Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the National Ethics Association?

    Since 2001, National Ethics Association (NEA) has helped business professionals build their businesses on a foundation of trust, ethics and best practices. NEA is committed to helping businesses serve their customers with knowledge and integrity by providing educational resources and content encouraging and promoting ethics in business and beyond.

    NEA is also devoted to aiding consumers with the increasingly complex task of conducting due diligence on business professionals. This results in greater peace of mind for skeptical consumers and also rewards those worthy of their trust.

  2. Who belongs to the National Ethics Association?

    National Ethics Association Members come from all industries, but share one thing—the desire to build consumer trust through greater business transparency. By joining NEA they can access an online marketing platform that enhances their reputations, generates new sales, and locks down existing business. At the same time, consumers who use this platform benefit from information that helps them buy with confidence.

  3. What does it mean to be a Member of the National Ethics Association?

    National Ethics Association Members subscribe to NEA’s four guiding values:

    First, they believe in the power of best practices to build successful companies and careers.

    Second, they support full transparency with prospective and existing customers, since they have nothing to hide.

    Third, they encourage customers to conduct due diligence before making important purchase decisions—and help them do so.

    Fourth, they believe reputation is a priceless business asset that must be protected and nourished.

    However, NEA membership doesn’t make business professionals ethical. Nor does it give them license to tout their membership as a badge of ethics. It simply means:

    • That they believe in the importance of trust, transparency, and due diligence in creating a dynamic and successful business marketplace and
    • That they wish to affiliate with other business professionals who share those beliefs.
  4. How does the National Ethics Association promote ethics in business?

    The Association publishes a monthly Member newsletter entitled Ethics Edge. This newsletter shows Members how to build consumer trust through greater transparency, customer focus, and commitment to ethical business practices. We also publish articles about ethics and reputation management in a variety of business magazines and websites.

  5. What services does the National Ethics Association provide to the general public?

    The National Ethics Association provides consumers with services that help them stay protected and informed in the business marketplace. These include:

    • An online Consumer Hub that helps them access free resources, make smart buying decisions, avoid scams, file complaints, take legal action, and save money.
    • Access to a third-party identity-theft prevention service.
    • A comprehensive directory of regulatory agencies.
  6. Where is the National Ethics Association located?

    San Diego, CA

    Phone: (800) 282-1831
    Fax: (760) 462-3333


Frequently Asked Questions related to Membership

  1. How does the National Ethics Association handle complaints about a Member?

    Consumers may file a complaint against any Member by notifying us in writing. Simply click "Contact" on our top-level menu bar and then fill out the form. We take all complaints seriously and move quickly to inform Members about them. However, please note that we do not process anonymous complaints and that we are not a formal complaint mediation service. For such assistance, please contact your local Better Business Bureau (BBB).

    Our complaint handling process unfolds as follows:

    A. A consumer files a complaint with us regarding a current Member of the National Ethics Association.

    B. We acknowledge receipt of the complaint with the consumer. We also explain to the consumer that:

    • We have logged the complaint into our system.
    • We will provide a copy of the complaint to the Member.
    • The consumer should make use of resources available on the Internet (see Regulator Check tab on Member Profile).
    • The consumer should read the Membership Terms and Conditions on our website.

    C. Next, we inform the Member by phone that a consumer has filed a complaint and explain the importance of the Member resolving it promptly. We also encourage the Member to provide his or her side of the dispute.

    D. Then we e-mail the Member a copy of the complaint, requesting an explanation within two weeks. We also express our desire for the Member to resolve the complaint no later than 30 days from the date of the notification e-mail.

    E. After we receive the Member’s explanation and determine that no further action is needed, we notify the Member via e-mail that the case has been closed.

    F. In the event a Member generates serious and repeated consumer complaints, the National Ethics Association reserves the right to revoke that person’s membership.

  2. How much does National Ethics Association membership cost?

    Membership costs $15 per month or $156 per year.

  3. How much does an NEA Certified Background Check cost?

    The cost for this optional service is $119.

