REALTOR® Complaint Process

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The West San Gabriel Valley Association of REALTORS® (WSGVAR) is here to help resolve both your ethics and arbitration complaints. We have several resources available for accomplishing this, from ombudsmen, to the Association’s Professional Standards Committee, to C.A.R.’s interboard arbitration procedures.

Many difficulties between real estate professionals (whether REALTORS® or not) result from misunderstanding, miscommunication, or lack of adequate communication. If you have a problem with a real estate professional, you may want to speak with them or with a principal broker in the firm. Open, constructive discussion often resolves questions or differences, eliminating the need for further action.

If, after discussing matters with your real estate professional or a principal broker in that firm, and you are still not satisfied, West San Gabriel Valley Association of REALTORS® has FREE options available to you.  The step-by-step process for how the NAR handles ethics complaints is explained in the attached flow chart. Click here to see a printable flow-chart of the process or the click the image below.

You will want to keep in mind that . . .

  • Only REALTORS® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®s are subject to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®.

  • If the real estate professional (or their broker) you are dealing with are NOT REALTORS®, your only recourse may be the state real estate licensing authority also known as the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE). Please check here to ensure the REALTOR® you are referring to is a member of the WSGVAR.

  • Associations of REALTORS® determine whether the Code of Ethics has been violated, not whether the law or real estate regulations have been broken. Those decisions can only be made by the real estate licensing authorities or the courts.

  • Associations of REALTORS® can discipline REALTORS® for violating the Code of Ethics. Typical forms of discipline include attendance at courses and seminars designed to increase REALTORS®' understanding of the ethical duties or other responsibilities of real estate professionals. REALTORS® may also be reprimanded, fined, or their membership can be suspended or terminated for serious or repeated violations. Associations of REALTORS® cannot require REALTORS® to pay money to parties filing ethics complaints; cannot award "punitive damages" for violations of the Code of Ethics; and cannot suspend or revoke a real estate professional's license.

  • The primary emphasis of discipline for ethical lapses is educational, to create a heightened awareness of and appreciation for the duties the Code imposes. At the same time, more severe forms of discipline, including fines and suspension and termination of membership may be imposed for serious or repeated violations.

The Association’s Professional Standards Administration is happy to answer any questions you may have and guide you in the right direction. Send your questions via email to michelle@wsgvarcom or to barbaray@wsgvar.com or call (626) 288-6212 for further information.

Ombudsman Program

If you are in a dispute with a member of WSGVAR, your issue may be resolved through the use of our Ombudsman Program, and avoid the lengthy formal complaint process.  This program is designed to have an experienced member contact both parties and attempt to resolve the matter in an informal way. The role of the Ombudsman is to settle disputes you may have and open the doors of communication.  Ombudsmen also take questions about a wide variety of inquiries regarding real estate. This is a FREE service. 

Please note that: Ombudsmen do not advocate for any party nor will they be finding “right or wrong” with the parties, instead, they will assist the parties to get clarity on the rules or issues and recommend possible options to resolve the problem before a more formal process is necessary. If the parties do not agree to any options recommended by the Ombudsman, they may still proceed with mediation or enforcement processes with the Association.

  • Request for Ombudsman Services by emailing to michelle@wsgvar.com or barbaray@wsgvar.com or call (626) 288-6212.

Grievance (Ethical) Complaints

Open & constructive discussion can often resolve questions or differences between you and your REALTOR® eliminating the need for further action. If you feel the Ombudsman Program is not the right option for you, or have a grievance still after participating in the Ombudsman Program, you may file a formal ethics complaint.

Please keep in mind the Statue of Limitations is 180 days from the date of the alleged violation.

If you wish to proceed with a Grievance Complaint, you may complete and submit the above forms to: Michelle Bender at 1039 E. Valley Blvd. #205B, San Gabriel, CA 91776 or email the entire packet to michelle@wsgvar.com.

Buyer and Seller Money Disputes Mediation for the Public (Arbitration)

Dispute resolution is a member service available to all members and their clients at special rates to resolve disputes arising from the real estate transaction at any point during or after the transaction.

A neutral mediator panel assists you in reaching a voluntary, negotiated agreement. Choosing mediation to resolve real estate disputes promotes better relationships and reduces stress, costs and time involved in other dispute resolution methods.

Association mediators are REALTOR® members, specifically trained and experienced in dispute resolution through the mediation process for real estate related disputes, including but not limited to:

  • Deposit disputes

  • Contingencies not met

  • Specific performance

  • Non-disclosure issues

  • Boundary disputes

  • Any other issue subject to the "mediation clause" arising from the listing contract between a REALTOR® and seller or from the purchase contract between buyers and sellers. 

WSGVAR Mediation Services provides mediation for the public at reasonable rates and has a high rate of success. The cost for the mediation session is free per case for the first 2 hours. After the first 2 hours, the cost is $50 per hour, per side. All mediation fees are paid directly to the mediator.

To get started, please download, complete and submit the forms below: 

 ***If the respondent is from another Association this qualifies as an Interboard Arbitration and would be handled by California Association of REALTORS®.***

The Professional Standards Committee is happy to answer any questions you may have regarding any of these services. Send your questions via email to Michelle Bender at michelle@wsgvar.com or Barbara Yelinek at barbaray@wsgvar.com or call (626) 282-6212.