Gold Retailers lack transparency

22/05/2017 16:22

The Consumer Council of Fiji reiterates its call that mandatory standard must be introduced to curb illegal trade practices in the marketplace where consumers unknowingly lose their hard-earned money.

Gauging from the increase in number of complaints received by the Council over the years, it is apparent that lack of mandatory standards to guide the sale of gold jewellery has resulted in consumers losing large sum of money to gold fraudsters.

Mandatory standard will protect the public in its purchases of gold jewellery especially with regard to standards of fineness and the prevention of adulteration, be it deliberate or accidental. Also, it will facilitate fair trade and protect consumers from buying metal which has no value.

There are gold retailers who don’t weigh gold jewellery in the presence of the buyer; they sell   14ct or 18ct as 22ct gold or gold plated jewellery or one gram gold jewellery as 22ct; key information such as weight, price per gram, total weight etc. is not stated on the invoice; and guarantee paper is also not given when gold is purchased. Unsuspecting consumers end up buying fake or underweight jewellery in the absence of any mandatory standard. In this way, many consumers have lost money.

Recently the Council came across, a consumer who returned gold jewellery weighing 20.5 grams to a jewellery shop was duped into accepting replacement gold jewellery of only 17.6 grams.

The consumer had initially purchased four 22ct gold bangles weighing 20.5 grams for $1,960 but was unsatisfied with the workmanship of the product, hence, decided to seek replacement goods. However, the trader handed her only two 22ct gold bangles which weighed 17.6grams.

The trader refused to provide a refund of 2.9 grams of gold when this difference was pointed out by the consumer.

Tourists visiting our shores are also victims of such trickery by some unscrupulous traders.  For instance, when tourists buy gold jewellery, they will be told that the gold they bought was of 22 ct but when they get the gold tested in their country they discover that the gold is actually only of 14 or 18 ct.

The Council understands that consumers invest in expensive jewellery for weddings, birthdays and other special occasions, hence, the items carry high emotional value as well.  When consumers are fooled into accepting substandard products, it tends to leave a very bitter experience between the trader and the consumer.

While the Council would like to see mandatory standards being placed on the sale of jewellery in Fiji, in the meantime it calls on consumers to be vigilant of such deceptive practices. 

Consumers should stand their ground and demand for legitimate explanations and prove of their purchase in terms of getting the item weighed in their presence and getting it tested to ensure transparency and accountability.