AVENEL – State Office of Weights and Measures officers have cited 49 gold and jewelry buying businesses with more than 1,600 summonses for alleged violations of state statutes, during a just-concluded statewide inspection sweep that found inaccurate scales that misweighed items and resulted in consumers receiving less money.
The Precious Metals Task Force commenced its inspections in June following receipt of a consumer complaint. The task force conducted unannounced inspections of jewelry stores and also transient buyers of gold and jewelry who typically operate within hotels and frequently move.
“Some of the buyers defrauded consumers, short-weighing their items and likely paying them less than the true value of the items,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said. “We found violations statewide and we’re putting the industry on notice that we won’t tolerate the cheating of consumers.”
A scale that had a spring mounted under the weighing platform was among the confiscated scales displayed at a press conference today at the state Office of Weights and Measures in Avenel. The spring pushed back as an item was weighed, producing an inaccurate reading.
“Consumers who need to sell their heirlooms and keepsakes to raise cash deserve to get every dollar that their gold, jewelry and precious metals are worth. But buyers who use unapproved, uninspected or purposely tampered with scales are cheating consumers out of money,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.
The businesses were cited for violations of laws that require detailed receipts to be provided to sellers, as well as for the use of scales that were found to be unregistered, not inspected, not approved for use in New Jersey, and that had been unsealed and tampered with.
Complete receipts given to consumers selling their items must include information about the type of precious metal or item purchased, the fineness (quality) of the metal, the weights of the items purchased, the prices paid, and the name and address of the buyer. That information is important to the consumer who may later wish to dispute the transaction or attempt to reclaim their jewelry during the 48 hours when the buyer is required to keep the purchased item.
Transient gold and jewelry buying businesses are required to post a $5,000 bond with the state in order to conduct business.
Calcagni noted that consumers can contact the State Office of Weights and Measures directly at 1-732-815-4840. Complaints also can be filed online at www.njconsumeraffairs.gov .
Deputy Attorney General Neil Magnus is representing the state in this matter. The civil penalty for each violation conviction ranges from $100 to $500, with the court setting the exact penalty.
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