UPDATE: See webinar information below. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has circulated a proposal for a new field of activity for a new ISO standard to be titled: Guideline for inclusive service - identifying and responding to consumers in vulnerable situations. As the U.S. member body to ISO, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) invites all relevant and interested stakeholders to submit comments on the proposal by the end of the business day on Friday, April 7, 2017.
The proposal, submitted by ISO's Consumer Policy Committee (COPOLCO), together with BSI, the UK member body to ISO, explains that the new ISO standard would provide guidance to all organizations on how to identify consumers in vulnerable situations and how to develop, implement, and maintain policies and procedures for the organization to deal with "vulnerable" consumers.
Consumer vulnerability is any circumstance that puts consumers at greater risk of detriment when choosing or using products or services. A variety of factors contribute to consumer vulnerabilitywhich might be long or short term, temporary, permanent, or sporadicincluding debt, unemployment, old age, mental health issues, and physical impairments, among other issues.
An international standard would help organizations minimize consumer detriment by:
Raising awareness and understanding of consumer vulnerability
Giving guidance on how to identify consumers in vulnerable circumstances
Establishing processes and procedures that will help organizations respond to consumers in vulnerable situations in a fair and flexible way
All interested stakeholders are invited to review the proposal, which includes a listing of relevant existing documents at the international, regional, and national levels, and stakeholder categories that may benefit from by the proposal.
Please submit comments to Steve Cornish, ANSI senior director of international policy (firstname.lastname@example.org), by close of business on Friday, April 7, 2017. Based on the input received, the ANSI ISO Council (AIC) will then be asked to approve an ANSI position and comments to be submitted to ISO before its May 14, 2017 deadline for voting on this proposal.
ANSI has published an explanatory information document outlining the process used to develop U.S. positions on issues and activities under consideration by ISO and IEC.
A WebEx meeting will be held on Friday, March 24, 2017, at 2p.m. EST for U.S. stakeholders to discuss the possible formation of a U.S. Technical Advisory Group (U.S. TAG) to support U.S. national consensus-based participation in this ISO activity, should the proposal be approved. To join the meeting, click here.