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Weights and measures

You can see our frequently asked questions below:

Where can I find a list of all public weighbridges?

A Public weighbridges list is available; Staffordshire County Council test and calibrate public weighbridges, for prices and opening timesplease confirm details with the weighbridge operator before you visit.

If you are a business wanting information on testing and certification of a weighbridge please contact us.

Who do I complain to about short weight and measure?

Staffordshire Trading Standards Business Advice team:

Phone: 0300 111 8045 
Minicom: 01785 276207 

I bought some goods and when I got home I weighed them on my own scales and the weight seems to be wrong. What can I do?

You should contact your local trading standards team.

Please note: Kitchen scales are not required to be as accurate as the trader's scales. Don't be surprised if the goods are later found to be the correct weight.

How do I know the trader's scales are accurate?

All equipment must pass an independent accuracy test before it can be used to weigh or measure goods.

Should my local shop provide a scale for my use?

No, but when the trader weighs the goods, they must make the weight known to you by one of the following ways:   

  • Telling you.
  • On a receipt or ticket.
  • Allowing you to see the weight display on the scale.

Should goods be sold in metric quantities?

Yes. The exceptions to the rule are: 

  • Free flow beers.
  • Ciders and milk in returnable bottles. The pint may still be used.
  • Precious metals and stones. The ounce troy may still be used.

Can I still ask for a pound (lb) of apples or a quarter (1/4) of boiled ham?

Yes, but the trader must weigh them in metric units.

How do I convert to metric units?

The most common metric conversions are between mm, cm, m and km.

  • 1 cm = 10 mm
  • 1 m = 100 cm = 1000 mm
  • 1 km = 1,000 m = 100,000 cm = 1,000,000 mm
  • kilo means 1,000, so 1 km = 1000 m
  • centi means 1/100th, so 1 cm = 1/100th m
  • milli means 1/1000th, so 1 mm = 1/1000th m 

Once confident with these conversions, converting units of mass and capacity is easier:

  • 1 km = 1,000 m, so 1 kg = 1,000 g
  • 1 m = 100 cm, so 1 l (litre) = 100 cl (centilitres)
  • 1 m = 1,000 mm, so 1 g = 1,000 mg (milligrams) 

My packet of crisps is marked with 30g e - what does this mean?

Some bags of crisps may contain more than 30g and some less. The manufacturer must ensure that on average the contents of the bags in a batch are 30g.

I put £10 worth of petrol in my car and the guage didn't move as far as it usually does. Is the pump giving a short measure?

All petrol pumps are tested before use by the public, and sealed to prevent tampering. However, this may occur because of the following:

  • The price per litre has increased since you last used the garage.
  • Your gauge may be faulty or inaccurate.

  • Since the pump was last checked it may have developed a fault giving you short measure.

If you still think there is a problem with the pump, please remember to record:

  • The pump number
  • Grade of fuel
  • Time it was used

I bought a pint of beer in my local pub and the glass was not full, is this legal?

It is illegal to give short measure. The pub must measure the beer using one of the following: 

  • Crown stamped or CE marked lined glasses
  • Crown stamped or CE marked brim glasses
  • Unstamped oversized glasses

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