and Associates by the Better Business Bureau, which has received 296 complaints about them in the last year. Most of those were about checks that sellers received, but could not cash because of insufficient funds. The BBB also heard from newspapers, hotels and other vendors who were not paid. THR and Associates has operated under 36 alternate business names, according to the BBB website.
At first, THR responded to complaints from the Better Business Bureau, claiming replacement checks were issued, but in July 2012, the company stopped corresponding with the bureau. In September, THR and Associates filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Illinois, and Jacob Parsons started Uncle Buck's Trading Post. The BBB has given the new business a 'B' rating, while noting the connection to the previous company on their site.
During the first week of March, Jeff Parsons was in Lafayette, IN with "Uncle Buck's Trading Post", and that city's Journal and Courier sold $3,000 in advertising that hasn't been paid for yet. A Lafayette radio station also ran ads, but they were prepaid.
The paper's Hayleigh Colombo reported the Indiana Attorney General's Office is seeking $170,000 in a lawsuit because THR and Associates didn't pay a settlement of $22,000 for making robo-calls, which are illegal in Indiana.
McCracken County Sheriff's Detective Matt Carter said in spite of some rumors, there are no active NCIC warrants for Jeffrey A. Parsons. Laws vary from state to state on check amounts that qualify as misdemeanor or felony offenses, but Carter said most states won't post misdemeanors on NCIC.
McCracken Fiscal Court passed a gold-buying ordinance Monday night with tougher rules on where and how long dealers keep items they buy, just in case someone is a victim of theft. Buyers must have a physical address (not a P.O. Box), register items online, and keep them in the county for ten days after they are bought. Carter said this might help a person get their keepsake or jewelry back if it is stolen and sold. He said the ordinance protects the seller, and also keeps traveling shows from having an unfair advantage over permanent businesses that buy gold. Carter personally delivered the new ordinance to Collectors Roadshow Wednesday afternoon, and said they are in complete compliance with it so far.
McCracken County Attorney Michael Murphy said Wednesday morning that his staff has not informed him of any complaints from citizens.
Vic Patel, Manager of the Country Inn and Suites, said having the gold buyers at their hotel this week was "alright." He was glad that lots of local people would see the hotel and know more about it after their visit.
Agencies and consumer groups recommend that anyone selling gold or other valuables should research the buyer, get multiple appraisals or bids, and research the value of similar items in publications or on websites.