Agency Code of Ethics
1. Scope & Definitions
The Agency Code of Ethics (hereinafter ACoE) represents the views of International Relations (owners of CertifiedMarriageAgencies.org, hereinafter IR), on the standards that should govern the conduct of private organizations (hereinafter Agency/Agencies) having male and female clients (hereinafter Agency Clients) who seek serious relationships, and offering to them mutual information, assistance and services (hereinafter Agency Services) to facilitate their encounters and establishing such relationships, regardless of whether such Agency Services are rendered for free or for a fee. These standards apply to all such Agencies in general, and to Agencies operating through Internet websites (hereinafter Agency Site(s)) in particular.
2. The Agency Business
IR recognizes that Agencies are enterprises operating for revenue, and not humanitarian non-profit institutions. Consequently, they shall observe those criteria of transparency and accountability commonly applying to all business enterprises, as well as some additional criteria germane to their particular type of activity. Specifically, Agencies shall :
2-A (Business Registration)
Be formally registered with local, regional or national government entities as is customary for any business enterprise in the country where they are located. Any Agency licenses or other permits shall be made available and supplied to IR or to any Agency Client requesting this information.
2-B (Business Regulations)
Conform with the rules and regulations governing their type of business activity in their country of registration. Should Agency Clients reside in countries other than an Agency's registered place of business, the corresponding rules and regulations of such other countries shall also be complied with.
List the complete Agency business street and mailing addresses, telephone numbers, fax number, and the email address of the Agency manager or primary point of contact for external communications.
2-D (Business Conditions)
Disclose the Agency Terms and Conditions of Service and the full pricing structure of the Agency Services offered to Agency Clients.
2-E (Business Affiliations)
Reveal any existing Agency associations with, connections to, affiliations with, and/or dependencies on other operators in the same or similar areas of business.
2-F (Display of Business Information)
Except for item A, all the above Agency information should be displayed prominently either on the home page of the Agency Site(s), or on clearly identifiable links from the Agency Site(s) home page to subordinate pages, both in the Agencies' national language and in any other language used on the Agency Site(s).
2-G (Confidentiality of Agency Client Information)
Agencies shall clearly and explicitly inform their staff of the confidential and private nature of Agency Client information, and implement appropriate procedures and controls to ensure that said confidentiality and privacy are respected at all times, except in the specific case set forth in Section 6-B hereinafter.
2-H (Protection of Agency Client Privacy)
Agencies shall at all times ensure that Agency Client information is exclusively used for the purposes outlined in Scope & Definitions hereinbefore, and take prompt remedial action on being notified of any violations by Agency Clients and/or third parties of Agency Client privacy.
3. Agency Anti-Scam Policy
The particular business of Agencies is exposed to a form of fraud known as scamming, i.e. the Agencies themselves and/or Agency Clients entertaining communications aimed at acquiring other Agency Clients' interest for the sole purpose of obtaining financial gains. Agencies shall therefore :
3-A (Scam Policy)
Implement an anti-scam policy based on the following actions, and prominently display the implementation of said policy on the first page of the Agency Site(s) :
3-A-1 (Scam Reports)
Accepting scam reports from Agency Clients or other sources, and reacting to them promptly.
3-A-2 (Scammer Deletion)
Expunging scamming Agency Clients from their lists upon receipt of convincing scamming evidence.
3-B (Scam Inducements)
Refrain from campaigning to acquire Agency Clients with the explicit or implicit incentive of possible financial gains, either from the Agency itself or from other Agency Clients.
3-C (Scam Mailing)
Refrain from sending to Agency Clients communications falsely purporting to originate directly and spontaneously from other Agency Clients, for the purpose of inducing the purchase of Agency Services, notwithstanding any purported originating Agency Client's permission and/or acquiescence to do so having been previously obtained.
4. Agency Client Profiles
4-A (Profile Acceptance)
IR recognizes the right of Agencies to accept/reject individual requests for membership based on Agency Terms and Conditions of Service. However, generalized restrictions and discriminations based on physical and/or geographical criteria shall be prominently displayed on the first page of the Agency Site(s).
