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.
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.
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).
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:
|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:
|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:
|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:
|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:
|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:
Trading Standards decisions on enforcement action will take into consideration Crown Law prosecution guidelines.
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.
- Letter of warning
- Infringement offence notice
Non-compliant Accredited Persons
For a breach of accreditation:
- Letter of warning
- Amend condition of accreditation
- Revocation of accreditation.
- Letter of warning