Over the weekend, a letter was published in the real estate section of the Arizona Republic regarding the cancellation of a listing. The seller, it seems, had reluctantly agreed to a 6 month listing, after the listing broker had verbally agreed to cancel at any time. Right there, you can see the problem. Verbally.
After two months, for whatever reason, the sellers decided they no longer wanted to sell their home, and requested cancellation of the listing agreement. The broker said "Sure"; but requested $1000 compensation for advertising and promotion already completed.
The attorney who responded to the letter surprised me with his answer which was, essentially, try to come to a financial agreement.
First, let me say that if, as a Broker, you are willing to cancel the agreement, and so state at its inception, it is to the benefit of both parties to put the terms, and any financial penalties of such action, in writing at that time.
It seemed to me that the broker decided, retroactively, to charge for services rendered, and held the seller to ransom until he coughed up. Ethically, I find this disturbing and disappointing. We charge a reasonable rate for our services, but never collect a penny until they are completed, i.e. the home is sold. Some we win, and some we lose. It's part of the cost of being in business.
There are some companies who break down each individual service offered, and charge accordingly, sort of "a la carte" pricing. That is fine. In this instance I think the broker should take the high road, forget the charges and move on. If, in the future, that is how he/she wishes to conduct their business, disclose it up front and in writing.