Consumer protection, advocacy, standards and rating services - on and for the web

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Buying goods and services on the web or from a "bricks and mortar" business always should involve a check on the reliability and quality of the product-service.  Here are a few reference and guideline resources on the web that are useful, including such trusted organizations as Consumer Report, CSA, ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) that have been around for many years before the web was born. 

Advocacy & Protection Services:  Consumer Organizations & Class Action Law-Lawyers

  • a consumer complaints site set up by the U.S. government with cooperation of Canada's Competition Burea, this site helps consumers file complaints about e-commerce in countries outside their own.
  • National Consumers League - the oldest consumer organization in the U.S.A. "NCL provides government, businesses, and other organizations with the consumer's perspective on concerns including child labor, privacy, food safety, and medication information."

  • Class Actions Lawyers & Law Firms

    Sometimes using a manufacturer's product or a business-professional service results in injuries or loss of money, long term pain and suffering and even death. 

    Sometimes it appears that "standards associations", licensing and government safety enforcement agencies have not done their job very well or at all.

    At these times consulting a lawyer about what may be a widespread product-design defect, that might have been preventable, or about professional negligence or malpractice may be necessary or useful.

    Here are some directories of lawyers that have developed hard won experience in the relatively new area of class action law in Canada.

    Class Action Law Suits are a relatively new area of litigation in Canada, compared to the USA, however it is a growing area of service for groups of citizens seeking some redress-compensation from giant corporations and sometimes large faceless government departments.

    • Toronto, Canada lawyers for professional negligence, product liability [e.g. sucessful class actions against large pharmaceutical companies in North America and Europe for drugs dealing with the Baycol cholesterol lowering drug class action suit, or diet-pills, or see also work re price fixing cases ]
    • Vancouver, Canada lawyers who helped start the largest class action in Canada's history in the 1990s and early 2000 - the tainted blood products for transfusion scandal, involving large companies, non-profit and government agenices

Business Ratings

  • a Better Business Bureau® program
    " ... BBBOnLine, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. BBBOnLine's mission is to promote trust and confidence on the Internet through the BBBOnLine Reliability and BBBOnLine Privacy programs."

  • Consumer Reports Online " Be informed before you click and buy. Our exclusive evaluations of online shopping sites help guide you in the web marketplace. Just added:  Electronic gear and small appliances sites. Start with our e-shopping tips, then visit our new Forums where you can tell us all about your e-shopping experiences on selected sites. e-ratings - evaluations of online shopping sites help guide you in the web marketplace."

  • " ...the Web's Best Stores, Ranked according to Your Needs. stores can NOT pay to be listed or featured on
    BizRate ...[is] continuously collecting direct feedback from millions of actual customers as they buy, we know which Web sites are good, what they are good at, and how their service varies each day. So, is the only site that can take your particular needs and match them with the stores that are best suited to serve you.":

Consumer goods manufacturing standards associations

  • CSA International
    "CSA International is an independent, not-for-profit organization supported by more than 8,000 members. We have a network of offices, partners, and strategic alliances in Canada, the U.S., and around the world.  Established in 1919, CSA International is a leader in the field of standards development and the application of these standards through product certification, management systems registration, and information products."

    A sample of a whole line of CSA approved leather safety steeltoe-puncture proof sole work boots can be seen at handcrafted by Viberg boot manufacturing ltd.  Note they have a 1-800 toll free telephone number for added service.

  • UL®
    "Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product safety testing and certification organization.  We have tested products for public safety for more than a century.  Each year, more than 16 billion UL Marks are applied to products worldwide."

Lighting product information

  • The National Lighting Product Information Programz (NLPIP) (
    "... is an objective source of manufacturer-specific performance information on efficient lighting products. Publications can be purchased at our Online Store. Our databases of performance data for electronic ballasts and compact fluorescent lamps have been updated with new products. We have also recently added a section on alternatives to halogen torchieres." (quoted from their web site introduction
  • see also Chicago's Center for Neighborhood Technology
    Informative web site about options for community urban development and technology issues / resources
    "Strategies for Livable Communities" (light bulb project)
    [nb. thanks to J.W. in Chicago 2003/06/12 for link suggestion]

Marine equipment manufacturing safety standards

  • ABS Group of Companies
    "... is a subsidiary of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) which, for more than one hundred and thirty years, has been recognized as a world leader in promoting standards of safety, quality and environmental responsibility within the marine industry."
    A sample of ABS type approval certification is:
    Steel and Brass hydraulic steering cylinders designed and manufactured by Jastram Engineering Ltd. at  Note Jastram has a toll free telephone number 1-888-JASTRAM for added service.
  • U.S. Coast Guard
    U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Center

  • Lloyd’s Register
    "... is the world’s premier ship classification society and a leading independent technical inspection and advisory organisation, operating from more than 260 exclusively staffed offices worldwide and served by 3,900 technical and administrative staff.
    Nearly a quarter of the world’s merchant fleet is classed by LR in accordance with its own rules for the construction and maintenance of ships. LR surveys ships on behalf of more than 135 governments to ensure that they meet national and international safety legislations."

Please note:  the use of logos e.g. CSA, or mention of various organizations and companies on this web site does not imply these groups endorse this site or vice versa.  It remains the viewer's responsibility to check sources of information on their own and to make their own informed decisions.  The producers of assume no responsibility for any harm, damage or injury resulting from use of goods or services mentioned on this web site.

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see also
Consumer goods
manufacturing standards

CSA Certification logo - on safety work boots

CSA approved safety work boot - handcrafted by Viberg boot manufacturing

see also
manufacturing standards

Marine manufacturing standards for replacement steering gear

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