  4. How often does the National Ethics Association check the backgrounds of Members who have purchased a Certified Background Check?

    Without exception, the National Ethics Association conducts a full background check on Members who have purchased that certification once each year at the time of renewal.

  5. What are the National Ethics Associations policies regarding Member use of its logo?

    All Members must comply with the branding guidelines detailed in our Membership Agreement. Following are several key requirements:

    • Members must always use the current National Ethics Association logo.
    • Members must never use the Association’s logo to suggest it has endorsed any company, product, marketing concept, service, or seminar with which Members are affiliated.
    • Members must not alter or modify the National Ethics Association logo in any way.
  6. What benefits do National Ethics Association Members receive?

    Members receive the following benefits:

    • Search-friendly Professional Profile
    • Rights to use and promote Member logo
    • membership certificate
    • Business ethics tips and techniques and management tools
    • Access to over 100,000 product discounts in 2,300 U.S. cities
    • Group rates on errors and omissions insurance
    • Discounted employee background checks
    • Access to content Library archives
    • Our monthly newsletter, Ethics Edge* for tips on becoming a more transparent and trustworthy business.
  7. What does the National Ethics Association disclose to consumers regarding the meaning of NEA’s Certified Background Check? Does the Association provide a disclaimer?

    The Association makes every effort to help the public understand the following three things about our Members with Certified Background Checks, which is stated throughout our website and printed materials:

    They have passed our 7-year background checks as follows:

    Criminal Background Check – 7 Year


    Civil Background Check – 7 Year


    They have agreed to maintain the Association’s standards;

    Being background-checked is no assurance of good character or the ability to provide quality products or services.

    In view of this, the Association prominently posts contact information and guidance in its Regulator Check directory and in printed materials to help consumers conduct their own due diligence. In addition, it provides consumers with the following disclaimer:

    All National Ethics Association Members with a Certified Background Check have successfully passed our annual seven-year background checks for criminal and civil violations in order to meet our membership standards. However, the Association provides no guaranteed assurance or warranty of the character or competence of its Members. Always make financial decisions on the basis of your own due diligence. Contact information for various state and federal regulatory agencies can be found in our Regulator Check Directory. The National Ethics Association is not affiliated with any state or federal government agency. For more details on the Association’s membership standards and disqualifying violations, feel free to call us at 800-282-1831.

  8. What specific background checks does the National Ethics Association conduct?

    NEA’s Certified Background Check utilizes Sterling Infosystems’ proprietary resources for in-depth civil and criminal background screening. . Members who display this credential must be free from any felonies or misdemeanors over the past 7 years, as well as have no adverse civil judgments/convictions or bankruptcies over the same time period.

    Note: Judgments and/or convictions of a civil nature may not include those recorded by industry regulators. For real-time information from regulatory agencies, we direct consumers to visit our Regulator Check directory.

  9. How does the National Ethics Association revoke a Member’s Certified Background Check credential?

    The Association immediately issues a cease-and-desist letter to the Member requesting the person stop holding him or herself out as a Certified Background Checked NEA Member.

  10. When communicating with the public, what terminology are background-checked Members allowed to use when describing their memberships?

    Members may only describe themselves as “a Certified Background-Checked Member of the National Ethics Association” and cannot imply in any way, whether written or spoken, that the Association endorses or approves of their company, products, or services.

    In addition, they must not state or imply that holding a Certified Background Check is a professional designation of any kind or that the National Ethics Association "verifies” or "certifies” their ethics.

  11. Why do you disallow a Certified Background Check credential when a Member has had a bankruptcy?

    Although many bankruptcies may be the result of medical problems or divorce, and not financial irresponsibility, National Ethics Association errs on the side of caution in this regard and considers them to be an adverse mark on a Member’s record. Therefore, effective June 1, 2007, the Association added bankruptcy to the list of disqualifying violations for Members seeking a Certified Background Check credential. All new Members seeking a Certified Background Check must have a seven-year record free of bankruptcies, regardless of the circumstances surrounding them.