UPSTAR Ombudsman Program
What is an Ombudsman Program?
The Ombudsmen Program is a telephone mediation service that provides volunteers to act as a neutral and independent voice when a member of the public or an UPSTAR member finds themselves in a dispute with another member. Ombudsman procedures are intended to provide enhanced communications and initial problem-solving capacity to the professional standards process with complete neutrality and confidentiality.
What Can an Ombudsmen Do?
The ombudsmen volunteers are trained REALTOR® members who are familiar with the UPSTAR Bylaws, MLS Rules & Regulations, Code of Ethics, Indiana real estate regulations, and current real estate practices. As such, they can answer consumer or REALTOR® questions about real estate in general, transaction details, nonmonetary disputes, ethical practice and enforcement issues. Ombudsmen can also respond to questions and complaints about members; contact members to inform them that a client or customer has raised an issue; and contact members for details that will provide an informed response. They anticipate, identify, and resolve misunderstandings and disagreements before matters ripen into more significant disputes.
What Can’t an Ombudsman Do?
Ombudsmen are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice or answer legal questions. They do not determine whether ethics violations have occurred. The Ombudsman’s role is primarily one of communication and conciliation, not adjudication. Volunteers cannot obligate a party to attempt resolution with an Ombudsman. Parties are notified that ombudsman services are available to them but may decline the services and opt to file a formal complaint instead.
How do I Get Started with the Ombudsman Program?
If you would like to resolve your issue through the Ombudsman Program, or have questions about the process, contact UPSTAR’s Professional Standards Administrator, Casey Lange at (260) 426-4700 or by email at [email protected].