Consumers cheated by retailers with defective scales

08/07/2010 10:16

Some unscrupulous and irresponsible retailers are cheating consumers and not giving them value for the money, by using defective scales. The Consumer Council in the past two weeks received two complaints from the Nasinu area on underweight bread and incorrectly measured kerosene.

The Council sought the assistance of the Department of Weights & Measures whereby the department's checks found that Nasinu Hot Bread Shop of Makoi was using a scale that gave incorrect readings leading to baked bread to be under the regulated weight of 400grams. The standard weight of a normal long loaf bread is 400grams as prescribed by the Prices & Incomes Board. The scale used by Nasinu Hot Bread Shop has since been given a Rejection Certificate by the Department of Weights & Measures and ordered to cease using the scale until such time it is repaired by a certified repairer and passed by the department.

In the second case, the complainant claimed to have been sold the wrong volume of kerosene from Pallani Enterprises of Nasole, Nasinu. It has been found that the shop was using a 4litre plastic bottle for measuring kerosene volume to its customers. The Department of Weights & Measures has found the bottle to be giving incorrect readings and volume. A Rejection Certification was issued and owner was asked to stop using the bottle.

The Consumer Council believes that such cases are not unusual and normally occur in neighborhood shops at obscure locations away from the reach of market surveillance authorities. The Council is warning unscrupulous retailers that its surveillance team are on the lookout for these dishonest practices and will refer the cheats to regulatory authorities for appropriate action and penalties. We also urge Consumers to contact the Council's offices if they suspect that a retailer's scale is not working or if they have been sold underweight products. The fact that two retailers have been caught has been due mainly to two consumers raising the matter with the Council. We urge Consumers to be vigilant as these dishonest practices are occurring in the market.

All measuring instruments should be tested and given a stamp of approval by the Dept. of Weights & Measures and its inspectors before being used for trading. The falsification of standards of measures is an offence under National and Trade Measurement Decree.

The Council is also calling on the Department of Weights & Measure to step up its inspections of measuring instruments and these should be inspected at least once in every 12 months and where possible, a random (on-spot) check should also be done.