Handling a Complaint
Most clients are highly satisfied with the work of their interior designer, and many say they would hire an interior designer again. If a problem does arise, first discuss it with the designer. Often disputes result from misunderstandings and can be resolved without the intervention of a third party. If, however, you cannot reach agreement and feel that the designer has acted unprofessionally, perhaps even unethically, you do have options for filing a complaint:
- If the designer is not licensed in your state and not a member of a professional organization, you can file a complaint with the consumer protection agency in your state.
- If the designer is licensed, you can file a complaint with the appropriate licensing board in your state.
- If the designer is a member ofa professional organization, you can file a complaint with that organization.
All ASID members agree to abide by the Society's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.(To view the ASID Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, click here.) If you wish to file a complaint against an ASID designer, the process is described below.
ASID procedures regarding a complaint filed against a member of ASID are as follows:
- The individual against whom an ethics complaint is made must be a current member in the Society (the "member"). The complaint must be in writing, signed by the complaining party, shall state the matter complained of in detail, and accompanied by all materials the complaining party (the "complainant") wishes to bring to the attention of the Society (collectively referred to as "complaining materials").
- The complaining materials must be sent to Society headquarters within two years of the occurrence of the conduct which is the subject matter of the complaining materials.
- The complaining materials are forwarded to the Society's legal counsel, to review and determine, if the conduct complained of involves a possible violation of the Society's Code of Ethics, or might otherwise constitute conduct detrimental to the Society or the profession.
- If legal counsel decides the complaining materials do not involve a possible violation, the complainant is informed and the matter is closed. If legal counsel decides the complaining materials may involve a possible violation, the complaining materials are sent by the Society to the member with a request for a written response from the member to the complaining materials within 21 days. The response shall be in writing, signed by the member, and shall be accompanied by all materials the member wishes to bring to the attention of the Society in response to complaining materials ("responding materials").
- The complaining and responding materials are then reviewed by the Society's ethics committee to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a disciplinary proceeding. In making their determination, the ethics committee may request additional information from either the complainant or the member. A copy of any such additional information provided by a party will, if the matter proceeds to a disciplinary hearing, be provided by the Society to the other party prior to the date of the hearing.
- If the ethics committee concludes that a disciplinary hearing is not warranted, both parties are informed in writing of such determination and the matter is closed.
- If the ethics committee determines that a disciplinary hearing is warranted, then the Society shall send a notice of the disciplinary hearing upon the parties by certified mail, return receipt requested (with a copy by ordinary mail) not less than 45 days prior to the date of the disciplinary hearing. The notice of disciplinary hearing shall specify the date, time and place of the hearing.
- Either party may submit such other written materials they wish to bring to the attention of the disciplinary committee ("additional materials"), provided such additional materials are received at Society's headquarters by no later than 20 days preceding the hearing date. A copy of additional materials submitted by a party must be sent by the submitting party to the other party by certified mail, return receipt requested, so that the same materials will be received by the other party no later than 20 days preceding the hearing date.
- The complainant and the member may appear at the disciplinary hearing personally and/or by legal counsel and may produce such witnesses as they determine. The complainant and the member may elect to participate in the hearing via video teleconferencing or telephone conference call provided such technology is available at the site of the hearing and all costs as reasonably determined by the Society are paid in advance by the party requesting either video teleconferencing or a conference telephone call. In such regard, the complainant and the member shall each provide the Society with written notice, no later than 20 days prior to the hearing date, containing information as to how they plan to participate in the hearing, a telephone number where they may be reached on the date of the hearing, and a list of witnesses if applicable. Each submitting party must also send a copy of the written notice to the other party by certified mail, return receipt requested, so that the same information will be received by the other party no later than 20 days preceding the hearing date.
- No stenographic transcript of such hearing shall be made unless it is specifically requested and paid for in advance by the requesting party.
Note: The continuation of this procedure is dependent on the complainant's action. No steps will be taken without the complainant's initiation. If the complainant fails to contact ASID within 90 days following a letter from the Society, ASID will close the case and take no further action.
If you need any further assistance, please contact the Government and Public Affairs office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note, however, that while ASID staff is responsible for administering this process, which has been approved by the Society's board of directors, staff have no authority or role in determining the merits of any complaint.