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Carat disparity can fetch refund

BIS stresses hallmark importance

Calcutta: A customer who doubts a 22-carat gold jewellery can get it checked independently at authorised centres, a Bureau of Indian Standards official said in the city on Tuesday.

A customer can get compensation if the carat printed on the bill doesn't match with the test results. The compensation amount will be three times the monetary value of the difference between the promised and the actual quantity, Vishnu Gupta, deputy director general of BIS's eastern region operations, said.

Customers should try and buy hallmarked gold because that would help them get a refund/replacement if the need arises, he said.

"Tomorrow is Akshay Tritiya. Many people will buy gold. We want people to buy hallmarked gold as they will get the value for the money they pay," Gupta said. "Also, there's legal recourse in case one is cheated."

Four markings together make the hallmarking complete. The BIS mark, the carat, the identification number or mark of the hallmarking centre and the jeweller's identification number/mark.

The BIS hallmarks three carats - 22, 18 and 14.

Harshad Ajmera, the president of Indian Association for Hallmarking Centres, said there were 28 hallmarking centres in Calcutta. "Testing the exact percentage of gold takes Rs 35 for each product," he said. The list of hallmarking centres can be found on the BIS website.

A customer who has been cheated can approach the BIS if the store refuses to replace the product even after independent tests have shown the promised percentage missing from the product.

"The BIS will verify the authenticity of the complaint and if there's merit in it, the BIS will ensure the customer gets the compensation," Gupta said.

Both Ajmera and Gupta insisted that customers should ask shops to clearly mention the carat in the bill while buying any product. The invoice should have the price of gold, the making charge and the hallmarking charge mentioned separately.

Every gold jewellery manufacturer need to send each and every piece of jewellery for hallmarking. "The hallmarking centres examine each and every piece. We see whether the carat mentioned in the document is present in the metal. If it matches we give the hallmark," Ajmera, who runs the JJ Hallmarking Centre at the Wood Street-Shakespeare Sarani crossing, said.

Hallmarked jewellery can be mortgaged easily while applying for loans. "Often, banks test and find that non-hallmarked jewellery doesn't have the percentage of gold claimed by an applicant," a BIS official said. "Either the application gets rejected or the loan amount reduced."

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