Trading Standards: enforcement of hallmarking law

Guidance for Trading Standards officers on how to enforce the hallmarking law.

Enforcement of hallmarking law is important because it involves high value items in an industry which is significant in size. Sales of precious metal items help to drive economic prosperity

If some traders don’t get their products hallmarked, it disadvantages other businesses, as well as consumers. Hallmarking fraud affects people every day. Precious metals are expensive so if people pay a high price for something that isn’t authentic, the impact can be significant.

The hallmark assures the quality of products in business and gives consumers confidence in purchasing. The Hallmarking Act is enforced by local authority Trading Standards officers.

Investigating fraud

Elected members of local authorities often see Trading Standards as a low priority area for spending, and hallmarking may be seen as a low priority area for enforcement, given the need to focus on safety and vulnerable people. Often there is an impression that there are no problems with hallmarking as there are low levels of complaints. But this is often because consumers don’t know about hallmarking and don’t realise they are being defrauded.

If Trading Standard officers investigate, however, they will find non-compliance. There is a significant amount of fake jewellery in the market.

Effective enforcement of hallmarking highlights unscrupulous business, and attracts the attention of the public as people are interested in gold and silver.

Building confidence in businesses

Trading Standards departments can build confidence in the local business community by working together with local businesses to protect their interests and protect the consumer. Proportionate and measured action gets results, especially when the Assay Offices are involved as they can provide technical knowledge and expertise.

Applying for the Touchstone Award

You can raise the profile of your team by applying for the Touchstone Award for Trading Standards enforcement of Hallmarking law. It is one of the most prestigious available to Trading Standards and is awarded by the British Hallmarking Council annually.

Enforcing the law

Contact who will put you in touch with the right person to discuss how to plan hallmarking enforcement action.

Find information about enforcement of the Weights and Measures Act and hallmarking.

Published 23 August 2019