Monday, December 1, 2008

Jewellery Singapore

Jewellery Singapore - Shortchanged on Gold

As recession begins to bite, some Singapore jewellers seems to be skimping of the gold content according to the Today's Consumer Alert report: "Not all that glitters is all gold" and Straits Times "Jewellery that's not worth its weight in gold" on 2 December 2008.



gold jewellery - shortchanged on gold in SingaporeFor the first time, the Consumer Association of Singapore (Case) has tested the fineness standard in gold sold in shops in the Singapore suburbs. Case found that out of the 30 pieces taken from 30 retailers, one-sixth (5 pieces) of the samples taken failed to meet the 22-carat or 91.6% pure gold standard. SAO said that most of the 5 failed its test by a few decimal points. The worst score was 85.94 per cent.

There have also been instances of 8 retailers overcharging for example charging customers for the gold that was lost in the making of the jewellery, a practice stopped here in 1995.

Also, most jewelery retailers weighed the gold items only when they were asked to do so.

Worse still, three out of the five items that failed the gold test came from retailers who were members of the Singapore Jewelers Association.

Two of the shops carried the SAO (Singapore Assay Office) certification yet sold jewelery that did not carry the SAO hallmark.

The 5 jewellers claimed ignorance and blamed their suppliers. Casehas referred the cases of the 5 retailers as Catherine Goldsmith & Jewellery, Chan Foon Jade & Jewellery, Boon Lay Goldsmiths & Jewellers, Teng Huat Jewellery and Sri Meeachi Jewellers to Spring Singapore and the Trade and Industry Ministry for further investigation.

These jewellers are blaming their suppliers for their items failing the gold purity test. Hello? These jewelers should know that as sellers to the public, they are responsible in ensuring the gold meets the fineness standard. The buck stops with them. So they better have their jewellery items checked before they put it up for sale.

On 7 December 2008, the Singapore Jewellers Association announced that it has set up a Hotline: 6533-4053 for the public to call if they require assistance in getting a refund from association members whose 24k or 22k gold does not meet fineness standards. Members who flout rules may be blacklisted or kicked out of the association, though this has not been done before.

The jewellers' group is looking into getting a special X-ray device in its office so members can analyze any jewellery item's gold content in minutes.

Chan Foon Jade & Jewel, Boon Lay Goldsmiths & jewellers and Teng Huat Jewellery are members of the association.

The Singapore Jewellery Market

This year, Case received 2 gold-related complaints from the public and none last year. In 2006, jewelery sales were estimated to be worth $1.5 billion of which gold jewellery sales were a "small" percentage according to Ho Nai Chuen, President of the Singapore Jewellers Association. Only 30 out of the estimated 500 jewellery outlets in Singapore are certified, Mr Ho of the Singapore Jewellers Association said. They cited high costs of creditation(certification costs $1.10 per item for retailers) as the reason for not having the jewellery certified by Singapore Assay Office.

The Singapore Jewellers Association is the only group in the jewellery trade which is worth over $1 billion in sales in Singapore alone. It has 155 members with about 335 outlets across the island. Of the 500 jewellery outlets in Singapore, Mr Ho estimates that 100 of them have a substantial gold jewellery inventory.



How to Avoid Being Shortchanged on Gold Jewellery:

  1. Have the jewellery weighed in your presence without the price tag. Ask for a detailed breakdown to be stated in the receipt ie. unit price per gram, gold purity and net weight of the gold item.
  2. Check the hallmarks (etched inscriptions) on jewellery items which should have the jeweller's stamp and another mark indicating the purity of the gold. In addition, those certified by the Singapore Assay Office should have the SAO stamp.
  3. If you have doubts about the gold content in the jewellery you have purchased, you can send it to SAO for testing. Each item will cost $2.40 for an x-ray test (which will not damage your item) A simple pass/fail result can be obtained within an hour. A more detailed report which included the gold and alloy content used, takes about a day.
  4. If the item fails the test, make a complaint with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, under the Consumer Protection (Trade Description and Safety Requirements) Act. Consumers who are overcharged can approach Spring Singapore under the Weights and Measures Act. If the retailer has breached the Consumer Protection Act, you can make a claim at the Small Claims Tribunal. For tourists, you can make a complaint through the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board (STPB).
  5. Avoid jewellery shops that bills you for "gold loss" in their price. They should only charge the net weight based n current prices, negotiable workmanship fees and tax.
If jewellery items at certain stores are advertised at much lower prices than other retailers, there is reason for you to be on your guard. In gold jewellery, there is no such thing as "cheap and good". You get what you pay for.

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1 comment:

wincent said...

I agree there are a lot of leisure activities one can take up in singapore. Just count the number of singapore tourist attractions and you will know that Singapore ain't that boring a place.