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Re: Discussing Engineering Fee's

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         (__)                  Dennis S. Wish PE                    

Dear SEAINT Listservice, 
Not good enough Mark. First of all, we are not an association suggesting that 
we restrict fees - only that we understand the value of our services and what 
are goals or aim should be. This does not restrain other engineers from 
underbidding or providing more services for the dollar.
You are making a wrong interpretation of the intention of the suit. No 
organization can restrict an engineer for advertising his practice. This was 
considered unethical years ago as even doctors and lawyers were not allowed 
to advertise. This has, obviously, been removed from the cannons and has 
become a common practice by all trades.
As with the fair trade laws - no professional organization can set a range of 
fees for services and require their members to abide by it. This will 
restrain trade by forcing those who abide by the fee to lose work to those 
who underbid. The big questions in this case is who filed suit? Was the suit 
filed by an engineer who believed that he could charge whatever he felt was 
fair, or by another group who believed that he could not find competitive 
pricing due to the professional organizations strict requirments? 

This does not prevent any group of independents from discussing a reasonable 
range of fees for services performed. My question was not to fix a fee 
schedule, but to assert my right to sell my services within a range of fee's 
close to my competition and hope that the lowest bidder will realize that he, 
too can earn more for his services. This still allows for fair competition 
but within a more limited range.


In a message dated 6/2/99 8:18:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time, oakfordm(--nospam--at) 

<< FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  August 15, 1989
      The Federal Trade Commission has charged that the Structural
 Engineers Association of Northern California, Inc. (SEAONC)
 illegally restrained competition among structural engineers in
 Northern California.  Under a consent agreement announced today
 for public comment, SEAONC agreed not to restrict its members
 from soliciting business by truthful advertising; engaging in
 price competition; and providing services to clients of other
      SEAONC is a voluntary professional association of approx-
 imately 1,000 structural engineers who comprise over 70% of the
 Northern California licensed structural engineers and civil
 engineers who perform structural engineering.
      According to a complaint accompanying the consent agreement,
 SEAONC had enacted canons of ethics that:
      --   prohibited its members from self-laudatory advertising;
      --   required its members to charge "appropriate and ade-
           quate" fees for their work; and
      --   prohibited its members from providing services to the
           clients of other engineers.
      All of these actions, the complaint said, restrained compe-
 tition unreasonably and injured consumers.
      SEAONC's principal business office is located in San Fran-
 cisco, Calif.  The investigation was handled by the FTC's San
 Francisco Regional Office.
      The consent agreement is scheduled to appear in the Federal
 Register August 16.  It will be subject to public comment for 60
 days, until October 16, after which the Commission will decide
 whether to make it final.
      Comments should be addressed to the Office of the Secretary,
 FTC, 6th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
      A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does
 not constitute admission of a law violation.  When the Commission
 issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of
 law with respect to future actions.  Each violation of such an
 order may result in a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
      Copies of the consent agreement, the complaint, and an
 analysis of the agreement are available from the FTC's Public
 Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.,
 Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY 202-326-2502.
                               # # #
 MEDIA CONTACT:      Susan Ticknor, Office of Public Affairs,
 STAFF CONTACT:      Jeffrey Klurfeld, San Francisco Regional
                     Office, 415-995-5220
 (FTC File No. 881 0081)
 How's this for a good reason not to discuss fees - Federal and State Law do
 not allow it.  Visit the Federal Trade Commission Web Site at
 Mark Oakford, P.E., oakfordm(--nospam--at)
 RSE Consulting, Federal Way, WA  98093-1417
 T 253-927-6169   F 253-838-3823


Dennis S. Wish PE
Structural Engineering Consultant