We understand that commission disputes can arise in the real estate industry, and we want to provide you with guidance. It’s important to remember that determining the main reason for a sale involves various factors and is not solely based on one aspect.

If you find yourself in a disagreement about commission entitlement, we encourage you to prioritize the completion of the sale and resolve the issue afterward. It’s best to let the transaction proceed smoothly while you work towards a solution.

In situations where two brokers claim to be the main reason for the sale, the details of the transaction and the relationships between the parties will be carefully considered. We understand that it’s not just about showing the property, but also the communication and connections involved. A panel will thoroughly assess all relevant factors to determine the deserving party for the commission.

It is crucial for real estate professionals to inquire whether buyers are already working with another broker and to maintain open and effective communication with their clients. Building strong relationships and keeping clients informed can help avoid disputes and promote a positive experience for everyone involved.

Ethics Complaints, Arbitration Requests, and Related Resources

If a dispute does occur, we advise against interfering with the sale and recommend following the procedures established by the REALTOR® association. Before considering arbitration, we suggest initiating a conversation between brokers as it can often lead to a swift resolution.

In cases where a broker-to-broker discussion does not resolve the issue, we highly recommend mediation. Mediation provides an opportunity for both parties to actively participate in finding a mutually agreeable outcome, in contrast to arbitration where only one party prevails.

If you are still unable to find a resolution you can request arbitration.


Check your status : NAR Education Portal.

Need an alternative to fit your schedule? VCCAR CE Shop offers COE On Demand 

BONUS: The FREE C2EX endorsement satisfies NAR’s Code of Ethics requirement

REALTOR® Ethics – Ethics Complaints

REALTORS® adhere to rigorous standards outlined in the Code of Ethics.  If a REALTOR® fails to meet these standards, there are several options to resolve your dispute:

Contact the Broker:
Reach out to the REALTOR’S® broker and inform them about the situation. This step may lead to a swift resolution. You can look up the agent’s broker by visiting the Department of Real Estate website.

Utilize the C.A.R. Ombudsman Program:
This program is available exclusively for California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) members. A C.A.R. ombudsman will work closely with both parties to find a resolution for non-legal disputes. If you wish to engage an ombudsman, please click here.

File an Ethics Complaint:
If you are a REALTOR®, we highly recommend contacting the Peer-To-Peer Ethics Infoline. A C.A.R. member will assist you in determining which articles of the Code of Ethics, if any, have been violated.

We want to inform you about the process for addressing ethics complaints within C.A.R. It is our responsibility to enforce the Code of Ethics for our esteemed members and take appropriate disciplinary action if violations are found. However, please note that if the member in question is also associated with another association, we must notify that association as well.

It is important to understand the scope of our authority. While we diligently enforce the Code of Ethics, we have certain legal limitations. We do not possess the authority to conduct hearings to determine violations of the law, enforce contracts, or award monetary damages to any party involved in a case. These powers are reserved for the courts and/or state licensing authorities. Additionally, the revocation of an individual’s real estate license falls under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Real Estate.

Seeking Help with Filing Your Ethics Complaint:
An Ethics Advocate is available to guide you through the disciplinary hearing procedural process. Please note that an Ethics Advocate does not replace the role of an attorney. If you choose to hire an attorney, you may still engage an Ethics Advocate to provide additional support. Request an Ethics Advocate

Schedule time with our C.A.R. Professional Standards Consultant.  Request appointment

File an Ethics complaint  (review additional information about the complaint process)

Jenny Ohnstad


Jenny Ohnstad
Consultant Statewide
Professional Standards Pilot


Office hours are M-F 8-5
Schedule a time to chat with me