That Target Companion Parrot Owners
Prepared by Barbara Heidenreich of Good Bird Inc
The internet is a highly successful medium for selling products for business owners focused on the companion parrot community. While in most cases these companies are operating in a legal and fair manner, not all sellers adhere to the highest standards of ethical business practices. In some cases the seller is practicing fraud on the consumer by misrepresenting themselves and their materials. These types of trade practices are considered unfair and deceptive and are investigated by the Attorney General and The Federal Trade Commission when reported.
If these practices are not brought to the attention of the buying public, consumers do not have the opportunity to practice discretion and make educated decisions as to where to spend their money. In addition new members of the online parrot community may not be informed enough to adequately evaluate whether use of the materials from these sites may be harmful to their parrots. Unfortunately the highest profile on the internet does not always equal the highest standard in ethical business practices or training information. It is for this reason Good Bird Inc has prepared the following position statements and information.
1. Good Bird Inc believes it is important to respect intellectual copyrights. This extends to and includes any videos, written material and photographs.
2. Good Bird Inc recognizes plagiarism as an unfair and deceptive trade practice.
3. Good Bird Inc believes in disclosure of one’s sources for material. This includes listing references and resources for content that is the result of studying the material of scientists, researchers, and other professionals.
4. Good Bird Inc advocates promoting the use of the least intrusive, most positive methods of parrot training as identified by the science of Behavior Analysis
5. Good Bird Inc supports using the terminology as defined by the science of Behavior Analysis to teach people how to train their parrots.
6. Good Bird Inc believes responsible teaching of animal training information requires that the teacher demonstrates a clear understanding of the science of Behavior Analysis and its appropriate use to influence behavior.
7. Good Bird Inc believes successful marketing does not require the use of “scare tactics” to generate interest in a product.
8. Good Bird Inc believes the use of false testimonials to misrepresent the skills and qualifications of the site owner and/or the efficacy of the product is a deceptive trade practice.
9. Good Bird Inc respects the rights of individuals to privacy including those participating in chat groups.
10. Good Bird Inc advocates transparency of ownership of websites, blogs, and other vehicles used to market materials.
11. Good Bird Inc believes the misrepresentation of oneself on a chat group to attempt to market products is a deceptive and unfair trade practice.
Buyer Beware. Red Flags to Alert Consumers:
Carefully scrutinize sites that make claims similar to the following:
•No one has discovered this before
•Parrot training secrets revealed
•The secrets the professionals don’t want you to know
•Never before revealed training secrets
•Secrets to parrot training (anything claiming to be the “secret” is questionable)
•Revolutionary training techniques
•Stop your parrot biting instantly
•Professionals don’t even have this information
•New methods of training
•Our newly discovered technique
•Never been seen before
•Even the professionals are amazed
•Guaranteed to work in X number of days
•Will work on any parrot
•Guaranteed to fix your parrot behavior problems
•Any line that tries to scare you into buying something
•Parrot trainers are shocked by this product
•Quick fixes for your parrot
•This system is the only one that works
•Drastic results in X hours
•You can easily train your bird to talk in X hours/days or less
•These techniques will make your parrot love you!
•You will be able to hold conversations with your bird
•Sites that use the language described above.
•Sites that emphasize methods that are easy and fast.
•Sites that feature teachers who lack credentials as professionals in the industry and/or include self proclaimed titles of experience. (Look for credentials. These may include affiliations with recognized professional organizations, degrees or certification in the profession, a resume or CV that demonstrates professional hands-on experience in the industry.)
•Sites that lack any references or affiliation to other materials and professionals known in the field. (Established professionals usually work together in a cooperative and/or collaborative way with other recognized professionals. This usually includes references to other sources of information and products on their sites in addition to their own)
What You Can Do:
1. File a Report:
If you suspect an internet marketer is operating in a manner that would be considered unfair trade practices and/or deceptive or if you are a victim of any of the examples listed above you can file a claim with your State Attorney General’s office. Each state has a different office. An internet search should be able to provide a link to the office in your state.
You can also file with the Federal Trade Commission http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/index.shtml.
3. Support Your Recognized Avian Professionals:
Not all business people that use the internet to sell product engage in activities that are questionable. The following represents a short list of sources that are genuine in their effort to provide quality information and sincerely want parrots and people to experience the best relationship possible via a positive reinforcement approach to training. By no means are these the only good sources.
Good Bird Inc supports the following internet information resources. When seeking information about parrot training please visit their sites and buy their products.
Ellen K. Cook, DVM
Susan Friedman, PhD
Rebecca O Connor