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Traders cheating customers - UNBS

By Vision Reporter

Added 6th November 2014 06:27 PM

Unscrupulous traders are altering domestic weighing scales in their business with an intention of cheating unsuspecting consumers, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has said.

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Unscrupulous traders are altering domestic weighing scales in their business with an intention of cheating unsuspecting consumers, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has said.

By Prossy Nandudu 

Unscrupulous traders are altering domestic weighing scales in their business with an intention of cheating unsuspecting consumers, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has said. 
 
According to UNBS, the domestic weighing scales in use include the Hanson, Globe and Five-goat scales that fall under class four. Those approved for trading purposes fall under class three. 
 
“Weighing scales in class four are easily manipulated even in front of the customer without detection, while class three can only be adjusted using pliers and screw drivers,” said Agatha Atukunda, the inspector of Weights and Measures at UNBS. 
 
Atukunda further explained that only weights under class three are recommended for trade because they are not easily manipulated. 
 
She noted that some traders even cut out part of weighing stones and fill the void with lighter substances so that they can cheat unsuspecting customers. 
 
Sometimes, she said, purchases are short by up to a quarter of the correct weight. Other techniques used by traders to cheat buyers include placing heavy stones beneath the weighing scale to increase the weight of what is being weighed. 
 
Such tricks are mainly used by butchers. Atukunda said the UNBS has embarked on sensitisation of the traders so that those who bought weighing machines believing them to be genuine could change to the recommended one. 
 
She said after the sensitisation, UNBS will confiscate machines of those who insist on using the wrong weights. She said the proper weights or measuring stones should be made from steel or cast iron and not lead because it wears out quickly. 
 
Consumers, she advised, should look out for the UNBS mark and stamp on the scale when they go shopping. 
 
“We recommend Salter type, which must bear the stamp of and logo of UNBS at all times, but most traders prefer those in class four which are slightly cheaper. However, after this sensitisation campaign we shall not hesitate but to confiscate all unfit weighing scales,” she said. 
 
She said UNBS and other concerned agencies are working on amending the UNBS Act to institute stringent punishments for using wrong weighing scales for commercial purposes. 
 
The current law, which has been in place since 1962, stipulates a sh200 fine for offenders, the reason they continue the vice with impunity, she said.
 
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Traders cheating customers - UNBS

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