Question Details

Concetta,  in New York, NY

CODE OF ETHICS COMPLAINT

Asked by Concetta, New York, NY Mon Apr 28, 2008

An agent stole my buyer from me. Convinced my buyers to leave me out of the sale.,or else. So my buyer did. after the closing my buyer will come forward to the the board to let them know what has happened. Question IS from the code of ethics and standards of practice what artical(s) (i.e.1,2,3,etc.) from the code that you believe the realtor have violated.

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13
donald... standards 16 all rely on an exclusive buyer's relationship, and since there was no "exclusive buyer's agreement" that may be a touch too vague.

You have a better shot at a violation of Article 1, standard of practice 1-4

"Realtors®, when seeking to become a buyer representative, shall not mislead buyers a to savings or other benefits that might be realized through use of the Realtor®'s services."
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
Contact
Connie,
Here is an active link for our Washington Association of Realtors handout with NAR Articles, for a class taught with scenarios like the one you describe above. http://www.sccar.com/docs/coeManual.pdf I sit on a regional ethics panel and this is a very common topic of discussion especially when the market slows some. There are MANY articles that this other agent potentially broke under Realtor conduct... Article 1 (client's interests primary), Article 3 (cooperating with other brokers), Maybe Article 15 (no blatant false statments about other realtors), Article 16 (repsecting agency relationships of other realtors),,, just to name a few. The difficulty is PROOVING there was a violation of the article. Your process is to file grievance with your local association and start that way. There is a fee you will have to pay to do this and it goes in front of a committee/panel of active realtors for review. Your buyer will have to be involved for the best outcome in your favor. There possibly (depending on your MLS) could be rule violations there as well. The problem you most likely will encounter will be having your buyers involved with the grievence. Most of them don't want to get involved with agents hashing it out, even IF you were clearly wronged. They just want the house and post that point of closing, it is difficult to get participation. If the other agent isn't a paying member of your local association... then there is little you can do. Many of the discount brokers and limited fee offices in our area are not members of the Association of Realtors. Sometimes we have to take up our grievances with state license law and look for any violations there. However, don't be discouraged by the process you need to follow. Even if your buyers don't participate... follow through on it. The only way for this type of behavior to stop is for agents to take agents behaving badly to task. The only other think I can think of is the possibility that your clients are telling you what you want to hear. Rejection is very hard and sometimes buyers will stretch the truth to make it seem as though they were not the reason for a change of agency. Sometimes, if this IS the case, you will never know the actual truth. Regardless, the other agent SHOULD have called you and told you what was going on. Really it is a matter of professionalism. That being said... some on this site might refute your "entitlement" to the clients and commission if you didn't have a signed buyers agency agreement. The realtor code of ethics is in place to give an "ideal" or "golden rule" type of conduct... regardless of contractual obligations. There is always an "implied" agency realtionship even though you may not have a contract signed. There are varying opinions on the subject, right up until some other agent steals YOUR clients and they find themselves in the same boat... then all of our horns tooting sound the same! We have ALL had it happen if we have been in the business more than 10 minutes! Good luck!
3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 28, 2008
It looks like Elv!s has the right idea.

I really don't think any agent can "steal" a prospect from someone else. The only way that can happem is when the two "agree". Yes, someone can be coerced or intimidated into doing something against their will and better judgment. Having the buyer on your side can only help your cause.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
Connie,
If you had an agency agreement or buyer-broker agreement signed and you were the procurring cause for this home to be purchased your broker should be going to the board immediately. I wouldn't wait until the home is sold, I would file that complaint now.

Charles Coachman
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 28, 2008
One other issue to look into is within our county it's an ethical violation to charge the seller a varaible commission without disclosing it in the listing. So for example, if the commission is 6%, but only 4% if the listing agent is also the selling agent, that needs to be disclosed (if the listing agent is a Realtor).

If that was the ploy that made the buyer switch, and your local Association of Realtors enforces that rule as SKCAR does locally, that could get you somewhere.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
i would go to the state real estate commission, they have more teeth that the local board. matt quoted some great articles. Good luck to you
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
Below is a link to the COE.

What you are refering to happens very often; we just don't get to know about it.

