10/29/2012 01:31 pm ET

Cash4Gold Sold For Chump Change

Cash4Gold, the popular gold-buying company, is being sold for a measly $440,000, Fortune’s Dan Primack reports.

That amount, paid by its new owner, Time-Life parent company Direct Holdings Americas, is less than 20 percent of the $2.4 million Cash4Gold paid for a 2009 Super Bowl ad featuring the rapper MC Hammer, who’s also known for financial follies.

Cash4Gold sought to capitalize on the down economy in 2008, when it launched a service that pays people to mail in their gold. “The entire economy is crumbling, and when that happens people below the line need cash,” the company’s head of marketing told the Christian Science Monitor in 2009, adding that the firm had seen “a thousand percent” year-over-year growth.

But a barrage of lawsuits filed by Cash4Gold customers subsequently damaged the Florida-based firm’s reputation, ultimately leading to its bankruptcy in July. Reports of gold packages that were shipped to the company and then mysteriously vanished in the mail contributed to the downfall.

“I was duped, and the gold’s gone,” one angry customer told ABC earlier this year.

At the time of its bankruptcy this past summer, Primack notes, Cash4Gold still owed $800,000 to Euro RSCG, the marketing agency that produced its Super Bowl ad nearly three years ago.



Epic Product Fails