Print

Accreditation Standards

Certification Standards represent sound manufacturing, advertising, selling and customer service practices that enhance customer trust and confidence in business. Certification Standards are built on eight principles that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business.

This Standards are also used for business certification by CONSUMER PRO. Businesses that meet these standards and complete application procedures will be certified by CONSUMER PRO.

To be certified by CONSUMER PRO a business or organization affirms that it meets and will abide by the following standards:

1. Build Trust
Establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace.

A certified business or organization agrees to:

A. Have been operational (actively selling products or services) for at least the most recent 12 months, unless the principal(s) previously operated a similar business with an eligible record (one that qualifies for Certification).

B. Fulfill all licensing and bonding requirements of applicable jurisdictions; provide all license and bonding information upon application for Certification; and provide periodic updates upon request.

C. Be free from government action that demonstrates a significant failure to support our ethical principles in marketplace transactions (this requires a determination by CONSUMER PRO as to the nature of any violation, whether it was caused or condoned by management, and actions taken to resolve underlying issues that led to the government action).

D. Be free of an unsatisfactory rating at any the other business rating organizations.

E. In its relationship with CONSUMER PRO:

  • meet all applicable standards within this Certification Standards
  • cooperate with our activities and efforts to promote voluntary self-regulation within the business’ industry
  • share the core values and principles of our organization
  • promote the importance of consumer rights to be protected
  • complete the required application and pay all monetary obligations to CONSUMER PRO in a timely manner

2. Advertise Honestly
Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling.

A certified business or organization agrees to:

A. Follow national and/or local advertising laws.

B. Abide by the Advertising Terms & Principles. Supply, upon request, substantiation for advertising and selling claims. Correct advertising and selling practices, when recommended by CONSUMER PRO.

C. Cooperate with our self-regulatory programs for the resolution of advertising disputes.

D. Use the CONSUMER PRO name and logos in accordance with CONSUMER PRO policy.

E. Avoid misleading consumers by creating the false impression of sponsorship, endorsement, popularity, trustworthiness, product quality or business size through the misuse of logos, trustmarks, pictures, testimonials, or other means.

3. Tell the Truth
Honestly represent products and services, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms.

A certified business or organization agrees to:

A.
Make known all material facts in both written and verbal representations, remembering that misrepresentation may result not only from direct statements but by omitting or obscuring relevant facts.

B. Ensure that any written materials are readily available, clear, accurate and complete.

4. Be Transparent
Openly identify the nature, location, and ownership of the business, and clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.

A certified business or organization agrees to:

A. Upon request, provide  all information required to evaluate compliance with our Standards. This may include, but is not limited to business name, address and contact information; names and background of principals; business and banking references; licensing and/or professional certification; and a complete description of the nature of the business.

B. Clearly disclose to customers:

  • direct and effective means to contact the business
  • terms of any written contract
  • any guarantees or warranties accompanying a product
  • any restrictions or limitations imposed (e.g. limited supply,maximum number available per customer)
  • the business’ return/refund policy
  • any recurring commitment into which the customer may be entering, including information on how future billing will occur
  • total cost of the transaction, including tax, shipping and handling, and other related charges

C. If selling products or providing services on Web sites or via other electronic means:

  • provide any required product labeling information
  • disclose the nature and terms of shipping, including any known delays or shortages of stock
  • provide an opportunity to review and confirm the transaction before the sale is completed
  • provide a receipt summarizing the transaction after the purchase

5. Honor Promises
Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations.

A certified business or organization agrees to:

A. Fulfill contracts signed and agreements reached.

B. Honor representations by correcting mistakes as quickly as possible.

6. Be Responsive
Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in good faith.

A certified business or organization agrees to:

A. Promptly respond to all complaints forwarded by CONSUMER PRO by:

    1. Resolving the complaint directly with the complainant and notifying CONSUMER PRO, or
    2. Providing CONSUMER PRO with a response that CONSUMER PRO determines:

  • is professional,
  • addresses all of the issues raised by the complainant,
  • includes appropriate evidence and documents supporting the business’ position, and
  • explains why any relief sought by the complainant cannot or should not be granted.

B. Make a good faith effort to resolve disputes, which includes mediation if requested by CONSUMER PRO. Other dispute resolution options, including arbitration, may be recommended by CONSUMER PRO when other efforts to resolve a dispute have failed. CONSUMER PRO may consider a business’ willingness to participate in recommended dispute resolution options in determining compliance with these standards.

C. Comply with any settlements, agreements or decisions reached as an outcome of a CONSUMER PRO dispute resolution process.

D. Cooperate with ICRPO "CONSUMER PRO" in efforts to eliminate the underlying cause of patterns of customer complaints that are identified by CONSUMER PRO.

7. Safeguard Privacy
Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of consumers regarding the use of their information.

A certified business or organization agrees to:

A. Respect Privacy
Businesses conducting e-commerce agree to disclose on their Web site the following:

  • what information they collect
  • with whom it is shared
  • how it can be corrected
  • how it is secured
  • how policy changes will be communicated
  • how to address concerns over misuse of personal data.

B. Secure Sensitive Data
Businesses that collect sensitive data online (credit card, bank account numbers, security numbers, salary or other personal financial information, medical history or records, etc.) should ensure that it is transmitted via secure means. Businesses will make best efforts to comply with industry standards for the protection and proper disposal of all sensitive data, both online and offline.

C. Honor Customer Preferences
Businesses agree to respect customer preferences regarding contact by telephone, fax and e-mail, and agree to remedy the underlying cause of any failure to do so.

8. Embody Integrity
Approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and commitments with integrity
.

A certified business or organization agrees to:

Avoid involvement, by the business or its principals, in activities that reflect unfavorably on, or otherwise adversely affect the public image of CONSUMER PRO or its certified businesses.