The real estate business is extemely competitive and brutal. Here is what I can find - very quickly;
Standard of Practice 16-3

Article 16 does not preclude REALTORS® from contacting the client of another broker for the purpose of offering to provide, or entering into a contract to provide, a different type of real estate service unrelated to the type of service currently being provided (e.g., property management as opposed to brokerage) or from offering the same type of service for property not subject to other brokers’ exclusive agreements. However, information received through a Multiple Listing Service or any other offer of cooperation may not be used to target clients of other REALTORS® to whom such offers to provide services may be made. (Amended 1/04)


Standard of Practice 16-4

REALTORS® shall not solicit a listing which is currently listed exclusively with another broker. However, if the listing broker, when asked by the REALTOR®, refuses to disclose the expiration date and nature of such listing; i.e., an exclusive right to sell, an exclusive agency, open listing, or other form of contractual agreement between the listing broker and the client, the REALTOR® may contact the owner to secure such information and may discuss the terms upon which the REALTOR® might take a future listing or, alternatively, may take a listing to become effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive listing. (Amended 1/94)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 15, 2008
Typo- Concetta, if your buyers feel "duped" into using someone else (particularly the listing agent) have them contact both the department of state (NYDOS) and the Federal trade commission (FTC).
If there's a violation, then you can take it to the local board- I'm guessing that they'd have little to say at that point re. commission owed.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 15, 2008
My hats off to you Janelle!
Way to go!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 29, 2008
Ask your Broker. Did you have an exclusive buyers brokerage agreement in place?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 28, 2008
Sorry to hear something like this but it does happen. First question is, did you have an exclusive right to represent? If you did, then this other agent interfered with a contractual realationship. Not only do you have an ethicscomplaint, but my guess is you would win the entire commission in an arbitration hearing. If you buyers love this house and are afraid to loose the sale, then let them proceed. You don't want to estrange the buyers and also have the loose the house.

Having an exclusive right to represent is your best protection. You might also ask these buyers if they signed anything with the other agent and what did they sign. Was this other agent a seller's agent, buyer's agent, undisclosed dual agent? Did they have agency explained at all by the other agent? Sounds like there is a good chance the other agent doesn't care much for ethics or anything else. You may want to read through Article 16 of the Realtor Code of Ethics. See Standards of Practice 16-5, 16-9 & 16-13.

I was former Chaiman of Professional Standards for the Putnam County Association of Realtors and would hear a complaint like this if it was filed. Unfortunately these things can come up on occasion. Fortunately it isn't often.

Don Mituzas
VP - PCAR

http://www.nyhomeseller.com
Web Reference: http://www.nyhomeseller.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
The out come of the Code of Ethic. What happened is this. I was selling there Coop in Brooklyn and they the family wanted to relocate to Staten Island .I would send her Daughter e-mails of listings in Staten Island for her Mother and Father to view.They would let me know which ones they liked and I of course set up appointments to show them homes. We did this almost every weekend. This went on for one year. So this time I sent the e-mail to her daughter who was to go and see the home with me but she decided to cancel this day. She changed her mind later in the day and her and her mother went to see if they like the neighborhood and the out side of the home. I get a phone call from them that day telling me that the both of them love the house. What house? I asked. The one we were to see today. The owner was home and showed us around. But he also said we have to deal with his agent if we want a cheaper price then the asking.I ask why the customer said because he told his agent he found us and the deal was he he finds the buyer the commission is cheaper for him And he can then lower the price for them. Now his agent runs over there and makes them sign the disclosure form and the offer to purchase. I called the agent the next day put she hung up on me using the excuse she had to go and get her children from school. She never answered my call again. I went to the broker and was told we can not do an thing because the buyers sign,even if they will stand by me to report the agent it wont hold because they sign with her. Always have your buyers sign the disclosusre and put the address on it too. That's proof enough to bring to the grievance committee.
Don't trust anyone.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 15, 2008
Concetta,
Who was this other agent?How did this agent come to steal your buyer? Who is the agent's broker? How did they convince them or else? Why didn't your buyer complain to the brokers involved? What kind of agency agreement did the buyer sign if any? (Was this a single family home?) What does your broker say about this?
Please let us know!
Good luck!
Jolie
Web Reference: http://joliemuss.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 14, 2008
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