For the first time ever, I’m going to file a complaint against another realtor. In this case, the listing agent discounted her commission so her buyer would win, even though my all-cash buyer had a higher offer.
It is in the vaunted Realtor Code of Ethics that any different commission deal needs to be disclosed to the buyer-agents:
7.22 Dual or Variable Rate Commission Arrangements. The existence of a dual or variable commission arrangement shall be disclosed by the listing broker by a key, code or symbol as required by the MLS. A dual or variable rate commission arrangement is one in which the seller or owner agrees to pay a specified commission if the property is sold by the listing broker without assistance and a different commission if the sale results through the efforts of a cooperating broker, or one in which the seller or owner agrees to pay a specified commission if the property is sold by the listing broker either with or without the assistance of a cooperating broker and a different commission if the sale results through the efforts of a seller or owner. The listing broker shall, in response to inquiries from potential cooperating brokers, disclose the differential that would result in either a cooperative transaction or, alternatively, in a sale that results through the efforts of the seller or owner. If the cooperating broker is representing a buyer or tenant, the cooperating broker must then disclose such information to his or her client before the client makes an offer to purchase or lease.
Of course, when taking the listing most agents don’t think they are going to discount their commission to screw another agent out of a deal, but once they get into the heat of battle, they lose their mind and forget.
Or they never knew it was against the rules.
The maximum penalty is a letter in the agent’s file for six months, so there isn’t a big deterrent to being unethical. They say that the reason the MLS exists is to ensure cooperation and compliance between agents, which sounds good – right up until money is on the line.
I wonder how many agents have read the Code of Ethics?