As an alternative to filing an Ethics complaint or Arbitration request, NAR designed the Ombudsman (or Ombuds) Program to help settle disputes—since some disputes do not involve a Code of Ethics violation or the punishment imposed by the Ethics Hearing panel does not “fix the problem” for the complainant. The simplest definition of the Ombuds Program is informal telephone mediation. It can help resolve minor complaints from the public as well as inter-REALTOR® conflicts before they become serious problems. Like mediation, an Ombudsman helps parties find solutions, but does not impose solutions. The Ombudsman will contact each party separately by telephone to help guide them to a mutually acceptable solution. Repeat calls may be needed as more information is gathered. FCAR’s Board of Directors has appointed Past Presidents to serve as Ombuds for the association. Here’s how the process works:
1) FCAR staff explains the Ombuds Program to potential complainants; asks them to review the document posted to website that explains the process (form #P1),
2) AE asks complainant to complete & return the Request for Ombuds Service (form #P2) or takes down the information during telephone conversation—then fills in complainant & potential respondent contact information on form #O2,
3) After Request for Ombuds Service completed, AE will send the completed Request Form (#P2) and completed Ombuds Worksheet (form #O2) along with the other ombudsman forms (#O1 and #O3) to an Ombudsman for servicing,
4) Ombudsman follows the general script provided on form #O2 and completes the Ombudsman Report (form #O3) at the conclusion of the Ombuds Process. This form is sent to AE; all other forms are destroyedAfter the Ombuds Process has concluded, the complainant still has the option of submitting an Ethics Complaint, Mediation or Arbitration Request.