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MARKETERS BUREAU

STANDARDS
OF ETHICS

The Marketers Bureau Accreditation Standards represent standards for agency accreditation by MarketersĀ Bureau in the United States and Canada.

Our Code represents sound advertising, selling and customer service practices that enhance customer trust and confidence in business. It is built on the Marketers Bureau Standards of Ethics, eight principles that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in an agency.

This Code also represents standards for agency accreditation by Marketers Bureau. Marketers Bureau accredits agencies based in the United States and Canada that meet these standards and complete application procedures.

To be accredited by the Marketers Bureau, an agency affirms that it meets and will abide by the following standards:

1. Build Comfort

Establish and maintain a positive track record within the marketing industry.

An accredited agency or organization agrees to:

  1. Have been operational (actively selling products or services) in any MarketersĀ Bureau service area for at least the most recent three months, unless the principal(s) previously operated a similar business with an eligible record (one that qualifies for Marketers Bureau Accreditation).
  2. Fulfill all licensing and bonding requirements of applicable jurisdictions; provide all license and bonding information upon application for Marketers Bureau Accreditation; and provide periodic updates upon request of Marketers Bureau.
  3. Be free from government action that demonstrates a significant failure to support Marketers Bureau ethical principles in marketplace transactions (this requires a determination by the Marketers Bureau 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).
  4. Be free of an unsatisfactory rating and maintain at least a 4.0 rating at the accrediting Marketers Bureau and the Marketers Bureau where it is headquartered, if different.
  5. In its relationship with Marketers Bureau: meet all applicable standards within the Accreditation Standards; cooperate with Marketers Bureauā€™s activities and efforts to promote voluntary self-regulation within the businessā€™ industry; honor any settlements, agreements or decisions reached as an outcome of a Marketers Bureau dispute resolution process; and complete the required application and pay all monetary obligations to Marketers Bureau in a timely manner.
2. Advertise Ethically

Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling.

An accredited agency or organization agrees to:

  1. Follow federal, state/provincial and local advertising laws.
  2. Abide by the Marketers Bureau Advertising Ethics. Supply, upon request, substantiation for advertising and selling claims. Correct advertising and selling practices, when recommended by the Marketers Bureau.
  3. Adhere to applicable Marketers Bureau industry codes for advertising.
  4. Cooperate with Marketers Bureau self-regulatory programs for the resolution of advertising disputes.
  5. Use the Marketers Bureau name and logos in accordance with Marketers Bureau policy.
  6. 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. Be Honest

Honestly represent products and services, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms.

An accredited agency or organization 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, location, and ownership of the business, and clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customerā€™s and/or clientā€™s decision to buy or move forward with service(s).

An accredited agency or organization agrees to:

  1. Upon request, provide Marketers Bureau with all information required to evaluate compliance with Marketers Bureau 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 accreditation; and a complete description of the nature of the business.
  2. 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 businessā€™ 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
  3. If selling products or providing services online 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.

An accredited agency or organization agrees to:

  1. Fulfill contracts signed and agreements reached.
  2. Honor representations by correcting mistakes as quickly as possible.
6. Be Reactive

Address industry disputes quickly, professionally, and in good faith.

An accredited agency or organization agrees to:

  1. Promptly respond to all complaints forwarded by Marketers Bureau by:
    1. Resolving the complaint directly with the complainant and notifying Marketers Bureau, or
    2. Providing the Marketers Bureau with a response that Marketers Bureau determines:
      • is professional,
      • addresses all of the issues raised by the complainant,
      • includes appropriate evidence and documents supporting the businessā€™ 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 Marketers Bureau. Other dispute resolution options, including arbitration, may be recommended by Marketers Bureau when other efforts to resolve a dispute have failed. Marketers Bureau may consider a businessā€™ willingness to participate in recommended dispute resolution options in determining compliance with these standards.
  3. Comply with any settlements, agreements or decisions reached as an outcome of a Marketers Bureau dispute resolution process.
  4. Cooperate with Marketers Bureau in efforts to eliminate the underlying cause of patterns of customer complaints that are identified by Marketers Bureau.
7. Preserve 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 accredited agency or organization agrees to:

  1. Respect Privacy
    Agencies conducting business in the marketing industry 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; and
    • how to address concerns over misuse of personal data.
  2. Secure Sensitive Data
    Agencies that collect sensitive data online (credit card, bank account numbers, Social Security number, salary or other personal financial or health information) will ensure that it is transmitted via secure means. Agencies 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
    Agencies agree to respect customer and/or client preferences regarding contact by telephone and e-mail, and agree to remedy the underlying cause of any failure to do so.
8. Exemplify Integrity

Approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and commitments with honesty.

An accredited agency or organization agrees to:

  • Avoid involvement, by the agency or its principals, in activities that reflect unfavorably on, or otherwise adversely affect the public image of Marketers Bureau or its accredited agencies.