We are all professionals … or are we? In my recent post, Understanding the Realtor® Code of Ethics: Article 14 – Handling Ethics Violations, I explained some of the processes surrounding ethical violations. But, there is another side to this …
Sometimes, there are people who have nothing better to do than to falsely accuse other Realtors® of violating the Code of Ethics. Well, THAT is an ethical violation, in and of itself. So there. Ha. Ha.
REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about competitors, their businesses, or their business practices.
There are two distinct parts to this particular article, and again, we ARE professionals so it does seem a bit sad that any of this really needs to be spelled out. But, alas, even professionals are “human” and so let’s s-p-e-l-l it out…
Realtor® “shall not knowingly or recklessly file false or unfounded ethics complaints.”
Duh? No. it happens all the time. I guarantee that if you ask anyone on the professional standards committee of any Board of Realtors® in any part of the country you will find a laundry list of “false and unfounded” complaints filed all the time. Sure, some of them are filed by John Q. Public, but I guarantee that a good chunk of them are filed by other angry Realtors® who are not thinking before they file.
Why? Well, sometimes things happen in a transaction where Realtor® A and Realtor® B have a personality conflict that really pisses off Realtor® A. Now, Realtor® A can’t seem to GET OVER IT and move on with life, so they huff and puff and blow right through any rational thought processes that they may have had at one time and start grasping at ways to “get back” at Realtor® B. Sometimes they decide that a personality conflict is an Ethical Violation. But after reading trough all the Articles, they find that there is no “Every Realtor® is mandated to get along with every other Realtor® on the planet” Standard of Practice, so they just start filing false ethics complaints – in hopes that one might “stick.” Not a good idea, as now Realtor® B can turn around and tag them with violating Article 15 (the ONE article that Realtor® A must have missed on their first read through…). Oh, and NO TAG-BACKS!
Second, this article is meant to protect the reputation of individual Realtors® by making it a violation to make “false or misleading statements about competitors’ businesses and competitors’ business practices.” Further, it is ALSO a Realtors’® duty NOT to “knowingly or recklessly repeat, retransmit, or republish false or misleading statements made by others.” Not by mouth. Not by writing. Not via the internet. Don’t be the Gossip Queen or King. Don’t involve yourself in the Rumor Mill. It was annoying in Junior High, and guess what? It is even MORE annoying now.
And beyond annoying – beyond the fact that a gossip repeater is a person that NO ONE trusts – beyond the fact that if someone is a gossip repeater, then they have NO BUSINESS being involved in the personal/financial lives of a buyer or seller – beyond all this … intentionally starting a rumor or spreading gossip about a Realtor® can irreparably damage their business and their livelihood forever.
We ARE all professionals, here. Article 15 just reminds us to ACT LIKE IT.
Please take a moment to check out my previous posts on Understanding the Realtor® Code of Ethics: Articles 1-14