The Water Quality Association is dedicated to promoting the highest principles of honesty, integrity, fair dealing, and professionalism in the water quality improvement industry. It is equally dedicated to preserving the consuming public's right to quality water. The primary purpose of this Code of Ethics is to educate industry members concerning standards of conduct in their dealings with their customers, among themselves, with members of related industries, and the public at large.
Industry members shall conduct themselves as informed, law abiding citizens. They shall be informed of and adhere to those federal, state, and local laws, statutes, ordinances, codes, and regulations applicable to the industry and to their businesses such as those dealing with restraint of trade, consumer protection, truth in advertising, truth in lending, selling, sanitation, registration, and effluent disposal.
Obligations to the Public
Industry members shall dedicate themselves to sound and competitive business practices. Specifically, they shall strive to:
A. Compete lawfully and honestly.
B. Build their businesses on the merits of their own products, services, and abilities; and not falsely disparage the products, services, or abilities of competitors, water purveyors, or others.
C. Accurately represent the characteristics or effects of the source water supply.
D. Accurately represent the characteristics or effects of the water improvement process or its product.
E. Accurately represent the benefits of the products or services that are to be provided and the changes to be made therefore.
F. Accurately represent their credentials, training, experience, and abilities and those of their employees and agents.
G. Base product performance, benefit, or other promotion claims, either written or verbal, on factual data obtained from tests conducted by personnel technically competent to conduct such tests following scientifically valid test procedures, which data is in existence and available at the time such claims are made.
H. Avoid the omission of material facts in promoting their products or services if the effect would be to mislead or misrepresent.
I. Be familiar with and adhere to the Water Quality Improvement Industry Promotion Guidelines.
1. The word "product" as used in these Guidelines and Procedures includes publicly and privately supplied water, bottled water, and water quality improvement products or services or systems.
2. Product performance, benefit, or other promotion claims, either verbal or written, shall be based on factual data obtained from tests conducted by personnel technically competent to conduct such tests following scientifically valid test procedures, which data is in existence and available at the time such claims are made.
3. When the attributes or benefits claimed are not readily apparent to or verifiable by consumers, these claimed attributes or benefits shall be described and qualified with proven facts and in complete, comprehensive, and detailed terms.
4. Those who develop or disseminate, either in writing or verbally, product promotion claims or materials, including packaging, labeling, and installation, operation, or maintenance materials, shall be responsible for making available reputable, verifiable, factual substantiation for those product promotion claims or materials.
5. Statements, either verbal or written, which are false, misleading, deceptive, fraudulent, or which falsely or deceptively disparage publicly or privately supplied water, bottled water, water quality improvement products or systems, or other competitors or competitive products, shall not be used.
6. Pictures, exhibits, graphs, charts, or other portrayals used in product promotion shall not be used in a false or misleading manner.
7. Sweeping, absolute statements, either verbal or written, shall not be made if they are false or not applicable in all situations which they purport to cover.
8. It shall not be stated or implied that the water to which the word "pure" is applied is "pure," unless the word "pure" is clearly defined by the user or by regulation. These words have been both used and defined in a variety of ways. Their capacity to mislead consumers is considerable. Therefore, the substantial definition problems with the words "pure," "purification," "purifier," or other derivatives of the word "pure" dictate that such words be used only with extreme caution.
9. Advertisements or promotional materials, either verbal or written, shall be true and accurate in their entirety. Not only shall each sentence or statement, standing alone and separately considered, be literally true, but the combined overall effect of the materials shall also be accurate and not misleading.
10. Material facts shall not be omitted from product advertising or promotional material or practices if the effect would be to mislead or to misrepresent.
11. Devices or techniques, used to demonstrate hardness, the presence of chlorine, color, or other water characteristics or the individual consumer's water, shall not be used in sales presentations without, at the same time, accurately informing the consumer of their scope.
12. The words "warranty," "guarantee," or equivalent terms (herinafter "warranty") shall not be used verbally or in writing in connection with industry products unless such use meets the requirements of the Federal Trade Commission's Guides for the Advertising of Warranties and Guarantees, 16 CFR 239.1 et seq., effective May 1, 1985 and corrected May 21, 1985, as they may be amended from time to time.
13. The composition of advertisements or other forms of product promotion materials shall be such as to minimize the possibility of misleading the reader. Product performance or benefit claims shall not be so placed in advertisements or promotional material or used in sales presentations so as to give the impression that they apply to additional or different merchandise when such is not the fact.
14. An asterisk may be used to direct attention to additional information about a word or term which is not in itself inherently deceptive. The asterisk or other referenced symbols shall not be used as a means of contradicting or substantially changing the meaning of statements or graphic portrayals.
15a. Prior to an advertiser's publishing or otherwise using an endorsement or testimonial (herinafter both referred to as "endorsement"), the person whose endorsement is being used ("endorser") shall have previously made or shall have approved the contents and given permission for the advertiser's use of the endorsement.
15b. The published or printed portion of an endorsement shall fairly reflect the spirit and content of the complete endorsement.
15c. A proper endorsement may be advertised although given for compensation. The receipt of compensation need not be disclosed unless the context or contents of the endorsement implies that there was no compensation given.
Obligations to the Customer
Industry members shall serve their customers competently, honestly, and promptly. Specifically, they shall strive to:
A. Be open and honest in their communications and dealing with customers and potential customers.
B. Factually represent their products and services to their customers.
C. Ensure that their products or services are properly applied or installed when they are responsible for such application or installation.
D. Respond promptly to customer complaints.
E. Provide for the availability of timely and competent service for their products.
F. Inform their customers of the maintenance and service requirements and related costs.
G. Honor contracts and warranties without undue delay.
Obligations to Professionalism
Industry members shall maintain and advance their knowledge and skills in the technologies utilized in the water quality improvement industry. Specifically, they shall strive to:
A. Ensure that their employees and agents, through continuing education, have a practical working knowledge of the technologies used in, and the capabilities of, the products and services they provide.
B. Improve their own professional expertise by staying abreast of industry technological and scientific developments.
C. Adhere to and promote the business ethics embodied in this Code.
Water Quality Association 4151 Naperville Road Lisle, Illinois 60532