DATCP NEWS RELEASE: Wisconsin Gold Buyers on the Level with Precious Metal Scales
February 8, 2013
Media Contact: Jerad Albracht, Communications Specialist, 608-224-5007 or Jim Dick, Communications Director, 608-224-5020
MADISON – As the value of gold has risen, so have the number of visits to precious metal resale shops by consumers looking to turn their unwanted jewelry into cold, hard cash. This rush opens a door for unscrupulous resellers to tip the scales in their favor. A recent survey of resale scales by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), however, finds that consumers statewide can feel confident that they are getting a fair assessment for the value of their precious metals by Wisconsin resellers.
DATCP’s Weights and Measures team recently concluded a survey of 129 scales used at resale locations statewide that purchase precious metals from consumers. The survey found that 99.2% of the time the scales were either accurate or had errors that were in the consumers’ favor. In fact, only one scale that was tested weighed inaccurately in favor of the business, while 11 actually weighed in the consumer’s favor.
“Even a small inaccuracy in a precious metals scale can cost consumers significant payouts for their items, so it’s easy to see the value in testing the accuracy of these scales statewide,” said Sandy Chalmers, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection. “We are pleased to see that consumers throughout Wisconsin are regularly given fair assessments from resellers for their items.”
While the DATCP survey found that the resellers’ scales were accurate 90.7% of the time, 76 of the scales were not approved for commercial use by federal standards. All of the rejected scales have been corrected.
DATCP’s Weights and Measures team typically focuses its testing efforts on businesses where consumers spend most of their household income such as grocery stores, big-box retailers, department stores and gas stations. The team also has the ability to conduct investigative surveys based on emerging issues, however, and the high price of gold prompted the team’s review of these precious metals scales.
“Each business day, representatives from Wisconsin’s Weights and Measures team are at different locations throughout the state testing scales, gas pumps, price scanners and package weights to ensure that consumers are getting a fair deal,” said Chalmers. “If a specific issue arises that affects a number of Wisconsin consumers, we have the ability to look into the situation and take actions to verify that businesses’ practices are acceptable under Wisconsin state laws.”
For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at http://datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.
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