Less than the gold standard

SINGAPORE - You might be getting less than what you paid for when it comes to buying gold jewellery at some stores here.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) has found that such stores engage in unfair practices.

These include refusing to weigh the gold, weighing the item with the price tag still attached - which adds to weight - or using scales that were not certified for accuracy.

The consumer watchdog's test of 20 randomly picked gold jewellery retailers in November found that all did not weigh the jewellery in front of Case mystery shoppers until they were prompted to do so.

Even then, two in Geylang Serai - Kedai Emas Kampung Melayu and Lam Liang Kwang Goldsmith & Jewellers - refused.

Of the 18 who weighed the jewellery, 13 failed to remove the attached price tag. When told to do so, all obliged, except Chennai Goldsmith & Jewellery Pte Ltd in Little India.

Four retailers were also found to have used non-certifed scales.

Three of these scales were battery-operated. MyPaper understands that such scales are not allowed for use in gold jewellery retailing as they are deemed to be less accurate.

Another four failed to hand out itemised receipts which include the gold price and workmanship costs.

The only good news: The gold jewellery pieces all passed purity requirements here.

In a statement released yesterday, Case urged retailers to stop unfair practices. "We hope such surveys will enhance transparency and improve business practices," said Case's executive director, Mr Seah Seng Choon.

Mr Peter Lam, 60, who co-owns Lam Liang Kwang Goldsmith & Jewellers, slammed Case for "barking up the wrong tree".

"Case is just targeting the wrong people...goldsmiths are not at the top of the list for industries with the most complaints," he said.

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