Shop / Retail Scales - What you should know.

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Are your scales 'Legal for Trade'?

With the many scales being sold as 'Trade Approved' or 'legal for trade' retail / shop scales at various prices, no wonder there is so much confusion as to which to buy.


We often hear of people who are quite happily running their business and selling items by weight with the new retail scales that they had just purchased when they had just been paid a visit by their local trading standards officer who advised them that the scales were not 'legal for trade' after all.


Trade Approved does not mean Legal for Trade and scales that are branded as Legal for trade may not be unless they carry the correct verification / stamped mark of approval.


So what do you need to know before parting with your hard earned cash?


Firstly:

All weighing equipment in use for trade must be suitable for its intended purpose and be sufficiently accurate.


All equipment is required to pass an independent accuracy test before it can be used to weigh or measure goods. Trading Standards Officers routinely examine and test retail trade scales and other types of measuring equipment to check that they are accurate.

The Weights and Measures Act 1985 requires that equipment used to weigh goods for sale must be of a suitable accuracy and be stamped by a Weights and Measures Inspector or Approved Verifier to show that it is accurate.


Non-automatic weighing machines, ie those that require an operator to place and/or remove the items from the scale pan, are either 'passed as fit for use for trade' by an inspector of weights and measures (trading standards officer) or an 'approved verifier' (a person who is officially authorised to carry out the same verification duty of an inspector). If the equipment does not bear the stamp or stickers, it must not be used for trade purposes. It is also an offence to have or use seriously incorrect equipment or to alter equipment that is incorrect after it has been stamped.


Secondly - Know what to look for:


EC Approved Retail Scales - (Not to be mistaken for the EC Certified Plate - Origin of Equipment Number)

All trade EC approved scales are government stamped by weights and measures and can be used for trade purposes such as retail outlets prepacking goods or even for weighing freight goods via couriers which the total amount of weight to be invoiced. These scales can used for charging the goods weight direct to the customer.


The Green M Sticker - CE-M Approved.


The M sticker advises that the scales are of a standard to allow them to be stamped by weights and measures (Trading Standards Officer) or an approved verification officer. Once the officer is satisfied that the scales are of standard and the test has been passed, they will issue a stamp of approval to the scales.


Remember - If the equipment is not EC Approved or are not verified, i.e does not bear the stamp or stickers, it must not be used for trade purposes. It is also an offence to have or use seriously incorrect equipment or to alter equipment that is incorrect after it has been stamped.


If you require further advise prior to your purchase then please do not hesitate in contacting us.

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