Code of Ethics
This Standard of Conduct for members of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) South Plains has been created to promote and maintain the highest standards of Association service and personal conduct among its members. Adherence to these standards is required for membership in the Association and serves to assure public confidence in the integrity and service of our member companies.
- To the best of my ability, I will provide my clients with products and services as represented in my company’s agreements. This includes monitoring the actions of my employees to see that they adhere to these representations.
- Adhere to the rules and regulations set forth in the Texas Contractor’s Licensing Law and to all City, State, and Federal laws and regulations governing our industry and to the best of my ability, monitor my employees to see that they are made aware of all such rules and regulations and that they actively endeavor to follow them.
- Report to the proper authorities those people that I see are in violation of the Texas Contractor’s License Law.
- Provide my clients written information concerning all warranties and guarantees for the products and services that my company provides and any manufacturer’s warranties.
- Take appropriate action on all equipment and product factory recalls that the manufacturer has notified me of.
- Employ those sales practices that will provide my clients with a true picture of their options.
- To continually strive to gain respect for the industry, both in the local community and national levels.
- To make the largest contribution possible to the health, safety and welfare of the public in the installation, maintenance and operation of HVACR equipment.
- To advertise and sell the merits of my products and refrain from attacking competitors or reflecting unfairly on their products, service or methods of doing business.
- To reveal all material facts, to avoid concealment of information and refrain from the use of innuendos in advertising and selling that might cause customers to be misled, so that the truth about services or products may be fully understood by the trusting, as well as the analytical.
- To design or build in a manner compatible in every respect with public health and safety and to comply with all applicable laws, ordinances or regulations.
- To fulfill all contractual obligations, to offer a reasonable warranty of products and services and to perform on such warranty, either written or implied, where justifiable claims are in order and to do this without hesitation.
Antitrust Compliance Policy
The antitrust laws of the United States and the various states prohibit agreements, combinations and conspiracies in restraint of trade. Because ACCA – South Plains (ACCA-SP) is, by definition a combination of competitors, one element of a possible antitrust violation is always present, and only some action by ACCA-SP that unreasonably restrains trade needs to occur for there to be an antitrust violation. Consequently, associations are common targets of antitrust plaintiffs and prosecutors.
The consequences for violating the antitrust laws can be severe. A conviction can carry stiff fines for the association and its offending leaders, jail sentences for individuals who participated in the violation, and a court order dissolving the association or seriously curtailing its activities. The antitrust laws can be enforced against associations, association members, and the association’s employees by both government agencies and private parties (such as competitors and consumers) through treble (triple) damage actions. As the principal federal antitrust law is a criminal conspiracy statue, an executive who attends a meeting at which competitors engage in illegal discussions may be held criminally responsible, even if he or she says nothing at the meeting. The executive’s attendance at the meeting may be sufficient to imply acquiescence in the discussion, making him or her liable to as great a penalty as those who actively participated in the illegal agreement.
The antitrust laws prohibit competitors from engaging in actions that could result in an unreasonable restraint of trade. Above all else, association members should be free to make business decisions based on the dictates of the market – not the dictates of the association.
Some activities by competitors are deemed so pernicious and harmful that they are considered per se violations – it does not matter whether or not the activities have a harmful effect on competition. These generally include price fixing, allocation of customers, markets or territories, bid-rigging, and some forms of boycotts. In addition, there are many features that factor into price; agreements as to warranty duration, freight terms, or other factors that can directly impact price also are proscribed.
Other actions such as standards development and relationships between distributors and suppliers generally are evaluated under a rule of reason – there is a balancing between the pro-competitive and anti-competitive aspects of the activities. These areas also should be approached with caution and legal guidance.
ACCA-SP has a policy of strict compliance with federal and state antitrust laws. ACCA-SP members should avoid discussing certain subjects when they are together – both at formal ACCA-SP membership, Board of Directors, committee, and other meetings and in informal contacts with other industry members – and should otherwise adhere strictly to the following guidelines:
- DO NOT discuss prices, fees or rates, or features that can impact
(raise, lower or stabilize) prices such as discounts, costs, terms and
conditions of sale, warranties, or profit margins. Note that a price-fixing violation may be
inferred from price-related discussions followed by parallel decisions on
pricing by association members – even in the absence of an oral or written
- DO NOT agree with competitors as to uniform terms of sale,
warranties or contract provisions.
- DO NOT exchange data concerning fees, prices, production, sales, bids, costs, customer credit, or other business practices unless the exchange is made pursuant to a well-considered plan that has been approved by ACCA-SP’s legal counsel.
- DO NOT agree with competitors to divide up customers, markets or
- DO NOT agree with competitors not to deal with certain suppliers
- DO NOT try to prevent a supplier from selling to your competitors.
- DO NOT discuss your customers with you competitors.
- DO NOT agree to any membership restrictions, standard setting,
certification, accreditation, or self-regulation programs without the
restrictions or programs having been approved by ACCA-SP’s legal counsel.
- DO leave any meeting (formal or informal) where improper subjects
are being discussed.
- DO ensure that ACCA-SP staff sends out all correspondence on
behalf of ACCA-SP and that ACCA-SP officers, directors, committee members,
or other members do not hold themselves out as speaking or acting with the
authority of ACCA-SP when they do not, in fact, have such authority.
- DO ensure that if questions arise about the legal aspects of
ACCA-SP’s activities or your individual responsibilities under the
antitrust laws, you seek advise and counsel from you own counsel or from
the staff and counsel of ACCA-SP.