You have a better shot at a violation of Article 1, standard of practice 1-4
"RealtorsÂ®, 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 RealtorÂ®'s services."
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 REALTORSÂ® 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 brokersâ€™ 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 REALTORSÂ® to whom such offers to provide services may be made. (Amended 1/04)
Standard of Practice 16-4
REALTORSÂ® shall not solicit a listing which is currently listed exclusively with another broker. However, if the listing broker, when asked by the REALTORÂ®, 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 REALTORÂ® may contact the owner to secure such information and may discuss the terms upon which the REALTORÂ® might take a future listing or, alternatively, may take a listing to become effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive listing. (Amended 1/94)
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.
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.
VP - PCAR
Don't trust anyone.
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!