// A hallmarking council has found that 24% of items were suspected as fake
// The findings came from a 10-day internet sweep by WRi Group in partnership with Incopro
New research has found that a third of gold jewellery sold online in the UK is suspected as being fake.
The British Hallmarking Council and the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office have called on the government as well as ecommerces to protect shoppers after finding that online consumers of gold jewellery are being duped by internet traders.
The findings came from a 10-day internet sweep by WRi Group in partnership with Incopro, which revealed that 36 per cent of the 17,657 gold jewellery listings on sites such as Amazon had not been advertised as hallmarked.
- Beaverbrooks’ sales shine in “competitive jewellery market”
- Karen Millen to launch 90-piece jewellery range
A total of 24 per cent of items were suspected as fake and therefore were being sold illegally.
Meanwhile, Ebay sellers alone accounted for 56 per cent of all suspect items of gold jewellery being sold online, where there was no mention of a hallmark, between March 21 and April 1 2019.
The research also suggests around 150,000 items of fake gold jewellery could be listed for sale in the UK each year, through online marketplaces such as Ebay and Amazon.
“The UK Hallmarking Act (1973) was put in place to protect consumers and retail jewellers from counterfeits, but the application of the legislation to online trading activity remains untested,” British Hallmarking Council chairman Noel Hunter said.
“And we have seen little appetite from the internet giants to step up enforcement or adequately protect consumers.
“Our internet sweep highlights just a fraction of the infringements made by online sellers of ‘precious metal jewellery’ in the UK today,” he said.
“A duty of enforcement currently rests with local Trading Standards departments, who have suffered a 50 per cent cut in their resources over the last five years. Adequate powers are necessary to deal with internet trade.”
Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office deputy warden Robert Organ said: “We are joining the British Hallmarking Council in calling on the government to work with us and the other Assay Offices in the UK, to develop a robust enforcement strategy that protects consumers and businesses from internet based, unfair trading practices.
“This must include a review of the current Hallmarking Act to see if it could be extended to cover internet trade,” he said.
“We are also asking the government to work with Amazon and Ebay to increase hallmarking information on precious metal jewellery listings, raising consumer and seller awareness about hallmarking and the law.”
Organ added that consumers are advised to always check for a hallmark “as a guarantee”.