Information Quality Request (FY 2004)

From: Mike Terzo
Received by e-mail: December 03, 2003
Subject: Website complaint from Aqua Creek Products, LLC.

Deputy General Counsel
Access Board 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 2004-1111

Dear Deputy General Counsel,

This email is regarding your access board guidelines at your internet website:  We are a manufacturer of swimming pool and spa access equipment.  We manufacture several different varieties of pool and spa access lifts which fall under your guidelines.  We feel that there is biased and non-objective information in your "Aquatic Recreation Facilities" guideline section, specifically the part that addresses pool and spa lifts.  This is due to the fact that there are pictures, drawings, and diagrams that show our competitor's products, and due to the fact that our products do not resemble the ones on your website, it may be portrayed that the ones shown are the only acceptable products available.  We are a new company (1-1/2 years old) and this problem may be due to the fact that you are unaware of our products.  We created this company with the goal of providing affordable, quality access to pools and spas and we feel that your website might not shed light on the fact that there are pool lifts that do not look like the only ones that have been available for years. According you your "Quality Performance goals" listed on your website: , you want to give information that "will be objective in substance and presentation. Objectivity means ensuring the information is accurate, reliable, and unbiased; and presenting the information in an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased manner, and within a proper context, including identifying sources.

Our lifts meet your guidelines, and therefore either should not be excluded from the website, or should not show any one companies product.  We would like you to consider putting one of our photos on you website so the the public may see that there are many options and designs that fullfill the access board's guidelines.

Please feel free to contact me, as I would like to discuss this matter further with someone.

Mike Terzo President
Aqua Creek Products, LLC.
3015 W. Railroad St. #8
Missoula, MT 59808
Phone 406-549-0769
Toll Free 888-687-3552
Fax 406-549-2602

Access Board Response

January 16, 2004

Mr. Mike Terzo
Aqua Creek Products, LLC
3015 W. Railroad St. #8
Missoula, MT 59808

Dear Mr. Terzo:

This letter is in response to your email of December 3, 2003 regarding the drawings and pictures of pool and spa lifts on the Access Board’s website at guides/pools.htm. Your email expressed concern that the inclusion of photographs of competitor’s products which did not resemble the pool and spa lifts which your company produces resulted in “biased and non-objective” information. Specifically, you stated that “due to the fact that our products do not resemble the ones on your website, it may be portrayed that the ones shown are the only acceptable products available.”

As you are aware, in September of 2002, the Access Board issued accessibility guidelines for newly constructed and altered recreation facilities. Included in those guidelines were provisions addressing swimming pools, wading pools and spas. Subsequently, to help users become familiar with the guidelines, the Board developed supplementary guides on each of the facility types covered. Those guides were published both on the Access Board’s website and in print form.

Pursuant to your request, I have reviewed the Access Board’s guide pertaining to accessible swimming pools and spas published on the Board’s website. The site does contain both photographs and drawings of pool and spa lifts. The site does not contain an exhaustive depiction of types of lifts, but merely a sampling of products. There is no indication that the depictions provided are the sole products available which meet the Board’s guidelines. However, as a result of our review, the Access Board is taking the following actions:

The Board’s website will include a disclaimer which states that the products depicted are examples used to illustrate the accessibility guidelines; that other products may be available; and that the Access Board does not endorse the manufacturers or their products.

The next reprinting of the Accessible Swimming Pools and Spas guide will include an identical disclaimer.

It is also our intention to include this disclaimer on other guides and resources published by the Board as well where a sampling of products is provided.

I hope this letter has addressed your concerns. If you disagree with this decision and the actions outlined in this letter, you have 15 calendar days from receipt of the decision to file a request for reconsideration with the General Counsel. Requests for reconsideration must include specific reasons why the decision should be modified or reversed. The General Counsel will respond in writing within 45 days of the receipt of the request and will determine whether an error exists and a correction is warranted and what action, if any, will be taken.



Elizabeth A. Stewart
Deputy General Counsel