DUBAI // Inspectors will examine the accuracy of scales at hundreds of jewellery shops in Dubai to ensure that customers are getting their money's worth, officials said.
Five inspectors or legal verifiers from Dubai Municipality will monitor weighing instruments from next month to establish whether they meet the authority's standards. It is estimated that there are over 10,000 weighing instruments in almost 1,000 gold and jewellery stores, mostly in the gold souq in Deira.
"It is good for the customer to be safeguarded," said Fareed Mohammed, the head of metrology at the municipality's Dubai Central Laboratory. "Mostly, balances are as per the requirement. But we want to see what is available and what are the shortcomings. Our aim is to make sure customers are protected."
The inspections follow an agreement between the Dubai Central Laboratory and the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology last year.
The verifiers will spend nearly 30 minutes examining each scale, depending on its age.
"The trader will be given certificates and there will be stickers on the balances, certifying verified or failed," Mr Mohammed said.
A failed certification would mean that a shop would have to fix or replace machines. Erring traders could be warned and even fined, Mr Mohammed said.
"We estimate that by the end of the year we will finish weighing all the machines in the gold souq," he said.
Gold traders welcomed the inspections.
"It is good that the municipality will check and certify them," said Vinod Kumar, a showroom manager of Joy Alukkas' Bur Dubai branch. "Customers will feel convinced," he said, though his showroom already gets its five balances calibrated every six months. Each of the instruments can measure jewellery ranging between 10 grams and three kilograms.
"Getting a DM certification will definitely ensure customer satisfaction and it will assure them to purchase gold without any hesitation," said Joshy Michael, marketing manager of Malabar Gold. He said that his company assessed its instruments every two months.
"We have our own facility for calibrating the machines," he noted.
The municipality said that inspecting jewellery shops was only a first step.
"We will soon start verifying all weighing machines in supermarkets, perfume shops, fuel stations and everything else," Mr Mohammed said.