in use for trade
A common question that manufacturers, packers and
retailers ask is ‘When is a measuring instrument in use
for trade’? The answer is not straightforward due to the
varied application of measuring instruments.
This brochure aims to promote better understanding of
when an instrument is in use for trade. The meaning of
the term ‘in use for trade’ as applied to a measuring
instrument is defined in the Trade Measurement Act 1995.
Generally, a measuring instrument is in use for trade if it
is used to derive a measurement from which a charge or
payment is determined and an exchange of goods
follows. Types of transactions include buying, selling,
delivery, cartage, barter, exchange and offer. The term
applies equally to retail and wholesale trade.
An instrument is also in use for trade if it is used to
make a measurement to determine an amount payable
as a tax, rate, toll, duty, charge or other impost. The
Act does not apply to measuring instruments used as
utility meters, telephone, taxi or hire car meters, or
In addition, the Act does not apply to measurements
used by the police to determine an offence against traffic
legislation, such as speed cameras or breathalysers.
in use for trade
Trade measurement legislation
Consumer Affairs Victoria administers the Trade
Measurement Act 1995 and the Trade Measurement
This uniform national legislation covers:
• the use of measuring instruments for trade
• testing and certification of measuring instruments in
use for trade
• transactions by measurement
• pre-packed articles
• public weighbridges
• instrument certifying businesses (servicing licensees).
Trade measurement legislation creates consumer and
business confidence in the marketplace by ensuring that
consumers get what they pay for and businesses benefit
by reducing the over-supply of goods.
Consumer Affairs Victoria’s inspectors operate
throughout Victoria to assist consumers, business and
industry with advice and information about sound trade
Consumer Affairs Victoria’s inspectors:
• provide advice on trade measurement matters
• ensure all measuring instruments in use for trade
• audit the accuracy of measuring instruments in use
• monitor the activities of servicing licensees and
• check pre-packed articles for correct packer
identification and measurement markings and for
their correct measure
• investigate complaints and resolve problems associated
with trade measurement matters.
Before a measuring instrument can be used for trade it must:
• be of a make and model approved by the National
Measurement Institute (NMI) for the application it is
• be certified by a business licensed to do so by Consumer
Affairs Victoria or, if it is a portable instrument from
another state, be verified or certified by a person
authorised to do so in that state
• bear a current mark of certification
• be properly installed
• be operating within prescribed limits of accuracy and
comply with its approval.
Who is responsible for the instrument?
Under the meaning defined in the Trade Measurement
Act, any of the following persons may be held
responsible for the use of a trade measuring instrument:
• the person who uses it
• the person who has it in their possession for use
• the person who makes it available for use.
Examples of measuring instruments
in use for trade
The following examples demonstrate the breadth of
measuring instruments deemed to be in use for trade.
This is not an exhaustive list. Measuring instruments
are deemed to be in use for trade if they are used
• the measurement of goods on which the price for their
sale is based
• product transferred on which a transaction is based
(e.g. belt weigher, track scale)
• excess baggage for which a charge is made
• freight measurement on which a charge is based,
whether by weight or volume measurement
• the quantity of liquid transferred on which price or
remuneration is based (e.g. petrol pumps dispensing
to the public, contractors or employees; milk tanker
picking up from farms)
• the amount of product carried for payment of wages or
remuneration (e.g. the truck driver is paid on the tonnage
his truck carries)
• the volume of liquid in a tank or tanker for which
payment or remuneration is based (e.g. determined
• some forms of electronic equipment interfaced with
any measuring system from which payment or charge
is based (e.g. a remote digital readout on a fuel dispenser)
• the volumetric measurement of sand, soil and other
materials being transacted (e.g. a front end loader bucket)
• the area of leather products for sale by the square metre
• the length of fabric being transacted (e.g. a fabric measure)
• the weight of postal items to determine the postage rate.
Servicing licensees’ responsibilities
Businesses who certify trade measurement instruments
must be licensed with Consumer Affairs Victoria.
After a licensee or a nominated employee of the licensee
attends to an instrument it must be either:
• certified as suitable for trade use, or
• subject to a notice of non-compliance.
Licensees must replace any previous certification mark
with their own once the seal is broken or they have
interfered with the metrological performance of the
instrument. A certification form for the instrument
must also be issued to the owner and a fee paid to
Consumer Affairs Victoria.
Licensees must supply certification details to Consumer
Affairs Victoria within 14 days of a certification. They
must also forward the certification fee to Consumer
Affairs Victoria by the end of the
Offences and penalties
• delivery of less than the measurement stated in the offer
• using an uncertified measuring instrument for trade
• using an incorrect measuring instrument for trade
• using a measuring instrument in an unjust manner
• advertising, offering or exposing articles for sale
at a price determined by a measurement that is not
in prescribed units
• failing to measure an article in the presence of the customer
or provide a written statement of the measurement
• selling pre-packed articles without the net measurement
being marked on the package
• failing to mark the name and street address of the packer
or business/individual accepting responsibility for packing
the pre-packed articles.
Breaches of the Trade Measurement Act 1995 could lead to
prosecution with fines which may exceed $20,000 for
individuals or $100,000 for corporate bodies.
s in use for trade
The information contained herein relates only to trade
measurement requirements. Where health regulations
apply to the articles being sold, traders should make
separate enquiries to the appropriate organisation for
their requirements in that regard.
If you have any queries or would like more information
about trade measurement please contact Consumer
Affairs Victoria on (03) 8684 6200. To contact your local
trade measurement inspector phone 1300 36 55 00
(local call cost applies). Information is also available on
the Consumer Affairs Victoria website at
This brochure is one of a series on trade measurement.
The aim of these brochures is to increase the awareness
of legislative requirements when transacting by
Brochures in this series:
• Buying and selling firewood
• Correct measurement is good business
• Garden and landscape materials
• Grain quality measurements
• Measuring instruments in use for trade
• Pre-packed articles
• Petroleum retailing
• Sale of alcohol
• Sale of meat
• Selling fresh fruit and vegetables
Because this publication avoids the use of legal
language, information about the law may have been
summarised or expressed in general statements. This
information should not be relied upon as a substitute
for professional legal advice or reference to the actual
legislation, specifically of the Trade Measurement Act
1995, Trade Measurement (Administration) Act 1995 or
Trade Measurement Regulations 2007.
The information contained in this brochure relates
only to trade measurement matters.
Consumer Affairs Victoria
Victorian Consumer & Business Centre
113 Exhibition Street
Telephone 1300 55 81 81 (local call charge)
Regional offices are located in Ballarat, Bendigo,
Berwick, Box Hill, Broadmeadows, Geelong,
Morwell, Mildura, Wangaratta and Warrnambool.
TIS Telephone Interpreting Service 131 450
TTY Textphone or modem users only, ring the
NRS on 133 677, then quote 1300 55 81 81.
Callers who use Speech to Speech Relay
dial 1300 555 727, then quote 1300 55 81 81.
Trade Measurement Enquiries:
Telephone 8684 6200
Facsimile 8684 6222
Or to contact your local trade measurement inspector
Telephone 1300 36 55 00 (local call charge)
Authorised by the Victorian Government
121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 3000.