The concept of professional regulation serving the public interest is summarized in the "Consumer Bill of Rights," first articulated by President Kennedy in 1960:
- The right to safety: to be protected against the marketing of products and services that are hazardous to health or to life.
- The right to be informed: to be protected against fraudulent, deceitful, or grossly misleading information, advertising, labeling, or other practices, and to be given the facts needed to make informed choices.
- The right to choose: to have available a variety of products and services at competitive prices.
- The right to be heard: to be assured that consumer interests will receive full and sympathetic consideration in making government policy, both through the laws passed by legislatures and through regulations passed by administrative bodies.
- The right to education: to have access to programs and information that help consumers make better marketplace decisions.
- The right to redress: to work with established mechanisms to have problems corrected and to receive compensation for poor service or for products which do not function properly.
Our employees and board members are encouraged to keep these consumer rights in mind when making decisions. Working in the public interest means looking at the issues from the point of view of their impact on the consumers of the service, rather than from the point of view of the licensed professional. We continually examine procedures and decisions to ensure that they encourage openness and accountability, increase the public's safety, and do not restrict choices available to consumers. We remain vigilant to the dangers of over-regulation in a profession, and of the impact of licensing on practitioners' fees.
A license suspension or revocation is generally a sufficient resolution to protect consumers. In the few cases where such disciplinary action may be insufficient, we can provide further assistance to an aggrieved consumer by suggesting an alternative avenue that might provide a more satisfactory resolution. Such avenues include: professional association peer review or mediation committees, alternative dispute resolution, the Better Business Bureau, newspaper or broadcast media "action lines," municipal or regional consumer assistance councils, or legal action through various courts.