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Potential ethical conflict in using "knock-off" products

One of your major suppliers of designer sheets, towels, and robes, describes a way the Uniform and Linen Leasing Company (U&L) can save a substantial amount of money by using "knock-offs" of the designer towels instead of the real name brand version. They show you samples and no one seems to be able to tell the difference. A very large chain of luxury hotels depend on the services of U&L to be provided with certain designer sheets, towels, and robes. U&L decides to approach their hotel customer with the idea. What problems do you foresee in the areas of ethics, leadership, and reputation for U&L?

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Ethical problems could arise if the hotel customer agrees to use the "knock-off" products. If they continue to market their chain as luxury hotels with a certain name brand for linens, but uses the "knock-offs" instead, this is fraudulent advertising. In the event of customer complaints, it is very likely that the quesiton of linen supplies would be raised. U&L could very easily become entangled with the ...

Solution Summary

The decision to use "knock-off" products can cause ethics problems, elude to a form of leadership that will engage in questionable actions, along with potentially damaging the organization's reputation.

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