Do you have a question or topic related to REALTOR® ethics that you would like addressed in a future issue of Ethics Exchange? Click here to e-mail Scott Bush at the GMAR.
Leave Your Business Card - Do Not Leave Marketing Materials
After showing a property, it is prudent, professional practice to leave a business card. However, it is not acceptable to leave behind information that advertises your brokerage services, including, but not limited to business cards that contain information such as commission rates. Actions such as these are included in the list of “What Not to Do” within the GMAR’s Professional Courtesies.

Additionally, by leaving materials that contain an advertisement could result in a complaint based on alleged violation of Article 16 of the Code of Ethics.

Code of Ethics - Article 16
REALTORS® shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other REALTORS® have with clients.

As an agent, if you would like to include information such as commission rates on your business cards, an inexpensive solution is to maintain two sets of cards. One set of cards to be used for the purpose of business communications and a second set to be used for the purpose of marketing your services to potential clients.
Can I Sue Someone for Filing an Ethics Complaint Against Me?
In the past, circumstances have arisen in which members of the GMAR have threatened legal action against other REALTORS® and/or members of the public for filing an ethics complaint or arbitration claim. REALTORS® should be aware that Section 34. from the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual prohibits the filing of lawsuits by membership duty.  
Section 34. Waiver
Every member, for and in consideration of his right to invoke arbitration proceedings and to initiate complaints under the Code of Ethics as a member of the National Association of Realtors®, hereby waives any right of action against the Board, any Board Member, or any member of a Hearing Panel or tribunal arising out of any decisions, determinations, or other action taken or rendered under these procedures in the absence of willful or wanton misconduct. Further, as a condition of continued membership, every member expressly waives any cause of action for libel, slander, or defamation that might arise from the filing or consideration of any ethics complaint or arbitration request.
GMAR Board Adopts Administrative Processing Fee for Advertising Violations
The GMAR Board recently decided that the association will impose an administrative processing fee in the amount of $300 for members who receive a citation for an advertising violation and subsequently request a hearing that results in the hearing panel upholding the citation. In addition, any administrative processing fees incurred will be in addition to, and not part of, any disciplinary sanction imposed.
We hope you enjoyed Issue #3 of Ethics Exchange 2021 brought to you by the Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® (GMAR). The GMAR created this newsletter, each issue dedicated to a unique issue, because the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, on which our industry is built, is the foundation of what it means to be a REALTOR®.
Your proactive support of the Code of Ethics will assure your fellow REALTORS®, as well as members of the public, that every member of GMAR operates under the highest ethical standards.
Questions, comments or concerns regarding this issue can be directed to
Scott Bush at the GMAR Office (414-778-4929 or [email protected]).