DON'T GET CAUGHT OUT BY 50 KWACHA SILVER COINS.

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Well, we all like a bargain, don't we, especially when we're trying to build up our silver bullion reserves for the great price hike?

But, Malawi's 50 Kwacha coins, featuring a couple of grinning Chinese characters, are NOT the way to grab that bargain, unless you're seriously trying to build up a hoard of BRONZE bullion, rather than silver bullion.

In fact, those Chinese characters are probably grinning at the thought of all the buyers who continue to buy these BRONZE artefacts from a range of eBay sellers. What on earth makes them think that they're silver? I simply cannot imagine.

Just to bring you up to speed: these 50 Kwacha coins are about 4 ounces of BRONZE with the "merest whisper" of gold plating in the centre and the "slightest hint" of silver around the outside. Unless you rate BRONZE as a precious metal, the precious metal content of this coin is negligible, not even a gramme weight when combined.

In addition, the eBay guide by eBayer " jingo45 ", explains the situation further, albeit with more eloquence than myself. Here's the eBay link:

jingo45's 50 Kwacha explanation guide

I, (and others), have written to the most persistent eBay traders of these coins and they have no excuse to be ignorant of the fact that these are BRONZE coins with a facade of gold and silver. So if you that you feel that you have bought one of these items in error, perhaps because you did not understand the description, (I've never seen the word BRONZE in those descriptions, but plenty of "solid silver", "gold plate/silver", etc.), then feel free to try and get in touch with me and I'll tell you which sellers I and others have made aware of the true nature of these BRONZE coins.

All sellers follow eBay rules of course, so there's no question that they strive to accurately describe these BRONZE items; but if you have paid for one of these BRONZE coins, mistakenly believing it to be solid silver or gold on the basis of the seller's honest description, then if you used PayPal as your payment method, I urge you to file a "not as described" claim. I believe that you can do this for 60 days after the event. Naturally, PayPal won't refund you if they think that you should have known that the items were BRONZE from the seller's accurate description. If you bought a job lot of these items for over £100 and used a credit card, then make a claim at any time to your credit provider. They'll refund in full and they tend to move more quickly and aggressively than eBay in sorting things out. But again, they probably won't do so if it's simply the case that you missed the seller's description of the item as BRONZE, so be sure that you don't miss the word BRONZE in the description.

If PayPal, eBay or your credit card company feel that the word BRONZE was displayed adequately enough to avoid confusion and don't pay out, then remember that you have rights under distance-selling legislation. This indulgent piece of legislation allows to you to change your mind and decide not to buy an item that you won or bought from any eBay BUSINESS seller for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER. Distance-selling legislation is faster to implement than charge-backs, so you may want to consider going straight to your legitimate legal rights. Let me know if you aren't clear about how to do so, it would be my pleasure to put you straight.

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I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind buyers that sellers who are registered as a business in eBay are no different from any other business. So consumer protection law applies to all UK transactions whether conducted through eBay or not. If you ever need the number of your local trading standards contact, please let me know.

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Likewise, if you are ever sold any other item as gold or silver, then except for certain items such as bullion, the item should be hallmarked as such. Here's a taster of the applicable legislation:

The current legislation is the Hallmarking Act 1973, which has been amended by Hallmarking (Exempted Articles) (Amendment) Order 1975, the Hallmarking (International Convention) Order 1976 (as amended), the Hallmarking (Exempted Articles) Orders 1982 and 1986, and the Hallmarking (Approved Hallmarks) Regulations 1986. The Hallmarking (Hallmarking Act Amendment) Regulations 1998, brought UK legislation in line with the rest of Europe.

The laws above apply to ALL ITEMS (except where covered under the exemption list) sold in the UK, that claim to be made of gold, platinum, silver and sterling silver, regardless of where they may have been manufactured. where they weigh above: 1 gramme for gold, 7.78 grammes for silver and 0.5 grammes for platinum.

If you ever feel that an item that you bought as silver (or gold or platinum) was sold as misdescribed or without meeting the relevant legislation, then your local trading standards office is the place to turn and, as several of you are aware, I am able to assist you further if you wish to consider this course of action.

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In case you feel that you may have bought one of these items, the following link allows you to determine if you were the winner of a completed BRITISH auction, (hope it still works!), JUST TO SHOW THE TYPE OF BRONZE COIN we're talking about, (and certainly not implying that the seller thought that it was anything but a BRONZE coin, especially where they've used the word BRONZE within the item description):

Completed 50 Kwacha listings on eBay UK.  (This may show you ALL completed 50 Kwacha listings, so you may need to filter some stuff out.)

And in case you're still not sure about what I am talking about, here's a link to current, active BRITISH listings, (hope it still works!), JUST TO SHOW THE TYPE OF BRONZE COIN we're talking about, (and certainly not implying that the seller knows that it's anything but a BRONZE coin, especially where they've used the word BRONZE within the item description):

Currently active 50 Kwacha listings on eBay UK.  (This may show you ALL active 50 Kwacha listings, so you may need to filter some stuff out.)

[By the way, if you think that it's strange that different eBay sellers / businesses have identical sites and images AND appear to be selling the same items at practically identical prices, then you're not alone! I think it's strange as well.]

****My clever lawyer sister knows about far more law than I do and she told me that as long as it's truthful and in line with eBay rules, I can mention names, but I'm still reluctant to do so.****

But in the meantime, here's what Matt (eBay seller "daves-ilsey") said in a message sent to me through eBay on 19th August 2008:

"i will get you banned from ebay matt" (correct as written.)

Draw your own conclusions.

I'm still assisting people and I'm still on eBay.

If you find this guide useful, please give me the thumbs up by voting "YES" below and I'll try and find time to add another guide about another bullion scam that's occurring under eBay's noses.

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