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Wednesday, Aug 28, 2002

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MRTPC directive to jewellers on BIS plea

Richa Mishra

The Commission also directed that the jewellers would ascertain the purity and contents of the jewellery and abide by the relevant norms before selling the product to the consumer.

NEW DELHI, Aug. 27

THE next time you buy gold jewellery make sure the jeweller certifies what he is selling.

One such case filed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is being considered by the Monopolies & Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) against about 31 jewellers across the country for overstating the purity of the gold and charging the price at the prevailing rate of purity.

Out of the 31 jewellers, some have already filed their replies with the Commission. So the Commission on Tuesday directed the jewellers those who have not filed their replies to file them in four weeks' time and asked BIS to submit its rejoinder. Besides, the Commission recorded the undertaking of one Delhi-based jeweller that he would not indulge in any unfair trade practice (UTP).

It also directed that the respondent (jeweller) would ascertain the purity and contents of the jewellery and abide by the relevant norms before selling the product to the consumer.

In a general market survey, BIS officials visited some of the retail jewellery shops in different markets to verify the general purity of gold jewellery being sold and to promote Indian Standards and Certification Schemes in respect of gold jewellery.

The whole purpose of the survey was to create public awareness about the purity of the gold given to the customers by the shopkeepers and showroom owners.

The main contention of BIS was that it was common knowledge that gold jewellery was expensive and precious items which the gullible consumers bought from the sellers were bought with some amount of faith and confidence reposed in them. The sellers, because of the very nature of the trade, were bound to claim particular purity for the gold jewellery items at the time of sales to the customers.

Such a class of purchasers did not have the means to instantaneously verify the claimed purity of gold in the jewellery the shopkeepers sold, BIS had submitted. "The customers, therefore, pay for the value they think they were buying," it said.

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