Case and jewellers' association launch new accreditation scheme for jewellery industry

Consumers planning to buy jewellery will get a new layer of protection against unfair business practices under an accreditation scheme launched on Thursday.
Consumers planning to buy jewellery will get a new layer of protection against unfair business practices under an accreditation scheme launched on Thursday.ST PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN

SINGAPORE - Consumers planning to buy jewellery will get a new layer of protection against unfair business practices under an accreditation scheme launched on Thursday (Oct 22).

The scheme, by the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) and the Singapore Jewellers Association (SJA), require accredited businesses to have clear refund policies, provide detailed cost breakdowns and have knowledgeable sales staff.

So far, 22 jewellery companies, with a total of 136 outlets, have been accredited. They include big players such as SK Jewellery, which has 26 outlets, and Goldheart Jewelry, which has 21.

Another 11 companies will be accredited by the end of the year, Case said at the launch, held at the four-day Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair 2015 which opened at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Thursday.

Accredited businesses, which will be able to display the CaseTrust logo on their shop fronts and marketing materials, must attend mediation at the Case Mediation Centre when there are disputes.

Once the sale of a 916 or 999 fineness gold jewellery 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 2015. Most were about defective goods, refund policies and misrepresentation, and involved smaller businesses. A handful were about customers who were overcharged for gold jewellery.

In November 2014, Case tested 20 gold jewellery pieces from 20 randomly selected shops and found that one 999 fineness gold baby bangle failed the gold fineness national standards.

"We were disappointed... Gold jewellery is a highly priced item and consumers should be getting that they paid for," said Case's president Lim Biow Chuan, who is also MP for Mountbatten SMC.

He added: "With this accreditation scheme, consumers who shop at accredited jewellery shops can be assured of a more positive shopping experience. There is also the assurance that all jewellery sold by these businesses are free of defects as far as possible."

Mr Ho Nai Chuen, president of SJA, which has 300 members representing 145 companies, said: "Our target is to reach out to some of the smaller jewellers, provide the necessary guidance and assistance so that they are ready to go through the stringent assessment process in preparation for their certified status."

mellinjm@sph.com.sg