4-B (Profile Information)
Publicly-available Agency Clients' profiles shall include such fundamental pieces of information as Client's first name, age and/or date of birth, nationality, country and city of residence, photos, marital status, number and age and/or year of birth of any children, occupation, level of foreign languages spoken and understood, intentions. IR recognizes that information such as family name, postal and email addresses, and phone number(s) may be kept private, and released only upon explicit consent from the Agency Clients themselves.
4-C (Accuracy of Profile Information)
It is the Agency's responsibility to verify and guarantee the accuracy of the Agency Clients' both public and private information.
4-D (Profile Removal)
The Agency shall promptly remove the profiles of Agency Clients who request the Agency to do so, and remove or mark as no longer available the profiles of Agency Clients who are known to have established a serious relationship.
5. Agency Services
All Agencies Services, even if supplied by third parties, shall be under the full responsibility and accountability of the offering Agencies.
5-B (Linguistic Services)
Agencies offering translation and interpretation services to Agency Clients not adequately sharing a common language, shall ensure that such services are performed with proper and professional respect of the original content of the communications being exchanged, without undue embellishments and/or modifications that could alter their original meaning. Translated correspondence shall be prominently marked to indicate its non-original condition.
5-C (Client Transaction Record Keeping)
Agencies supplying paid Services shall maintain accurate and up-to-date records thereof, and shall provide Agency Clients with easily-accessible ways and means to consult such records.
5-D (Client Complaints)
Agencies shall provide Agency Clients with easily-accessible ways and means to submit complaints, and take prompt remedial actions thereon.
6. ACoE Certification
IR provides ACoE Certification as outlined in the Certification Guide, a separate document.
6-A (Certification Request)
Agencies may submit to IR a request for Certification (hereinafter ACoE Certification) of the conformance of their business conduct to ACoE standards, accompanied by with the remittance of the applicable, non-refundable examination fee.
6-B (Certification Verification)
IR shall evaluate such ACoE Certification requests and inspect the requesting Agencies' Sites and documentation to verify their full conformance to ACoE. This verification process may also entail that Agencies shall provide IR-designated individuals with full Agency Client status for inspection purposes.
6-C (Certification Award)
IR shall deliberate whether ACoE Certification requests by Agencies are acceptable or not, and notify the requesting Agency accordingly. Notices of unacceptable requests shall also contain suggestions for remedial actions which, if promptly taken by the requesting Agencies, shall entitle them to a new Certification verification.
6-D (Certification Suspension)
Should IR become aware that an ACoE-certified Agency is no longer fulfilling any of their freely-accepted ACoE obligations, such Agency shall receive due warning of such circumstance(s) and their ACoE Certification shall be suspended, pending the prompt implementation of IR-suggested remedial actions. Re-examination of the suspended Agency's full conformance to ACoE is subject to the remittance of the applicable, non-refundable re-examination fee.
6-E (Certification Withdrawal)
Agencies with suspended ACoE-certification who fail to implement the necessary remedial actions shall lose their previously-awarded ACoE Certification, receiving notice from IR of such measure and of the reasons thereof.
6-F (Changes to ACoE)
IR reserves the right to modify, amplify and/or integrate this ACoE at any time, and shall notify already ACoE-Certified Agencies of such changes and of their possible impact on their already-acquired ACoE Certifications, requesting compliance where needed. Non-adherence to newly-issued versions of the ACoE shall automatically entail the loss of previously-acquired ACoE Certification.
7. IR Legal Responsibility
Agencies submitting an ACoE Certification Request, regardless of whether is accepted, rejected, awarded and/or subsequently suspended, explicitly accept that they shall in no way hold IR legally responsible for any events or occurrences resulting from their intercourse with IR.
Revised 20 November 2006
Copyright International Relations (c) 2006 All Rights Reserved
Please visit the OFFICIAL home of the Agency Code of Ethics at [URL=http://www.certifiedmarriageagencies.org/index.php?pid=2]CertifiedMarriageAgencies.org[/URL].
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