The Value of the Gold Seal Mark

As a manufacturer or service provider, you understand the value of having the quality of your service or products verified by a third party. Has anyone ever doubted the quality of the products or service you provide?

Consumers today need to be assured that the products they purchase will meet their needs and are not only worth the money invested, but will perform as the product literature says they will.

Stamp of Approval

Once a product has endured a thorough review by the Gold Seal Certification department (including rigorous testing and literature reviews), met all requirements, and is granted “certification,” the WQA will authorize use of the Gold Seal Mark as a “stamp of approval.” The Gold Seal Mark not only stands for compliance with industry standards, but also for quality and excellence. To consumers and regulators, the Gold Seal Mark identifies products that meet or exceed the requirements of industry standards and perform as the literature depicts they will.

The Gold Seal Program prides itself in providing high-quality product certifications. The effective quality control activities that govern the program allows it to produce certifications that are accurate and reliable. Quality control activities, which include consistent internal audits, help promote consumer, regulator and manufacturer confidence in Gold Seal certifications.

Benefits

WQA’s dedicated Quality Department helps to ensure that the certifications will provide a variety of benefits for certified customers, regulators and consumers. Benefits of the Gold Seal Mark include:

  • Products listed in the Gold Seal Program meet or exceed industry standards. As a result, certified products are more easily accepted in Canada and by all states in the U.S., especially Massachusetts, Iowa, Wisconsin and California, than non-certified products.
  • Products bearing the Gold Seal Mark are quickly identified, assuring consumer and regulator confidence in the product’s performance. It also guarantees consumers and regulators that a product has been certified by an independent third-party organization.
  • Well-organized internal procedures guarantee good customer service and quick turnaround time.

To validate the quality of the Gold Seal certification, the program has obtained accreditations from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Standards Council of Canada (SCC). ANSI and SCC audit the WQA accredited laboratory annually, in order to observe and validate the efficiency and effectiveness of the program’s quality control activities—one of which is the protection of the Gold Seal Mark.

Protecting & Monitoring

WQA’s Quality Department is responsible for helping the Gold Seal Program enforce the proper usage of the mark to ensure that those who are authorized to use it are doing so in compliance with the Code of Ethics and other WQA requirements, and those who are not authorized to use the mark are notified and corrected. The program takes the necessary precautions to prevent misuses by reviewing literature using the Gold Seal Mark including brochures and installation manuals, educating users on how to properly use the mark and auditing authorized users.

Preventing Misuse

One of the many challenges WQA and other certification bodies face is protecting the integrity of its certification mark and preventing misuse of any kind. Occasionally WQA observes misuse of the Gold Seal Mark seen in advertisements, company websites and product literature to promote products or claims that have not been certified. These types of infringements are often quickly corrected; however, misusage can cause confusion and doubt within the industry and for regulators and consumers.

WQA controls and monitors misuse internally through its complaint system in order to quickly and efficiently respond to incorrect use of the Gold Seal Mark. While WQA is able to monitor and catch many occurrences on its own, it is difficult to identify all instances. For this reason, it is extremely important for consumers, regulators and anyone else within the industry to be vigilant and educated about how to properly use the Gold Seal Mark and to notify the WQA of any mishandling of the mark.

Enforcing Proper Usage

Any misuse of the mark poses a threat to its true validity and symbolism. This reason alone demonstrates the importance surrounding WQA’s consistent efforts to guard the Gold Seal Mark and its use. Preserving and protecting the integrity of the mark results in preventing doubt and boosting consumer confidence in product certification. The WQA Gold Seal Program and Quality Department are committed to providing education that supports continued awareness and enforcement of proper usage.

It is also important for manufacturers, regulators and consumers to be able to easily identify what products are certified and properly using the Gold Seal Mark, and conversely those products that are not certified and/or are improperly using the mark. When a product is certified and authorized to use the Gold Seal Mark, the product must identify the standard and any contaminant claims for which it is specifically certified. Another way to easily identify if a product is currently certified is to check WQA’s product listings at www.wqa.org. A certified product must have a current authorized certificate of approval from the Gold Seal Program.

Choosing to certify your products and enforcing proper usage of the mark means choosing quality.

For more information, please contact Tina Fischer at the WQA Gold Seal Certification Department at 630.505.0160, ext. 533, or by e-mail at tfischer@mail.wqa.org.

Allison Corwin, CWS-VI, is quality manager for the Water Quality Association. She can be reached at 630.505.0160, ext. 530, or by e-mail at acrowin@mail.wqa.org.

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