Conflict Resolution – Consumer vs. Member

  We are in a very emotional industry and sometimes things go different them we had planned. Our goal as the association is to assist in the resolution for those rare times when a wedding professional did not deliver what was contracted for. This is the procedure that needs to be followed.

 First please understand not all wedding professionals in the world (or the US) are members of Afwpi, (we are working on that!) For us to be of any assistance they do need to be a member of Afwpi. As a member we have asked them to follow our code of ethics and they have agreed. To view our code visit Code Of Ethics.   So your first step, is prior to your hiring them ask if they are a member of any associations and try and hire those that are members. It shows you that they are interested in their business and perfecting their craft.

   Ok with that said, should you have a problem with a wedding professional that you had contracted with the first thing we require (and is good to do) is to contact that professional and let them know what the problem is. It could (and most likely) will be resolved at this level.

 Should this not work, please call the office and ask if the professional is a member of Afwpi. If they are not, we are very limited in what we can do other then put a copy of the problem into a file folder should they ever join.

 If they are a member. We will require you to furnish a copy of the letter you sent them to resolve the problem.

 Here are the steps from that point:

1.  If you have tried to resolve the problem directly, you are asked to put the complaint in writing in the form of a letter.    
   a.  Include name, address, wedding date, a number where they can be reached for questions, and an email if they have one.
   b.  Describe exactly what their complaint is.
   c.  Explain what the member could do to resolve or make up for the problem.

2.  As soon as AfWPi office receives the complaint, our staff writes a letter to the member.

    a.  We explain what the complaint process is.
    b.  We ask for a response within 30 calendar days of the date of this letter.  
    c.  Include a copy of the complaint.

3.  If a response is received within 30 days from the member, the complaint and response are placed in the member’s file and the bride is sent a copy of the    response.  There is no further procedure on this matter.

4.  If no response is received within 30 days from the member, the complaint is brought before the ethics committee for resolution.

5.  A letter of intent to investigate the complaint is sent to the member from the Ethics committee.  The member is told in that letter that the investigation could result in  their membership being revoked.

6.  The Ethics committee investigates the complaint:

    a.  Read the complaint and the response. (See #11)
    b.  Talk to someone in the same field as the member to see if this is a common problem in that business (eg. Do brides often complain that the flowers were     supposed to be a different color?  Do they often complain about the length of time it takes to get photos back? Etc.)
    c.  One committee member talks to the bride.
    d.  One committee member talks to the member.
    E.  The member nor the bride are not allowed to attend the committee meeting.

7.  The Ethics committee meets and makes a decision about the complaint.

    a.  Discuss the complaint.
    b.  Hear reports from those who investigated.
    c.  Decide by vote what action should be taken.
-    90 day probation
-    Revoke membership with conditions
-    Revoke membership unconditionally.

8.  A letter is sent, certified/return receipt via US Mail, to the member with the committee’s decision.

9.  If membership is revoked, that is posted by the member’s listing on the web site for six (6) months.

10.  If member is placed on probation, they are given the option of accepting help from another member or members to help them resolve the situation.  The committee reviews the complaint 90 days after the decision.

11.  If a third complaint is filed against one member, even if all complaints have been answered satisfactorily, the same procedure is followed as if no response was made to the complaints.

Again, our goal is to assist the professional with education. Part of that education is excellent customer service. We hope you never need the services of this procedure.

Richard Markel
President AFWPI


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