16 CFR Part 23, Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries, Project No. G711001 #560895-00002 

Submission Number:
560895-00002 
Commenter:
 Barnett
State:
North Carolina
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 23, Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries, Project No. G711001

In the guides where it says "it is unfair...", in my opinion you should change that to read "it shall be illegal for any person, business, organization, or other interested party to..." when referring to practices that will violate or cause to be violated US Code Title 15 Chapter 8 Sections 294 through 296, dealing with the manufacture of and sale of gold and silver jewelry. It needs to be clarified that these actions are illegal not just unfair, as there are many parties who are violating these in e-commerce venues. Consumer Protection in this matter is a key issue... and in my experiences, the public is not being protected from those perpetrating the frauds. There need to be stiffer penalties for anyone selling silver or gold plated (or materials that have no precious metals in them) and representing them as .925 sterling silver or 1k-24k solid gold. This is mainly in the jewelry trade, but I have seen some fake wire being sold as well in places (mainly on Ebay). I myself have not fallen victim to these schemes, but that is because I know the difference and how to spot the fakes... and I only buy from reputable dealers... that said there are plenty of consumers who do not know the difference and are easily swindled into buying a silver plated item, for example a necklace or chain, thinking it to be sterling silver because that is the price they paid and what they were told it was from the seller... only to find that it was only lightly silver plated when the finish starts to wear off and the necklace starts to make their skin turn colors... I make and sell sterling silver jewelry, and the fraudulent sales of fake sterling is affecting my business as well as every other honest seller of sterling silver. I can't sell my *real* stuff because all the consumers are seeing low prices on the *FAKE* stuff thinking it to be real and are buying it instead of buying quality merchandise from me and other reputable jewelers. This is a big problem in the United States. You need to go a step further than just updating your guides, you need to issue an advisory informing the public to be on the lookout for the fake stuff and tell them who to contact if they fall victim to these deceptions. You need to make this advisory a campaign to root out all the acts of fraud in the precious metals industry. Shout it from the rooftops that it is illegal to sell silver plated anything and represent it as .925 sterling silver (or gold plated as real gold)... or at the very least make a few TV commercials (public service announcements) to warn the public. The public needs to be protected from these unforgivable acts of deception and fraud!