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Carati lost a tribunal case because it had not told its customer about the maintenance required on a rhodium plated ring
Carati lost a tribunal case because it had not told its customer about the maintenance required on a rhodium plated ring

Jewellers warned over rhodium plating

New Zealand jewellers have been warned they must inform consumers that white gold and silver jewellery for sale in their stores has been plated with rhodium and may need regular maintenance.
New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has written to Kiwi jewellers ahead of Christmas, following a tribunal case which ruled that a consumer had not been adequately informed about the regular maintenance or re-plating that would be needed on a white gold engagement ring he had bought.

The Auckland jewellery store involved in the case, Carati – which also operates in Australia – was ordered to repay the full NZ$5,600 price of the ring to the buyer, Darrell Sveistrup. The tribunal decided he should have been told that the ring had been rhodium plated and would need regular re-plating.

The practice of plating white gold or silver to enhance the colour, make it more scratch resistant or, in the case of silver, to prevent tarnishing, is common across the jewellery industry. 

Before the tribunal ruling won support from the Commerce Commission, Jewellers Association of New Zealand executive Mark Beckett called the decision "nonsense" and said he intended to fight for a rehearing, according to Beckett claimed the ring sold by Carati was similar to thousands of others in New Zealand stores, priced to meet New Zealand budgets.

The Commission said it was not concerned about the practice of rhodium plating white gold or silver, but added that the public still need to be adequately informed about what they are buying.

Commerce Commission enforcement manager Greg Allan explained, “Consumers are entitled to receive all information necessary for them to make a fully informed decision about goods before they purchase. If they are not given relevant information, this may place the retailer at risk of breaching the Fair Trading Act.”

Allan advised consumers that have a concern about white gold or silver jewellery they have already purchased to raise the issue in the first instance with the retailer. 

The Commission added that it is not running any investigations into white gold or silver jewellery at present. 

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Friday, 15 November, 2019 01:20pm
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