What is the Ombudsman Program?
The Ombudsman Program is an alternative dispute resolution program offered to members, clients and consumers. Ombudsman respond to general questions regarding real estate practices, transaction details, ethical practices and enforcement issues. All parties receive California real estate related information without judgment.
What are REALTOR® Ombudsman advantages?
Ombudsman facilitate conflict resolution and resolve miscommunication prior to matters progressing into a dispute and possible charges of unethical conduct. The advantages are a win-win for all parties.
- Ombudsman requests are addressed quickly, which is so often what consumers want.
- Allows consumers access to someone who will listen to their problem.
- Resolution without incurring the expense of legal counsel.
REALTOR® Member Advantages:
- Allows broker/manager to become aware of problems prior to a formal complaint being filed or forwarded.
- Allows the Association to become aware of repeat issues on a timely basis.
- Savings on REALTOR® volunteer time (less hearings, etc.).
How does the ombudsman process work?
The WSGVAR staff screens all ombudsman requests to determine if the submission meets the criteria needed to utilize a trained Ombudsman.
Persons filing complaints or inquiring about the process for filing ethics complaints are advised that ombudsman services are available and often prove an effective way to informally resolve their complaint.
Upon confirmation that a submission meets the criteria, WSGVAR staff assigns the request to an ombudsman. The ombudsman contacts the party within 24 hours. Depending on the nature of the request, the ombudsman may proceed in one of the following ways:
- answer general and/or procedural questions;
- explain possible avenues that might resolve the issue or achieve the desired outcome; or
- if given permission, contact the respondent to relay the other party’s concerns and facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution.
Although not all complainants agree to utilize an ombudsman, those that do are frequently rewarded with a quick resolution.
For more information contact WSGVAR Professional Standards Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 626-288-6212.
Some frequently asked questions about the ombudsman process and services can be found here.