Jewellery Stores’ weighing machines, questionable!

14/10/2016 14:20

The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on all jewellery stores retailing gold or any other precious metals to be more transparent and responsible while doing business.

Jewellery stores must ensure that the jewellery weighing process is carried out under the supervision of the consumer and not in a secluded back room. They need to also ensure that their weighing machines are properly calibrated and certified by the Department of Weights and Measures.  

A complaints-driven snap survey conducted by the Council covering sixteen jewellery stores1 in the Central, Northern and Western Divisions found that weighing machines in all sixteen stores surveyed did not have valid weighing stickers on their machines to indicate that they were calibrated by the Department of Weights and Measures.

Section 27 (1) of the National and Trade Measurement Decree 1989 states that every measuring instrument used for trade should be produced to an inspector for inspection at least once every 12 months or before it is used. Section 28 of the Decree establishes that it is an offence if traders do not comply with this provision.

The Council is warning all traders to have their weighing machines certified immediately. The Council has also informed the Department of Weights and Measures of the findings of the survey for their necessary action. We now expect the Weights and Measures officials to check all weighing machines used by the jewellery stores in order to protect consumers and to ensure weighing scales meet the standard.

The calibration of the weighing machines is necessary to ensure that these machines provide accurate weight of the gold. Also, to avoid traders tampering with the weighing machine which can result in more profits through manipulative means.

Consumers are also advised to be cautious on their next visit to jewellery stores to check for the Department of Weights and Measures stamp (in the form of a sticker) that should be placed on the face of the scale before they agree to have their jewellery weighed. The sticker should state (date, month and year) when the instrument was checked and it should have a ‘coat of arms’ and a serial number.

If the sticker stamp is missing or the date stated on the stamp has expired or there is no “coat of arms” or serial numbers, the consumers should then report the matter to the Council or to the Department of Weights and Measures.

The Council is also demanding the jewellery stores to place their weighing machines in an open area where consumers can view the weighing. Our findings showed that out of the 16 stores that were surveyed, only one jewellery store in Lautoka was not carrying out the weighing process in full view of the customer. Weighing of jewellery was done in a back room and a screen was placed in the front counter for the customer to see only the weight of the item. There could be more jewellery stores engaged in similar practice.

As a responsible consumer, one should not hesitate to demand the trader to weigh the jewellery in his/her presence or otherwise call the National Consumer Helpline, Toll Free Number – 155.

The festival of lights, Diwali is nearing and a number of consumers will be investing in gold jewellery, hence, the traders must uphold best business practice and the law of the land.

1Suva - Lords Jewelers; Mac Pala Jewelers; Anita Jewelers; Jewels Fiji; Tulja Jewelers;

Lautoka - Bal Krishna Jewelers; Bahkti Jewelers;  Rupam Jewelers (Shop 1 and 2); Shakti Jewelers; Anita Jewelers;

Nadi - Anita Jewelers; Madavji Palas Ltd;

Labasa - Kartik Jewelers; Lodhia Jewelers; Janta Store.