The State of Alaska and Onboard Media, Inc. (OBM), along with other U.S. promotion companies, today announced a settlement regarding the port shopping programs OBM and the other companies conduct onboard cruise ships that visit ports in Alaska.
The settlement is part of the Attorney General’s ongoing review of shopping programs conducted in Alaska ports by several U.S. promotion companies.
Among other terms in the settlement agreement, OBM and the other companies have agreed to certain practices, including making clear to passengers that retail stores pay advertising fees and sales commissions as part of the onboard promotion, to enhance the oversight of the contractors hired to hold shopping presentations on shipboard, and to ensure that local businesses that are not part of the shopping program will not be disparaged.
OBM has had these practices in place for a number of years, and they have been formalized as part of this agreement.
“Since the inception of the Alaska Consumer Protection Act, Onboard Media has been at the forefront of creating and managing business practices that comply with both the spirit and the letter of the Act,” said OBM President Sarah Reno. “We’re happy to have had the opportunity to create an enhanced program in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office that aligns our expectations. We are committed complying with all rules and regulations and upholding high ethical standards as the foundation of our business practices.”
In 2006, OBM spearheaded the development of shopping program standards in Alaska. The executive team met with mayors, city councils, business associations, chambers of commerce and visitors’ centers in each city involved in the program, and created operating standards in order to highlight local Alaska retailers, as well as to ensure program transparency and consistency across all ships.
“Whereas these high standards have always been the cornerstone of our program, we’re very pleased to have them formalized through this agreement,” said Noelle Sipos, Vice President of Operations at Onboard Media. “This supports our efforts to underscore the provisions of the law to our retail partners and onboard shopping representatives.”