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OMBUDSMAN TRAINING - 2011. 2 Welcome & Introduction Name Name Primary Association Primary Association # of Years as a REALTOR # of Years as a REALTOR.

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Presentation on theme: "OMBUDSMAN TRAINING - 2011. 2 Welcome & Introduction Name Name Primary Association Primary Association # of Years as a REALTOR # of Years as a REALTOR."— Presentation transcript:

1 OMBUDSMAN TRAINING

2 2 Welcome & Introduction Name Name Primary Association Primary Association # of Years as a REALTOR # of Years as a REALTOR Length of Service on TAR Pro Standards Committee Length of Service on TAR Pro Standards Committee

3 3 Disputes can arise even here!…

4 OMBUDSMAN WHAT IS IT ? HOW DOES IT WORK ?

5 5 Definition of Ombudsman A person who assists parties to resolve their disputes A person who assists parties to resolve their disputes

6 6 REALTOR® Ombudsman An Informal Peer “Mediator” An Informal Peer “Mediator” Working by telephone Working by telephone Dispute resolution between parties in a real estate transaction Dispute resolution between parties in a real estate transaction

7 7 TAR adopts Ombudsman 2001 Provides enhanced communications Provides enhanced communications An initial attempt to solve problem An initial attempt to solve problem Service provided regardless of what the dispute is about Service provided regardless of what the dispute is about

8 8 Complaints Many don’t allege violations of specific articles of COE Many don’t allege violations of specific articles of COE Are transactional, technical, procedural questions Are transactional, technical, procedural questions Most are results from lack of communication Most are results from lack of communication Some may be violations of COE Some may be violations of COE Some may be monetary disputes Some may be monetary disputes

9 9 Benefits to Consumers “Story” heard “Story” heard Someone cares and listens Someone cares and listens Overcome feeling that one REALTOR® covers up for another Overcome feeling that one REALTOR® covers up for another Willing to reopen communication with help of Ombudsman Willing to reopen communication with help of Ombudsman SAVES TIME! SAVES TIME!

10 10 Ombudsman Role Communication & conciliation Communication & conciliation Not to determine whether ethical violations have occurred Not to determine whether ethical violations have occurred Anticipate & resolve misunder- standings and disagreements BEFORE matters escalate Anticipate & resolve misunder- standings and disagreements BEFORE matters escalate Not to determine who deserves the commission Not to determine who deserves the commission

11 11 Rights When Using the Ombudsman Service If Ombudsman service is declined – C an file a written complaint If Ombudsman service is declined – C an file a written complaint If Ombudsman reaches desired outcome but party does not comply If Ombudsman reaches desired outcome but party does not comply –May still file a formal compliant Ombudsmen may not file a complaint with TAR unless they find a violation of public trust Ombudsmen may not file a complaint with TAR unless they find a violation of public trust

12 12 Characteristics of a Good REALTOR® Ombudsman Must be fair and credible Must be fair and credible Must be impartial and avoid determining right or wrong Must be impartial and avoid determining right or wrong Honor confidentiality Honor confidentiality Knowledge of COE, state license laws, RE contracts & general real estate business practices Knowledge of COE, state license laws, RE contracts & general real estate business practices

13 13 Duty Calls Ideally, sufficient volunteers so each serves 2 weeks per year Ideally, sufficient volunteers so each serves 2 weeks per year Ombudsmen should be available during assigned period Ombudsmen should be available during assigned period Ombudsmen should check frequently for new requests Ombudsmen should check frequently for new requests Ombudsmen must act promptly Ombudsmen must act promptly

14 14 Administration of Ombudsman Process TAR seeks volunteers and creates a schedule TAR seeks volunteers and creates a schedule Staff sends Ombudsman assign- ments via TexasRealtors.com message Staff sends Ombudsman assign- ments via TexasRealtors.com message

15 15 Ombudsman Service to Complainants Calls complainants Calls complainants Listens to their concerns Listens to their concerns Determines their desired outcome Determines their desired outcome –Money, sanctions, MLS concerns, a response to unreturned phone messages, etc. Answers general real estate or procedural questions Answers general real estate or procedural questions

16 16 Ombudsman Service… Explains possible avenues that might help reach desired outcome Explains possible avenues that might help reach desired outcome Contacts the respondent to explain complainant's concerns and their desired outcome Contacts the respondent to explain complainant's concerns and their desired outcome Seeks to bring resolution Seeks to bring resolution Reports back to complainant Reports back to complainant

17 17 If Ombudsman Process is Unsuccessful… Complainant May: File complaint with Real Estate Commission File complaint with Real Estate Commission Seek legal advise Seek legal advise File complaint with Association File complaint with Association

18 18 OMBUDSMAN DO’S page 5 When communicating with complainant: When communicating with complainant: –…Listen to their concerns…Ascertain their desired outcome (ie, $$$, repairs, contract issues) –…Discuss possible avenues to reach desired outcome –…Clarify that you understand their desired outcome and get permission to repeat information to the respondent

19 19 When communicating with respondent: When communicating with respondent: –… Explain/communicate complainant’s concerns and desired outcome –…Listen to their side of the issue –…Get respondent’s permission to communicate their response to the complainant OMBUDSMAN DO’S page 5

