The equivocality on testing of gold content is becoming a “blind” spot for gold jeweller to publicly “pick-pocket” consumers.
Gold jewellery has to “buy and sell somewhere” – Picture D.N. Thach
Despite the enforecement of Policy 22 on gold quality has taken affect more than 1 year, the gold jewellery market has hardly changed. The issues of cheating on the gold content are still popular. Determining the gold age or gold content is depended on the gold store owner.
Last week, we visited a long established gold shop in Quang Trung street (Ward 10, Go Vap district) to sell a hand bracelet. The store employee put the bracelet on the scale and said “This bracelet has float gold (product with empty inside – Reporter) so we can only tell the age of gold and the price when we brew it down”. We question, what will happen if the gold brew and the store refuse to buy or give lower price. The cold reply “Then we will not buy”.
We brought the bracelet to other area with many gold stores surrounding Go Vap Market in one of the stores on Nguyen Van Nghi street. The store employee picked up the bracelet and rub on a black stone which turn stripe, then dropped a small drop of liquid on the stone, the bracelet was quickly swipe and was put on the scale. After the testing period, the employee said “We buy 750.000 vnd. Gold has very low age, only above 5. If you want higher price, you should go back to the place you bought the bracelet and re-sell it”. We continue to bring the bracelet to another store on Le Quang Dinh street (Binh Thanh district) and after the inspection, the employee said they will buy back with 1,05 million vnd for the gold content of only 57%.
The method of identify the gold content by rubbing on the stone as above is widely used. According to the evaluation from a gold craftsman with many years’ experience, this method is only relative and not accurate because of eye-examining and compare with the gold content of the similar products. Person with lack of experience or the gold store with shady practice will put the gold age much lower than the actual age.
In order to determine the age of gold, we brought this bracelet to the Saigon Jewellery Corporation – SJC for inspection. Mr. Huynh Huc Nghi, Deputy Sale Manager of SJC, told us: “Through spectrum method, the gold content is 60%”. Brought this product to another inspection center managed by Directorate For Standards, Metrology and Quality appointed by the Ministry of Science and Technology. After using the Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), the center confirmed the gold content of this product is ranging from 60,7% to 61,43%. The EDS methodology is considered quite accurate in determining the age of gold. However, we can see that each machine gave a different gold content result.
Practice of buy and re-sell from the same store
Policy No. 22 regulates the management of gold measurement and the management of gold jewellery in the market took effect on June 1st 2014 with the hope of bringing out the transparency and protecting consumers from the equivocality of determining the gold age. However, the messy situation of determining the gold content is still happening. President of the Saigon Jewellery Association, Mr. Nguyen Van Dung informed: “The practice of “buy and re-sell from the same store” still exists in the gold jewellery market. Customers will get the 75% gold content at one store but will be given a lower gold content when resell at another place, with 70% – 73% gold content or even lower”.
In similar, according to the current regulations of 17 standards of gold content from 18K (with gold content of 33,3%) to 24K (99,9%). If the products do not meet those standards, the gold content will be priced based on its gold content but method of calculating the gold content in many gold stores is inconsistent. Mr. Dung admitted: “The gold product with the gold content which does not belong to the 17 regulated standards will not be informed clearly to the customers. The different selling price on gold is also the resell value. With the same gold content, different stores will have the price difference of 1 – 2 million VND / ounce. Sometimes the product with gold content of 73% was sold with the price of 76% or 78% gold content. The consumers will face difficulty in determining the price. In many cases, when customers really like the products, the retailers will sold at the price they wanted, when customers resell the products at a different places they will be offered lower price”.
SJC collects the fee of 140.000 VND / ounce of the deformed SJC gold bar.
A numbers of gold store surround the Ba Chieu Market (Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City) put up a notice board that for every deformed SJC gold bar, they will charge an extra fee of 140.000 VND / ounce. These stores stated that this is the fee given out by SJC from the beginning of April and still apply till today.
Deformed SJC gold bar has a very high extra charge – Picture: D. N. Thach
With the current gold price of 35 million VND / ounce, the extra fee of 140.000 VND / ounce for the deformed gold bar with equivalent 0.4% of the selling price is too high. SJC representative explained the extra fee was originated from the cost that the company has to pay. The amount of deformed gold bar which the company bought back will remain up to two weeks in the warehouse because minimum amount of 2.000 ounces per order is required when re-mold at the Central Bank. During that period, company has to shoulder the cost of equivalent to 7% / year interest rate.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nguyen Hoang Minh, Deputy Director of Central Bank Ho Chi Minh Branch, informed: “Since beginning of April, the Central Bank and SJC had a meeting to reduce processing time of gold bar that did not meet the market standards. After the meeting, both parties have come to the conclusion of reduce the processing time from 1 time / 2 weeks to 1 time / week. SJC processes the paperwork to remold the deform gold bar and sent to Central bank within couple days. The Central Bank will open the molding frame for SJC to process the re-molding process under the supervision of Central Bank. The Central Bank did not collect any fee from SJC. Central Bank always supports the company to reduce un-necessary fees and provide a reasonable price for the consumers”.
According Thanh Niên