In my opinion there is a minimum standard for professional ethics and it boils down to living up to your professional responsibilities.
What are vendors professional responsibilities?
I am sure the list can be much longer..but here is what I consider a minimum:1.Never misinform a customer or potential customer.
2.Honor your agreements whether with a customer or a competitor.
3.Conduct yourself in a professional manner and extend as much courtesy as possible at all times.
4.Give back at least as much to the community (you depend upon for a customer base) as you take.
Even with such a short list of simple "rules" it is probably not possible for someone to follow them perfectly and without fail. Humans simply are not that perfect.
So don't expect any vendor to live up to them perfectly. I know I can't. What I DO expect is that an ethical vendor will not chronically break them or ignore them simply for the sake of profit.
And this is the easiest way to determine if any vendor is likely to act in an ethical manner with YOU.
Ask yourself these questions:How often does the vendor appear to act in the general interest as much as they act in their own interest?
How often does the vendor appear to act in an unprofessional manner toward their peers?
How often does the vendor make claims about their product to prospective customers that is clearly not true ?
How often does the vendor appear to not honor/live up to agreements?
How would YOU use your "rules" to choose which vendor YOU would buy a kit from?
But this process may not need to involve determining vendor ethics.Here's what I would do if I needed a conversion kit.
1) I would gather together all of the vendors names on a list.
2) Then I would cross out all of them that don't offer a kit for my vehicle.
3) Then I would take the remaining ones and list the least expensive kits at the top and most expensive at the bottom.
4) Then I would use the comparative charts for kits HERE
to determine if all the needed parts to convert my vehicle are included in each of the kits and if they are not in some add on what I estimate they will cost...along with any shipping or "go get it" time may be needed to get those missing parts.
5) Then I would add in those costs so I am comparing "apples to apples" and change the order if any of the adjusted costs made "less expensive" kits more expensive.
6) It is at this point I would begin to look for complaints from former customers about customer service on the forums. Perhaps even post a "Please contact me privately if you have had a bad experience with any of these vendors" (posting the names of any of the vendors which remain on your list). "I am trying to choose a kit with good customer service". If you get a large number of individuals that complain about customer service from one vendor check them to make sure that they don't come from "sock puppets" of one of the other vendors (yes..that is not uncommon)...and then choose the vendor(s) which are either complaint free or have the lowest number of complaints compared to their size. I would also call them during business hours to see if they answer their phone(s). If they don't it may indicate that getting help during installation will be a problem. If they don't answer try leaving a message saying which kit you are interested in and that you have a few questions you need answered to help decide if you will buy their kit or a competitors....and see how long it takes to "get back to you". If they take a long time to return you call BEFORE you buy...it is not a good sign that they will return your calls promptly after they receive your payment for a kit.Here is where the rules above might come into play..
7) If you decision is now still between several vendors choose the one which has not publicly displayed poor ethics. I believe it display better ethical values to not post at all than to publicly post information that clearly shows a poor grasp of high ethical standards...or an acceptance of low ones.
Although low ethical standards of vendors hurt both the VO fuel conversion community as a whole...and its' members individually there is really not much that they can do to force vendors to hold themselves to a higher standard. As with any profession or industry it must establish standards and a means of enforcing those standards on its own members...unless the Govt is willing to do so. And in this case that is not an option anytime in the foreseeable future.