Vendor Relationships

Business Conduct with Vendors

The highest standards of business ethics and conduct should be applied by all Dartmouth employees in relations with suppliers. When making decisions affecting suppliers, employees shall not obligate either themselves or the College to a supplier. In conducting business with suppliers, employees are also expected to act fairly and objectively and in the best interests of the College. Fairness to suppliers is promoted by the following means:

  • By giving all salespersons a fair, prompt and courteous hearing on any subject that is justified by the nature of their products or services.
  • By keeping competition open and fair.
  • By discouraging revision of bids after submission and insisting on receiving the best price initially and holding the bidder to it.
  • By keeping buying specification fair and clear and not including impractical or unnecessary specifications.
  • By showing consideration for the vendors' difficulties and cooperating with them to the fullest extent possible.
  • By not soliciting quotes from a potential supplier unless we are willing to use that supplier should the offer be acceptable in quality, price, delivery terms and service. Qualifications of a supplier will be determined by Procurement Services before a quotation is requested.
  • By not bargaining with suppliers. Ensure that each bidder's quoted price is compared with other bids submitted under the same conditions.
  • By keeping prices confidential and not divulging those prices to competitors.

In cases when the appropriate Procurement Representative is not already providing the communication interface with suppliers, employees should consult with Procurement Services Management if questions arise relative to these relational guidelines.


Mutual respect between supplier and Buyer has always been and always will be an important factor in business. It is to be encouraged between the two parties where it can be of advantage to both. There is nothing questionable or unethical in lunching with a supplier, either to give the salesperson a better opportunity to present his or her case or to cultivate a business relationship, provided the employee accepts such intentions as they would from any other person and keep themselves free from obligation. Employees must not become obligated to any supplier and shall not participate in any transaction in which they may personally benefit.

No gifts, beyond those of an advertising nature and insignificant value, generally distributed to all potential customers, may be accepted by any Dartmouth employee. Gifts received which are unacceptable according to this policy shall be returned to the donors.


Dartmouth employees shall not accept purely social entertainment offered or sponsored by suppliers. Entertainment is not construed to mean an occasional business meal or a function where Dartmouth stands to benefit from the supplier association.

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