CASE uncovers unfair retail practices among gold retailers

A test on 20 randomly picked gold jewellery retailers conducted by The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) found that while their gold pieces passed the fineness requirement test, most of them are engaging in unfair retail practices. -- ST FILE
A test on 20 randomly picked gold jewellery retailers conducted by The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) found that while their gold pieces passed the fineness requirement test, most of them are engaging in unfair retail practices. -- ST FILE PHOTO: TERENCE TAN

A test on 20 randomly picked gold jewellery retailers conducted by The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) found that while their gold pieces passed the fineness requirement test, most of them are engaging in unfair retail practices.

CASE said in a statement sent on Thursday that all 20 retailers did not initiate the weighing of the gold pieces. While most of the shops weighed the jewellery on the customer's request, two shops, Kedai Emas Kampung Melayu and Lam Liang Kwang Goldsmith and Jewellers, both located in Geylang Serai, refused to weigh the gold pieces even after they were requested to do so.

Lam Liang Kwang claimed that it only weighs the jewellery pieces for the shop's regular customers. Both shops have been informed by the consumer watchdog to weigh the gold pieces for all customers who make purchases.

Of the 18 retailers that weighed the items upon request, 13 did not initiate to remove the tag on the gold pieces before weighing them, though most obliged after being told to do so.

CASE also found that four retailers did not provide customers with a detailed cost breakdown of the jewellery, stating clearly the prices of gold and workmanship on the receipt.

The association said in its statement that gold retailers are expected to provide a breakdown in the receipt. Without it, consumers "would not be able to determine the exact amount charged for the gold piece vis-a-vis other charges."

The consumer watchdog also found three shops using battery-operated weighing scales, which are inappropriate for gold jewellery retailing. All three shops have been issued warning letters by Spring Singapore.

When CASE conducted a fineness test on the gold pieces in the 20 shops, it found that all items marked with a 916 and 999 fineness contained at least 91.6 and 99.9 per cent of gold in the main body of the jewellery. These complied with the Singapore Standard for Determination of Fineness of Precious Metal Jewellery published by Spring Singapore in 2012.

The association advised consumers to check the net weight of gold pieces and insist that the pieces are weighed in their presence before making a purchase.