Following a round of golf early one morning, Homeowner A approached REALTOR® X. "We've outgrown our home and I want to list it with you," said Homeowner A. "I'm sorry," said REALTOR® X, "but I represent buyers exclusively." "Then how about REALTOR® Z?" asked Homeowner A, "I've heard good things about him." "I don't know if I would do that," said REALTOR® X, "while he does represent sellers, he doesn't cooperate with buyer brokers and, as a result, sellers don't get adequate market exposure for their properties."
Later that day, Homeowner A repeated REALTOR® X's remarks to his wife who happened to be a close friend of REALTOR® Z's wife. Within hours, REALTOR® Z had been made aware of REALTOR® X's remarks to Homeowner A earlier in the day. REALTOR® Z filed a complaint against REALTOR® X charging him with making false and misleading statements. REALTOR® Z's complaint was considered by the Grievance Committee, which determined that an ethics hearing should be held.
At the hearing REALTOR® Z stated, "I have no idea what REALTOR® X was thinking about when he made his comments to Homeowner A. I always cooperate with other REALTORS®." REALTOR® X replied, "That's not so. Last year you had a listing in the Multiple Listing Service and when I called to make an appointment to show the property to the buyer, you refused to agree to pay me." REALTOR® Z responded that he had made a formal offer of subagency through the MLS with respect to that property but had chosen not to offer compensation to buyer agents through the MLS. He noted, however, that the fact that he had not made a blanket offer of compensation to buyer agents should not be construed as a refusal to cooperate and that he had, in fact, cooperated with REALTOR® X in the sale of that very property.
In response to REALTOR® Z's questions, REALTOR® X acknowledged that he had shown his buyer-client REALTOR® Z's listing and that the buyer had purchased the property. Moreover, REALTOR® X said, upon questioning by the panel members, he had no personal knowledge of any instance in which REALTOR® Z had refused to cooperate with any other broker but had simply assumed that REALTOR® Z's refusal to pay the compensation REALTOR® X had asked for was representative of a general practice on the part of REALTOR® Z.