Powers, offences and our enforcement strategy

Trading Standards enforces the Weights and Measures Act and Regulations. Powers of inspection and inspectors' warrants are provided for in Part 5 of the Act.

How we find out about breaches

Breaches of the legislation can be identified either reactively through a consumer complaint, or proactively through compliance inspections.

Consumer complaints

If you have a complaint about a product sold by quantity, or a non-compliant weighing or measuring instrument, you can contact us directly. We will review all complaints, however we may not act on or investigate every complaint we receive.

See Making a complaint for more information.

Trading Standards Officer (TSO) site visits

TSOs undertake on-site visits where product samples are inspected and weighing/measuring instruments are examined and tested to determine compliance.

Powers

Our Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) may:

  • Enter any premises and inspect/test any weighing or measuring equipment that's used for trade or goods that are available for sale.
  • Require the production of and take copies of any documents relating to weighing or measuring equipment used for trade or goods being offered for sale.
  • Seize and detain any weighing or measuring equipment used for trade or goods that don't comply with the Act.
  • Prohibit the use of any weighing or measuring equipment that doesn't comply with the requirements of the legislation.

If a breach of the Weights and Measures legislation is found, a TSO can:

  • issue a letter of warning
  • issue an Infringement Offence Notice (penalty fee)
  • instigate legal proceedings (prosecution).

Weights and Measures Act 1987 — Section 28, Powers of Inspectors(external link)

Offences, and associated fees and fines

Below is a list of offences under the Weights and Measures Act and Regulations: 

Offence Section / Regulation Infringement fee Fine
Failing to comply with the prescribed obligation to use the metric system when advertising goods for sale. Section 10 $200 Fine not exceeding $10,000.
Failing to comply with the prescribed obligation to sell, offer or expose goods for sale by net weight or measure. Section 14 $200 Fine not exceeding $10,000.
Delivering a lesser quantity of goods than purhcased, where goods are sold by weight, measure or number. Section 16 $500 Fine not exceeding $10,000.
The weight, measure or number of goods in the package is less than that stated on the package or label. Section 16A $500 Fine not exceeding $10,000.
Using for trade, or possessing for trade, any weight, measure or weighing or measuring instrument that is not stamped with the prescribed mark of verification. Section 21 $200 Fine not exceeding $10,000.
A weight, measure or weighing or measuring equipment, which is in use for trade, is found to be false or unjust. Section 24 $500 Fine not exceeding $10,000.
Preventing a Trading Standards Officer from exercising his/her powers. Section 32 (b) n/a Fine not exceeding:
  • $10,000 for an individual, or
  • $30,000 for a body corporate.
Obstructing or delaying a Trading Standards Officer from carrying out his/her duties without a reasonable excuse. Section 32 (c) n/a Fine not exceeding:
  • $10,000 for an individual, or
  • $30,000 for a body corporate.
Failing or refusing to comply with any requirement of a Trading Standards Officer under the Act without lawful excuse. Section 32 (d) n/a Fine not exceeding:
  • $10,000 for an individual, or
  • $30,000 for a body corporate.
An Accredited Person stamps with a mark of verification or issues a certificate of accuracy outside of their permitted authority under the Act. Section 32 (fa) n/a Fine not exceeding:
  • $10,000 for an individual, or
  • $30,000 for a body corporate.
Making or selling any weight, measure or weighing or measuring instrument that is incorrect or that doesn't comply with the Act or Regulations. Section 32 (j) n/a Fine not exceeding:
  • $10,000 for an individual, or
  • $30,000 for a body corporate.
Failing to comply with a condition or limitation prescribed in a certificate of approval. Regulation 7 $200 Fine not exceeding $2000.
Packages of goods are not marked with their net weight or measure in accordance with the Regulations. Regulation 80 $200 Fine not exceeding $2000.

For the exact wording of the offences please refer to the legislation:

Weights and Measures Act 1987

Weights and Measures Regulations 1999

Trading Standards decisions on enforcement action will take into consideration Crown Law prosecution guidelines.

Crown Law website — Prosecution Guidelines

Enforcement

Our preferred approach is to educate in the first instance. We also take trader behaviour and attitude into account — significant, deliberate non-compliance is a serious matter and will be treated accordingly.

Possible enforcement actions are listed below, in order of seriousness.

Non-compliant traders

  • Letter of warning
  • Infringement offence notice
  • Prosecution.

Non-compliant Accredited Persons

For a breach of accreditation:

  • Letter of warning
  • Suspension
  • Amend condition of accreditation
  • Revocation of accreditation.
For an offence under the Act:
  • Letter of warning
  • Prosecution.