Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Yearlong Data Show Gold Buyer Scales Don't Measure Up

UDAF Inspections of Gold and Precious Metals Buyers in 2013 Showed
Room for Improvement in Scale Accuracy

There has been a high demand for gold and precious metals during the economic downturn of the past few years. In response to concerns from industry, consumers and other regulatory agencies, the Utah Weights and Measures Program of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) routinely inspects locations that buy and sell gold to verify that their scales are accurate. Inspectors also investigate all measurement complaints.

Results of 286 inspections of gold scales in Utah in 2013 revealed that 177, or 62 percent of the scales were out of compliance. The other 38 percent, 109 scales, passed inspection. Most of the scales provided an inaccurate weight that shorted the consumer by an average of .60 grams per transaction. While that may not seem like a lot, the March 13, 2014 market value of gold was $1,366.00 an ounce, or $48.27 per gram. While gold prices fluctuate almost daily, customers could be shorted an average of nearly $29.00 per transaction. “A few of the scales gave inaccurate weights that favored the consumer, and many scales were ‘not legal for trade’,” said Brett Gurney, weights and measures program supervisor. “Follow up inspections have been conducted and each of these scales is now in compliance,” Gurney added.

Consumer Tips

While the UDAF and other regulatory and law enforcement agencies work to make sure all businesses that buy precious metals are educated and in compliance with regulations, consumers can make sure they are getting the fair value for their gold and other precious metals by following a few simple tips:

• Look for an inspection certification label on the scale from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s Weights and Measures Program, indicating it has been inspected and tested.
• Make sure you can see the scale readings.
• The scale must register zero before weighing begins. If a container is used to hold the items being weighed, the scale must register zero with the empty container on it.
• Do not allow weighing if the scale has wording that states “Not Legal for Trade.”
• Know if the scale is weighing in grams, troy ounces or pennyweights.
• Make sure conversion between units of measurement are correct.
• Make sure the scale is on a level surface
• Do not allow weighing if the scale indications are fluctuating; this may be caused by heating or air conditioning air currents, and may cause inaccuracies.

Visit the UDAF website for more information on scales used in commerce:

For more information, or to lodge a complaint about the accuracy of a commercial scale in Utah, contact the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, 801-538-7158801-538-7158, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Contact: Larry Lewis (801) 538-7104(801) 538-7104
Cell (801) 514-2152(801) 514-2152
Brett Gurney (801) 538-7158(801) 538-7158
Date: March 19, 2014


 These seals should be attached to scales and any other measuring device used in commerce.


 An example of an approved scale for use in commerce.  Note the Weights & Measures seal.  In this case the seal's weight is taken into account during calibration.













Posted: March 19, 2014