August 15th, 2016
A reader in New York asked the following:
What is the best way to make a formal complaint against a broker/agent that has tried to cheat me on the invoice. First time… so annoyed.
PFRE readers report that this kind of thing is a rather rare occurrence. Here are some actions you can take:
- Real estate offices are typically interested in establishing and maintaining a good reputation in their market so a good first step is to find out who the managing broker is in the office where your client hangs their license. Personally contact them and explain your problem. They will usually be able to solve the problem.
- Some real estate photographers will claim this is a reason to collect before photos are delivered. I would argue that this is an overreaction since this is a relatively rare problem.
- Taking this kind of problem to small claims court is another remedy. But to prevail in small claims court you will probably need a signed contract that clearly demonstrates the client did not meet the agreed to terms.
My guess is that most situations like this can be solved by talking to the client’s managing broker.
Update August 19: A follow up from the person that raised this question:
I had emailed the office manager who never responded. After seeing this post (inparticular the comment about letting the office manager know that MLS would be contacted to take the photos down)… that is what I did. She responded back immediately that she was sorry she did not contact me previously but she did take this seriously and would make sure I got paid. Now I received an email from the agent that she would be sending the money and I should not contact her again. Unbelievable! I did nothing wrong…just wanted to be paid. Anyway, I told the agent I had no intention of contacting her since I don’t do business with agents of her caliber. Anyway, lesson learned I take my money up front. Yesterday had a client and that is what I did and there were no issues with them.