PLATO’s Oversight Committee (“OC”) monitors complaints of a consumer, reseller, retailer, or manufacturer concerning whether a portable lighting product’s performance has been accurately reported according to the ANSI Standard. The OC consists of several members of the Board of Directors of PLATO, one of whom serves as the Chair, and the Executive Director (“ED”) of PLATO.
A manufacturer’s decision to report a portable lighting product’s performance according to the ANSI Standard is voluntary.
Below is the complaint process.
Complaints are reviewed according to the following protocol:
1. Anyone (consumer, reseller, retailer, or manufacturer) can report an apparent discrepancy or alleged error regarding a portable lighting product’s ANSI Standard performance rating to PLATO’s OC. A submission form can be found on PLATO’s website (www.plato-usa.org) and upon completion by the complainant will be sent to PLATO’s ED. The submission form must include a copy or image of the subject light’s packaging or advertising, a short description of the alleged error or discrepancy, and contact information of the person submitting the complaint. The ED will share the submission form with members of the OC. The ED will notify the complainant that the submission has been received, and may follow up with the complainant to obtain additional information or if otherwise necessary. If the complainant or respondent is a member of the OC Committee, that member shall recuse him or herself from any deliberations concerning the subject matter of their complaint.
2. If the complaint is acted upon by the OC, the ED will purchase three new samples from the open market and send them to an accredited test laboratory, including but not limited to UL, CSA and Intertek, to determine the reported ANSI Standard performance rating issue at hand. The lab will be requested to store and maintain the lighting samples after testing is completed.
3. The third party test results will be reviewed by the members of the OC and ED. If the average of the test results shows an ANSI Standard performance rating deviation or error which is material, the OC will request the ED concerning prepare a first letter to be sent to the manufacturer or reseller notifying it of the ANSI Standard performance reporting issue as determined by third party testing.
4. The ED will inform the Executive Committee ("EC") of PLATO of the recommended action to be taken, and share the first letter to be sent to the manufacturer and/or reseller. The EC may request that a meeting be held with the members of the OC and ED before the letter is sent. EC members must determine within seventy-two (72) hours whether it wants to a call meeting to discuss sending a first letter. A majority of EC members (3/4) is needed to call a meeting before sending the first letter.
5. The ED’s first letter will introduce PLATO, provide notice of the apparent ANSI Standard performance reporting issue, and offer PLATO's assistance in resolving the matter. The first letter may include the independent third party test results report and ask for a response within fourteen (14) days.
6. If there is no response to the first letter within fourteen (14) days or the ANSI Standard performance reporting issue is disputed, then the ED, in consultation with the OC, will send a second letter to the manufacturer or reseller. The second letter will include the independent third party test results and offer to discuss the manufacturer's test procedures to help determine if there was some misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the ANSI Standard or other reason for the deviation or error. The manufacturer or reseller may be asked to make suggested changes to its lighting product packaging as it relates to the ANSI Standard performance rating, marking, and advertising, which is completely voluntary.
7. At the discretion of the ED upon the consultation of the OC, the parties may also discuss and explore testing of three new samples of the subject light purchased from the open market by a mutually agreeable independent third party lab in an effort to resolve the matter.
8. If the manufacturer or reseller has not responded to the first or second letters, the ED upon consultation with the OC will send a follow up letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, or alternative means of delivery to confirm receipt. The follow up letter will enclose copies of the previous communications and ask for a response within fourteen (14) days.
9. If the matter remains disputed or there has been no response to any of the previously communications, PLATO may explore alternative means of resolution such as filing a complaint with the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau ("NAD") or a legal proceeding. The ED will report to the EC this recommendation before any such action shall be instituted and the EC will convene a meeting of the PLATO Board of Directors to discuss and expressly approve any such action before it is instituted within fourteen (14) working days.
10. Before a NAD or other legal action is commenced, the ED will send a letter to the manufacturer or reseller notifying it of PLATO’s intention to pursue an alternative means of resolution.
11. PLATO members shall be treated the same as any non-member manufacturer or industry participant under the protocol outlined above.
12. All investigations of complaints are treated as confidential and shall be subject to PLATO’s conflict of interest, antitrust, and code of conduct policies.