The Code of Business Practice was developed to give Members specific guidance on various topics.
Because the Code of Business Practice is part of the Code of Ethics, it applies to every ILDA Member.
The Code of Business Practice has these main features:
• Members shall comply with "generally accepted ethical business practices and guidelines." Reference is made to the Better Business Bureau, eBay's selling guidelines, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Act.
• Members shall comply with the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions where they do business. While this is already part of the Code of Ethics, the Code of Business Practice contains examples in areas where laws may be unclear or complex. In addition, reference is made to ILDA webpages with additional requirements for specific locations (e.g., U.S. laws).
• The relationship between Members and their non-member business partners (such as dealers or suppliers) is clarified. This helps in cases such as if an end-user has a problem with an authorized dealer (non-member) of a Member manufacturer.
• Product claims should be accurate in advertisements, online auctions, etc.
• Safety features should be disclosed.
• Proper use of the "ILDA" and "ILDA Member" logos is spelled out. This helps to avoid some problems we have had in the past with non-members who falsely claimed an "ILDA Seal of Quality".
In case of problems, it is first suggested to privately contact the ILDA Member. If this does not work or is not desired, an official complaint can be filed with the Ethics Committee.
The official way of resolving complaints is by having the Ethics Committee try to find a resolution. In extreme cases, a violator may have their ILDA Membership revoked. Note that this would be the strongest action -- ILDA cannot fine or otherwise penalize violators.
The Code of Business Practice is helpful for the following reasons:
• It gives specific guidance to ILDA Members. This is especially helpful to Members from areas where business practices or laws may be different than in other areas. For example, laws in the U.S. regarding importation of laser devices are more complex than those in most other countries.
• It directly addresses past problems which ILDA and the Ethics Committee has dealt with before. Hopefully, these problems will be reduced or eliminated in the future.
• This helps increase Members' business. Members can reference the Code in their advertising, webpages, etc. By stating "We comply with the ILDA Code of Business Practice", Members can give potential customers greater confidence in selecting them, over a non-member.
• If there are problems, ILDA can help resolve them. Instead of a dissatisfied customer, who may not want to deal again with lasers or specific laser companies, ILDA can help make the customer satisfied.
• It makes for a "level playing field" for all ILDA Members.
During drafting, one comment about the Code said that this might violate the Sherman Antitrust Act, as being "anti-competitive." ILDA has researched the Sherman Act, competition law in general, and association antitrust concerns. We made changes (in versions 1.9 and 2.2) to address areas of concern. Therefore, we do not see any elements of the Code of Business Practice which could be a problem.
Code of Business Practice, version 2.5
All ILDA Members agree to be bound by the ILDA Code of Ethics. These serve as general guidelines for legal and ethical business transactions. However, some Members have asked for more specific guidance.
To help in specific cases, this Code of Business Practice has been developed. It is a subset of the Code of Ethics. This means that it derives its authority from the Code of Ethics and especially from these sections:
"Members agree to conduct their business in a professional, ethical, safe and courteous manner...."
"Members agree not to make inaccurate or misleading claims in advertising and/or promotion."
"Members agree to observe and obey any and all regulations governing the use of lasers in any country or area in which the member operates."
This also means that any complaints regarding violations of required elements ("shall" clauses) of the Code of Business Practice are taken as violations of the Code of Ethics, and are handled by the ILDA Ethics Committee.
ILDA Members are expected to follow the Code of Business Practice. Customers and end-users can buy with confidence from these ILDA Members.
The Code is performance oriented. It does not dictate the methods for achieving the goals.
The section of this document entitled "In Case of Issues and Complaints" discusses how to resolve the situation when an ILDA Member appears to have violated the Code. See this section for more details.
In this document, the word "shall" is used to indicate required conformance with the Code of Business Practice. In some places the word "must" is used because the Code is quoting or paraphrasing existing laws (usually examples from the U.S.) which use "must".
The word "should" indicates areas where ILDA recommends conforming with the Code of Business Practice. The ILDA Ethics Committee cannot take formal action against a Member if they do not follow "should" recommendations. However, by following all or most "should" recommendations, a Member indicates to ILDA and to customers that they are trying to live up to the spirit of the Code of Business Practice.
The word "may" indicates areas where an ILDA Member can take certain actions, and these actions are optional.
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