20 20 OMBUDSMAN DON’TS page 5 …Adjudicate/make the final decision …Adjudicate/make the final decision …Give legal advice …Give legal advice …Determine who is right or wrong …Determine who is right or wrong …Refer matters to TREC yourself – let complainant …Refer matters to TREC yourself – let complainant …Refer matters directly to Grievance Tribunal unless you feel there is a violation of public trust …Refer matters directly to Grievance Tribunal unless you feel there is a violation of public trust …Disclose communications to 3rd parties – Process is CONFIDENTIAL …Disclose communications to 3rd parties – Process is CONFIDENTIAL …Put anything in writing …Put anything in writing

21 21 Ombudsman Service and Pro. Standards Process Following Ombudsman service if complainant files a subsequent complaint, 180-day filing deadline is suspended during Ombudsman time period and resumes upon completion Following Ombudsman service if complainant files a subsequent complaint, 180-day filing deadline is suspended during Ombudsman time period and resumes upon completion

22 22 Ombudsman Responsibilities Attempt to call within 48 hrs Attempt to call within 48 hrs After 2-3 attempts w/no response, discontinue calling After 2-3 attempts w/no response, discontinue calling Notify staff if complainant cannot be reached Notify staff if complainant cannot be reached Identify yourself as a volunteer Ombudsman with TAR Identify yourself as a volunteer Ombudsman with TAR When you reach complainant, LISTEN to their concerns When you reach complainant, LISTEN to their concerns Identify desired outcome Identify desired outcome Work back & forth seeking resolution Work back & forth seeking resolution

23 23 Ombudsman Role Play

24 24 Ombudsman Script page 3 “Hello, my name is _______; I am a volunteer Ombudsman for the Texas Association of REALTORS®. As an Ombudsman, I cannot make a decision in your case but can provide you with some assistance. “Hello, my name is _______; I am a volunteer Ombudsman for the Texas Association of REALTORS®. As an Ombudsman, I cannot make a decision in your case but can provide you with some assistance.

25 25 Ombudsman Script… page 3 “I understand that you have concerns regarding one of our members. If you would like to share your concerns with me, I might be able to suggest some possible avenues or options you may pursue to reach a resolution for your situation.” “I understand that you have concerns regarding one of our members. If you would like to share your concerns with me, I might be able to suggest some possible avenues or options you may pursue to reach a resolution for your situation.”

26 26 Calls to Manager/Broker Remember they may not know what an Ombudsman is Remember they may not know what an Ombudsman is May be defensive May be defensive Call if unsuccessful in contacting agent or no return calls Call if unsuccessful in contacting agent or no return calls Often manager is already involved & can offer valuable insight Often manager is already involved & can offer valuable insight Manager/broker may be unaware of dissatisfied consumer Manager/broker may be unaware of dissatisfied consumer

27 27 Ombudsman Reporting… Use Ethos Reporting Use Ethos Reporting Update Ethos within 2 days of completion Update Ethos within 2 days of completion Destroy all notes taken during the process Destroy all notes taken during the process NEVER put anything in writing to parties NEVER put anything in writing to parties

28 28 Mechanics of Process Each serves 2-week period Each serves 2-week period Each Ombudsman is limited to 8 calls Each Ombudsman is limited to 8 calls Have backup Ombudsman for overflow Have backup Ombudsman for overflow Ombudsman acknowledges receipt of call through Ethos Ombudsman acknowledges receipt of call through Ethos Calls complainant within 48 hrs Calls complainant within 48 hrs

29 29 Resolution is Reached… Confirm by phone with all parties what you understand has been agreed upon Confirm by phone with all parties what you understand has been agreed upon Report back to TAR within 2 days Report back to TAR within 2 days Call back within 1 week to make sure matter has been resolved (option) Call back within 1 week to make sure matter has been resolved (option)

30 30 Dealing with Difficult People page 6 Treat caller as a person Treat caller as a person Deflect hostile comments to better understand caller’s needs Deflect hostile comments to better understand caller’s needs Follow through if you agree to follow-up Follow through if you agree to follow-up Know when to cut your losses – you are not the punching bag Know when to cut your losses – you are not the punching bag

31 31 Dealing with Difficult People page 6 Know your limitations and draw on help from experts Know your limitations and draw on help from experts Be careful when sharing information – you may be misquoted Be careful when sharing information – you may be misquoted Practice tolerance & patience Practice tolerance & patience Don’t be afraid to laugh at your own mistakes & learn from them Don’t be afraid to laugh at your own mistakes & learn from them

32 32 Discrimination Issues page 7 Don’t get into discussion over areas of discrimination Don’t get into discussion over areas of discrimination Let complainant or respondent know they need to report to HUD Let complainant or respondent know they need to report to HUD Discrimination is serious & needs to be reported Discrimination is serious & needs to be reported U.S. HUD U.S. HUD

33 33 Violation of Public Trust page 8 NAR’s definition – NAR’s definition – “Demonstrated misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in economic harm” “Demonstrated misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in economic harm” Terminate call immediately Terminate call immediately Mortgage Fraud also needs to be reported Mortgage Fraud also needs to be reported

34 34 Specialty Fields & Expertise page 9 It is best that you have expertise in the area of real estate involved It is best that you have expertise in the area of real estate involved If you feel you can’t handle the complaint, ask to have it reassigned If you feel you can’t handle the complaint, ask to have it reassigned If no Ombudsman is available with that expertise, suggest a complaint be filed If no Ombudsman is available with that expertise, suggest a complaint be filed

35 35 How do you handle… If respondent accuses you of sticking your nose into their business? If respondent accuses you of sticking your nose into their business? Discrimination issues? Discrimination issues? If party ask for your advice? If party ask for your advice? Other issues? Other issues?

36 36 Questions?


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