If you sell products that are priced by weight in Australia, it’s definitely worth knowing your obligations when it comes to verification of your scales. The short answer is yes, if you sell products by weight, you must have a trade verified scale. While many of the laws surrounding the supply of scales relate to the companies who sell them, it’s important to note that the onus still falls upon businesses to ensure their scales are verified. Let’s explore this in more detail.
What is a trade verified scale?
A trade verified scale is a weighing instrument that has been verified by the NMI (National Measurement Institute). In short, the scale must be tested and approved by the NMI before sale. So, this is where people often get confused. It’s the scale manufacturer who needs to submit their prototype to NMI for testing, and they can be penalised for selling products that aren’t trade verified.
However, as a business that sells products by weight, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you purchase and use NMI-approved scales in your daily operations. So, when purchasing a scale for your business, make sure you get confirmation from the provider that the scales are trade verified by way of a NMI Approval Number.
Who needs to use a trade verified scale?
Every business that sells products priced by weight is required to use a trade verified scale. So, this means products such as fruit and vegetables, meat and all other weighed items must be priced by using NMI-approved scales.
For businesses that sell pre-packaged products with a fixed weight printed on the label, you’re not required by law to use trade verified scales. That being said, using poor-quality scales in your production facilities is never a good idea. Firstly, you could be short-changing yourself by over-packing your products. But most importantly, you can face significant fines if found to be short-changing your customers. For example, if you provide pre-packed goods to a supermarket for sale, it’s your responsibility to ensure the item is the correct weight, not the supermarket’s.
Do I need to have my scales checked regularly?
Legally, you no longer need to have scales checked regularly. The previous law stated they should be re-verified every two years, but this is no longer the case. Scales now only need to be trade verified when being provided to a client. However, if at any stage you adjust or repair the scale, it does need to be re-verified.
The benefits of trade verified scales
There are a few key benefits to using trade verified scales, including:
- Increasing customer confidence
- Save money by not under-charging for products
- Avoid costly fines and penalties for over-charging
What are the penalties for not using a trade verified scale?
There are significant penalties for businesses found to be short-changing their customers, which is exactly why you need trade-verified scales. If caught using non-verified scales, you’ve got no defence. The law prescribes fines of up to $170,000 for businesses and $34,000 for individuals. Needless to say, using non-verified scales is a pretty risky business.
In addition to the requirement that you use trade verified scales, you also need to ensure the scales are kept clean, used correctly, and verified after every repair of adjustment.