Consumers buying jewellery will be better protected against unfair business practices under an accreditation scheme launched yesterday.
The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) and Singapore Jewellers Association (SJA) require accredited businesses to have clear refund policies, provide detailed cost breakdowns and employ knowledgeable sales staff.
Some 22 SJA members, with a total of 136 outlets, were accredited yesterday. They include big chains such as SK Jewellery and Goldheart Jewelry.
We were disappointed... gold jewellery is a highly priced item and consumers should be getting what they pay for.
MR LIM BIOW CHUAN, Case's president, on a gold bangle that was found to be less pure than claimed
Another 11 companies will be accredited by the end of the year, Case revealed at the four-day Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair 2015, which opened at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre yesterday.
Accredited businesses, which will be able to display the CaseTrust logo on their shop fronts and marketing material, must attend the Case Mediation Centre when there are disputes.
Once the sale of 916 or 999 gold jewellery - which should contain at least 91.6 per cent and 99.9 per cent of gold - has been confirmed, they must weigh the piece without any price tag or label attached to it, if the customer requests it.
They must also provide a clear breakdown of the labour charges, nett gold weight and gold fineness in the receipt.
Case received 96 complaints involving the jewellery industry between January 2012 and September this year. Most were about defective goods, refund policies and misrepresentation, and involved smaller businesses. A handful were from customers who were overcharged for gold jewellery.
Last November, Case tested 20 gold jewellery pieces from 20 randomly selected shops and found that one 999 gold baby bangle was less pure than claimed.
"We were disappointed... gold jewellery is a highly priced item and consumers should be getting what they pay for," said Case president Lim Biow Chuan.
He added that with the scheme, which aims to raise professional standards, consumers can be assured that all jewellery sold by accredited shops is "free of defects as far as possible".
There are about 800 jewellery shops in Singapore.
The SJA has 300 members who represent 145 companies. Its president Ho Nai Chuen said it plans to help smaller jewellers to prepare for the certification. It hopes to have 200 accredited members within the next 18 months.