Code of Ethics

The Aquaponics Association Affiliate Code of Ethics represents sound advertising, selling and customer service practices that enhance customer trust and confidence in business. It is based on the Better Business Bureau business practices.  All Aquaponics Association Affiliate Members are expected to adhere to this code and failure to do so could mean loss of Aquaponics Association affiliation and privileges.

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

    An Affiliate Member agrees to:

    1. Be fully compliant with all jurisdictional laws which may govern the member, and able to provide all license information, if needed; and provide periodic updates upon request.
    2. Be free from action that demonstrates a significant failure to support ethical principles in marketplace transactions.
    3. In its relationship with the Aquaponics Association:
      1. meet all applicable standards within this Code of Ethics
      2. cooperate with the Association’s activities and efforts to promote voluntary self-regulation within the business’ industry
      3. honor any settlements, agreements or decisions reached as an outcome of a dispute resolution process
      4. complete the required member application and all obligations related thereto in a timely manner
  2. Advertise Honestly. Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling.

    An Affiliate Member agrees to:

    1. Follow applicable local advertising laws.
    2. Abide by the policies as set out by the Association from time to time.
    3. Use the Association name and logos in accordance with Association policy.
    4. Avoid misleading customers 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.

    An Affiliate Member agrees to:

    1. 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.
    2. Ensure that any written materials are readily available, clear, accurate and complete.
  4. Be Transparent. Openly identify the nature and ownership of the business, and clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.

    An Affiliate Member agrees to:

    1. Upon request, provide Association with all information required, this may include, but is not limited to business name, address and contact information; names of principals; business references; licensing and/or professional accreditation; and a complete description of the nature of the business.
    2. Clearly disclose to customers:
      1. direct and effective means to contact the business
      2. terms of any written contract
      3. any guarantees or warranties accompanying a product
      4. any restrictions or limitations imposed (e.g. limited supply, maximum number available per customer)
      5. the business’ return/refund policy
      6. any recurring commitment into which the customer may be entering, including information on how future billing will occur
      7. total cost of the transaction, including tax, shipping and handling, and other related charges
    3. If selling products or providing services on Web sites or via other electronic means:
      1. provide any required product labeling information
      2. disclose the nature and terms of shipping, including any known delays or shortages of stock
      3. provide an opportunity to review and confirm the transaction before the sale is completed
      4. provide a receipt summarizing the transaction after the purchase
  5. Honor Promises. Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations.

    An Affiliate Member agrees to:

    1. Fulfill contracts signed and agreements reached.
    2. Honor representations by correcting mistakes as quickly as possible.
  6. Be Responsive. Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in good faith.

    An Affiliate Member agrees to:

    1. Promptly respond to all complaints forwarded by Association by:
      1. Resolving the complaint directly with the complainant and notifying Association, or
      2. Providing Association with a response that Association determines:
        1. 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.
        2. Make a good faith effort to resolve disputes, which includes mediation if requested by Association. Other dispute resolution options, may be recommended by Association when other efforts to resolve a dispute have failed.
      3. Comply with any settlements, agreements or decisions reached as an outcome of a Association dispute resolution process.
  7. Safeguard Privacy. Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of customers regarding the use of their information.

    An Affiliate Member agrees to:

    1. Respect Privacy
      1. Businesses conducting e-commerce agree to disclose on their Web site the following:
        1. what information they collect,
        2. with whom it is shared,
        3. how it can be corrected,
        4. how it is secured,
        5. how policy changes will be communicated, and;
        6. how to address concerns over misuse of personal data.
      2. Secure Sensitive Data
        1. Businesses that collect sensitive data online (credit card, bank account numbers, Social Security number, salary or other personal financial information, or records, etc.) will ensure that it is transmitted via secure means.
        2. Businesses will make best efforts to comply with industry standards for the protection and proper disposal of all sensitive data, both online and offline.
      3. Honor Customer Preferences
        1. 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, public statements and/or disclosures and commitments with integrity.

    An Affiliate Member agrees to:

    1. Avoid involvement, by the business or its principals, in activities that reflect unfavorably on, or otherwise adversely affect the public image of Association.
    2. Avoid involvement, by the business or its principals in any activities that are not legal
    3. Avoid derogatory or otherwise inflammatory comments either in verbal or written public statements regarding other Aquaponics industry professionals or Affiliate Members.
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