Don’t compete with the cartel – you might be just as ineffective

In two very testing sentences UKAS warns of counterfeit accreditation outside the cartel:

FQS INDIA illegally misrepresenting to the general public/companies/entities “FQS INDIA” having its offices at 2094/165, Tri Nagar, New Delhi – 110035 is misusing the name, brand, goodwill and reputation of JAS-ANZ and is illegally misrepresenting to the general public/companies/entities the accreditation which enables it to issue JAS-ANZ accredited certifications including Product Certifications, System Certification, Food Certification, and Social Certification.

FQS India is placing misleading information/news reports/advertisements in the public domain including on the Internet in various websites illegally misrepresenting that it is authorized to issue System Certifications including JAS-ANZ accredited certificates for QMS ISQ 9001:2008; JAS-ANZ accredited certificates for EMS ISO 14001:2004; JAS-ANZ accredited certificates for OHSAS: 18001:1999, JAS-ANZ accredited certificates for ISO 13485, Food Certifications including JAS-ANZ accredited certificates for FSMS: 22000:2005 and JAS-ANZ accredited certificates for HACCP.

Did any customer notice inferior performance?

Did anyone outside the cartel care?

Were there complaints beyond an inappropriately high price for a non-cartel service?

Were there any complaints at all?

Might the real fear be that the difference between the fake and the real accreditation is not discernible by customers?

The statement lacks evidence of harm done apart from the obvious financial deception by a company which, unlike UKAS, is not authorised by governments to monopolise this. Nothing crashed.  Nobody died or developed a nasty little rash.  Or if they did, UKAS doesn’t care enough to report it.  While the market for accreditation bodies is not open to competition customers cannot test which, if any, accreditation service has value.

Do you think any difference was detectable in the service between the cartel and non-cartel accreditations? What was the uncertainty of measurement between the services? Please tell!  This is surely a topic for peer-reviewed scientific investigation.

Doctors like to see evidence from well-designed clinical trials.  Scientists like to know the performance characteristics of the tests they use.  Instead UKAS offers…hopeful assertions.

Sometimes counterfeits might be deadly. For some people certain counterfeits may be good enough.  Sometimes they’re better than the real thing and force it to improve.

There may be no harm done unless you’ve been deceived into paying too much and to organised crime.  Though some might point out that the cartel fails on both these points.


Buyers can evaluate risks when they are informed but not when they are deceived.

A lot of customers are happy with known counterfeits. Sometimes the brand isn’t really as valuable as some would have you believe.

If neither the real nor the counterfeit product works, which is the more criminal enterprise?

Counterfeits potentially devalue a brand.  There is a place for the law to protect against organised crime.  But what UKAS wants to avoid is having to let its effectiveness speak for itself.  Or to be compared against a competing philosophy.  Its monopoly is protected by law because it does not want to compete on similar terms to those it accredits.

If this approach is valid, why are all services not provided by accredited monopolies?

If the ISO management standard itself is valid, why can companies not compete with UKAS inspect to it?

Would competition between inspection bodies give a reduction in inspection cost that is small compared with the compliance cost in the months between inspections?

When mediocrity is enforced by law, how might a better system get started?

How might services rediscover that professional relationships with users rather than “management system” are the answer?

This entry was posted in Cartel, Economics, Laboratory medicine, Law, Management, Philosophy, Politics, Questions, Science and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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