Home Technology and Materials Scrap Wisely: Avoiding hidden fees and choosing the right refiner can make you an additional 45% on your scrap metal

Scrap Wisely: Avoiding hidden fees and choosing the right refiner can make you an additional 45% on your scrap metal

by Dave Weinberg

By eliminating hidden fees and charges, Scientific Metals can help dentists make up to an additional 45% percent return on their dental scrap. These 2 case studies explain how dentists Dr. William Wong of West Allis, Wisconsin, and Dr. Kelly Waggener of Santa Rosa, CA discovered the difference between companies.

Background Dr. William Wong

Dr. Wong sent about 713 grams of dental scrap to a refining company that had exhibited at a recent trade show. After about a week, he received a settlement sheet that estimated the scrap value at $10,152.10. The company would take a 10 percent refining fee but had offered him a promotional rate of only 5 percent instead.

The dentist was to receive a final settlement figure of $9644.50. At first this seemed reasonable and acceptable, but after a closer look at the report, Wong realized that something didn’t add up. When he did the arithmetic, the dentist realized that the scrap value should have added up to more than $14,000, and his return after the company’s fees should have been closer to $12,500— much more than the $9,644.50 shown on the settlement offer.

He eventually was informed that the company had an additional 30 percent “charge” in addition to its refining fee called “an accountability charge”. In reality, all of the total fees and charges added up to closer to 35–38 percent of the scrap’s original value. Dr. Wong declined this settlement and asked for his processed scrap — now in the form of a melted bar — to be returned to him.

The Result

Dr. Wong then contacted Scientific Metals to determine whether the company had any extra charges, fees or deductions. Upon hearing no, he sent the bar to Scientific Metals to be assayed and analyzed; the assay there showed the bar to be worth $14,310.65. The final amount Wong would receive was $12,879.59—about 34 percent more than the initial offer.

Findings

Both refining companies had essentially the same assays in terms of how much gold, palladium, platinum and silver was present in the bar. The only difference was that Scientific Metals did not have the extra charges and fees.

Background Dr. Kelly Waggener

Like most dentists, Dr. Waggener had a precious metal scrap collection jar in the office, and every summer she sent it to a refiner. This year was a little different: Unannounced, her dental supply representative brought a metal refiner rep to the office and informed her that their two companies (dental supply company and the refiner) had a partnership and she would be pleased with the scrap settlement offered to them.

Because they showed up at their office without warning, they didn’t have a lot of time to do their homework about the scrap’s worth, so they handed over the jar and hoped for the best. A week later she received an email from the metal refiner, stating that the final settlement was $3,017.10.

Dr. Waggener had submitted similar amounts in years past and thought that price seemed very low, especially because palladium prices were soaring. She did some research and discovered that along with the (reasonable) 10 percent refining fee, there also was an “accountability rate” charge of nearly 30 percent.

When combined, that meant the refining company wanted to take 38 percent of the total scrap’s worth. They asked the company to return the metals, which they received shortly thereafter in the form of a melted bar.

The Result

Dr. Waggener reconnected with Scientific Metals, who she had previously used for several years with very good results, after recalling their ads in dental magazines which specifically advertised “No Hidden Fees.”

Dr. Waggener spoke with Dave Weinberg who told her they could analyze and sample the bar without having to remelt it, which would keep it in its original condition in case of any disagreement; this was very comforting.

More importantly, after she explained about the extra charges and the “accountability rate” included in her initial estimate, Mr. Weinberg explained that given the total charge of about 38 percent that she initially incurred, the bar’s total value would be around $4,900 and she should receive about $4,400 from them. A big difference without the “accountability rate.” The end result was $4,450.39—nearly $1,500 more than the original estimate.

Findings

Both refining companies had essentially the same assays in terms of how much gold, palladium, platinum and silver was present in the bar. The only difference was that Scientific Metals did not have the extra charges and fees.

Dave Weinberg


Scientific Metals


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