Faulty scales at gold-tradeshops benefited customers

Simon Bristow

IT may not resemble the Klondike but the fertile plains of North East Lincolnshire have nonetheless proved profitable for gold sellers, after shops were found to be incorrectly weighing the metal in their customers’ favour.

An investigation by trading standards officers found more than 70 per cent of the shops visited were using “inappropriate” or inaccurate scales.

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A team from North East Lincolnshire Council visited 16 jewellers and two second-hand shops as part of a drive to ensure “proper and fair” practices in the second-hand gold trade.

Of the firms visited, 11 buy or sell gold by weight on the premises, and eight of these were found to be using the wrong scales.

Only two traders were found to be operating in accordance with all the rules.

The council said one of the key aims had been to protect customers, but traders had also benefited as most of the incorrect scales had been working in the favour of their customers.

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Coun Steve Beasant, portfolio holder for community safety, neighbourhoods and customer services, said: “We are really pleased with the results of this campaign.

“Discovering that some traders were not using the correct scales for weighing second-hand gold has allowed us to give them guidance to ensure they give a fair service to customers – and it has helped the traders, too.

“We hope this also helps to inform people wanting to sell their gold items.

“There are plenty of companies out there offering cash for gold, particularly over the internet, so it is important that consumers know what they can expect in terms of a fair deal.”

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The council has also offered advice for people wanting to buy or sell second-hand gold.

The tips include not responding to buyers’ adverts if they have no fixed address, and being aware that a buyer’s offer for a piece of jewellery is not necessarily a reflection of its value.

Class II stamped scales should be used if any reference to weight is made during a purchase, and gold purity can be found in the carat marking on the hallmarking stamp.

All dealers in precious metals are required by law to display a hallmarking notice in the location where they deal with customers.