A week ago we wondered whether the Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR) was fostering trademark fraud. CAR has since removed the offending use of the federal registered trademark symbol from the web page we questioned.
In that week-ago post we mentioned that we had previously questioned what we called CAR’s “cavalier attitude toward the misuse of professional designations by its members.”
That mention was intended as and should have served as a warning flag to CAR to check whether its instructor was entitled to use the professional designations claimed in the above screen cap from the web page in question. We were testing the seriousness of CAR’s commitment to its own ethical standards.
Perhaps CAR did check and Marki Lemons was listed as being entitled to use the Quality Service Certification (QSC) and Seniors Real Estate Specialists (SRES) designations at some point within the past week. She’s not, as of this writing, listed in the QSC or SRES databases and wasn’t as of a week ago.
The takeaway for consumers: CAR isn’t serious about its or its members’ commitment to professional ethics. If it were, would it honor and promote members who disregard its Code of Ethics, and enable violations on its own website?
In my opinion, the Code of Ethics is window dressing only at the CAR level, and CAR does a radical disservice to the many members of CAR who do take their ethical obligations very seriously. Before hiring a real estate agent, check whether he or she is entitled to use the professional designations they claim. If they’re not, it’s a warning flag that you can’t expect professional representation from that agent.