New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Obtains Judgment Against South Jersey Jeweler For Violating Law That Protects Consumers Seeking to Trade Their Gold For Cash
NEWARK – The owner of a Bellmawr, Camden County jewelry store has pleaded guilty, and was ordered to pay $15,000 in penalties, for multiple violations of the State law designed to protect consumers who seek to trade in gold or other precious metals for cash, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and its Office of Weights and Measures announced today.
"When consumers choose to part with their jewelry in exchange for cash, it is often a difficult decision made during hard economic times,” Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. "This very significant penalty demonstrates just how seriously we take the laws that protect those consumers, by ensuring transparency and accountability in the weighing, testing, and pricing of their precious metals."
The Office of Weights and Measures conducted an on-site inspection of Phil Mund Jewelry, in Bellmawr, after receiving information provided by the Bellmawr Police Department. The inspector noted several violations of New Jersey's Weights and Measures Act. The violations included failure to test the fineness of precious metals in plain view of the seller; failure to weigh precious metals in plain view of the seller; failure to clearly and prominently display the price being offered for precious metals, expressed as price per standard measure or weight; and failure to issue proper serialized and detailed receipts to the sellers of precious metals.
"This judgment sends a very clear message about the importance of the law that protects consumers seeking to sell their gold and jewelry,” Sharon Joyce, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, said. "The law requires jewelers to clearly post their current prices for gold and other precious metals, to conduct all weighing and testing of jewelry within plain sight of the owner who wishes to sell them, and to provide detailed and accurate receipts once the sale has been made."
Robert J. Campanelli, Acting State Superintendent of the State Office of Weights and Measures, said, "In this era of high gold prices, the Office of Weights and Measures has heightened its surveillance of precious metal buyers and is seeking enhanced cooperation with local police forces."
Phil Mund Jr., owner of the store, on March 28, 2012 pleaded guilty in municipal court to 30 counts of violating the Weights and Measures Act, and was ordered to pay $15,000, or the maximum penalty of $500 per count.
Advice for Consumers When Selling Precious Metals or Jewelry
The Division of Consumer Affairs provides important advice and information fort those wishing to sell their precious metals or jewelry, in the following publications:
Consumer tips include:
- Know with whom you are doing business. The buyer of precious metals and jewelry must include their name and address in all advertisements and at the point of purchase.
- Remember that any weighting and testing of your precious metals or jewelry must be done in plain view of you, the seller.
- Check the scale being used to weight your precious metals or jewelry. The scale must bear a blue New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures sticker, dated to show the scale has been tested by the State within the last 12 months. Make sure the scale bears a seal that is not broken; a broken seal indicates possible tampering.
- Prices must be prominently posted.
- Be sure to get a complete sales receipt. The receipt must include the buyer's name and address; the date of the transaction; the names of the precious metals purchased; the fineness and weights of the precious metals purchased; the prices paid for the precious metals at the standard measures of weight; and the name, address, and signature of the seller.
- After the sale, the buyer is required to keep the item purchased for at least two business days; and to keep a serialized receipt of each transaction for at least one year.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey ) or 973-504-6200.
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