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If not NAID, then who?

By John M. Mesrobian, J.D., C.P.P., C.F.E., C.I.P.P.

Recently, there have been a few events that remind us of the important role NAID plays in the marketplace.

Readers may have already heard that NAID’s leadership opposes flow control legislation in a New York county that’s attempting to divert all business wastepaper to the county’s recycling centers. This law completely disregards other data protection laws and the principle of free trade. As a result, the NAID Board of Directors dedicated considerable economic resources as well as written arguments, appealing to the courts to reconsider their support of the misguided law. In making this stand and addressing it quickly, the NAID board wanted to make sure flow control would not spread across the country.

The NAID board acted because that is what trade associations do. They direct their consolidated clout, both economic and subject matter expertise, to defend and promote the interests of their industries. Of course, this can only happen when there are resources and industry expertise to use. Fortunately, NAID receives a sufficient level of support from its members and the industry to engage in these activities. Its non-profit, trade association status gives its members the authority to aim those resources where they can do the most good.

In a variation of this concept, the NAID staff headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., offers similar benefits to members who have an immediate need for industry expertise and credible influencers to specific situations. It is not uncommon for NAID staff to provide guidance directly to members and consumers when confusing or false information in the marketplace causes marketing or compliance problems. Access to this type of guidance has prevented many members from losing accounts and save customers from making bad decisions. Without the industry’s ongoing support of NAID, members and consumers with these questions would have nowhere to turn.

Further, if it were not for NAID, who would be holding members accountable? It is a remarkable thing when an industry comes together with the expressed intent and agreement to hold each other accountable for their behavior. It is a responsibility that the NAID Complaint Resolution Council (CRC) and the NAID Board of Directors take very seriously, and is often viewed as the association’s primary directive. Of course, this ambitious goal, requiring elaborate and intense due process and formal procedures, is not easy to do. The volunteer members of the CRC and board, the vast majority of which represent the average NAID member, have resolved hundreds of problems over the years and remain the only credible mechanism for members to deal with such issues in the marketplace. No, it’s not perfect. But it remains an effective and important role for NAID, a role that would go unfulfilled if the organization were not here to do it.