Saturday, March 31, 2018

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire - Board Hearings

Board Hearings
I guess it’s time for a little change of pace. The Real Estate Board arguably has some purpose in the life of a real estate agent. Aside from its staff, it has a number of various committees dealing with all sorts of issues that come up in the course of daily business, so it is a source of constant activity usually involving any number of board members and committees.
One such committee is the disciplinary committee dealing with complaints against a particular agent or company. Well I was never on any such committee, but was often called as the broker of my company to defend my agent(s) on complaints made against them by either other companies, agents, buyers or sellers.  And of course there was always the reverse where one of our agents or the company was complaining about someone or something else. Regardless, it always fell on me as the company broker to represent our interests at the board.
The complaints panel was comprised of a board member of course, a member of the public, a church cleric and I don’t remember who all else. Each represented a segment of public interest (whatever that was). There was some structure to the proceedings in that the complaint was first read out and then each of the parties to it was asked to make their case for or opposed to the complaint. When it was done, you either went for coffee or back to the office, none the wiser for what the panel was about to announce. Sometimes it went well for my agent and me, and other times not so much.
 Generally, I would speak for the agent in question while he or she sat quietly nodding or shaking her/his head at my arguments, occasionally throwing in his/her two cents worth. At times the discussion could become heated, calling for a separation and perhaps coffee break, and then we’d go at it again until we got through all the issues. After that the committee would deliberate and render a verdict that had no appeal to it. One got the message and lived with it. Period.
It didn’t of course always go as planned though. One particular case I remember involved a complaint against one of our agents who was reported to have taken somebody else’s buyer at an open house. Well, I didn’t get a word in edgewise. My agent put on her warrior cloak and lit into the other company with a ferocity that put the whole committee into shock. I have to say that she had come much more prepared than I had. I had to take into account that she had come to Canada from a war torn country which maybe colored her attitude somewhat, leaving us trying to catch our breath. Ultimately though, her lack of civility caused her more problems than the business was worth and she ultimately left the business.
One of the most amazing pieces of business at the complaints committee hearings happened one morning when we were all a little early for the appointed meeting. Over a cup of coffee we got to discussing the complaint made by the opposing broker. It turned out to be a total misunderstanding on his part. Well, he decided to fix it at the meeting.
By the time everyone got settled in and read the complaint out, the broker piped up and simply stated what had transpired at coffee and that he was withdrawing the complaint. I must say that I’d never seen the committee so befuddled before. Thinking back now, it was kind of funny just to see the look on their faces, having nothing to make a judgment over. The upshot was that the broker’s company was fined five hundred dollars for having wasted the committee’s time in coming together to do nothing and we had no penalty.
There are many other stories I could tell about this part of the business (if I could remember them) but suffice it to say that it was all a toss of the dice to go into one of those meetings and ponder the outcome. I could easily have done all my homework, checked my facts and go in fully confident of the outcome, only to have it completely reversed by the committee. I was more than pleased for our company to grow to the point where we had a second broker so I wouldn’t have to go anymore.

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