Q: Please help me. I do not know where else to go. I have had a very bad experience with my real estate agent. Please tell me where to go to lay a formal complaint against a real estate brokerage firm.

A: If the real estate brokerage firm has broken the law in some way, you can file a complaint with the state agency that regulates real estate agents and brokers in your state. It’s usually called something like “the department of banks and real estate”.

You can also file a complaint with the state Attorney General’s office, and the Better Business Bureau. Finally, you can file a complaint with the National Association of Realtors ethics board, although they don’t have the power to do much besides cancel the agent or broker’s membership in the association.

If the agent has done something criminal, such as stealing your identity or forging your signature on papers, you should go to the police department and seek assistance.

Real Estate Agent’s Action May Not Merit Complaint

One last item, if your bad experience was due to a disagreement or the agent’s failure to get your property sold, you may still be frustrated with the agent, but that agent’s actions may not be sufficient to merit a complaint. Only you know what your reasons are for the problems with the agent, but I frequently get letters from buyers and sellers complaining about the real estate agent that they recently worked with.

While there are some bad apples in the real estate industry, buyers and sellers sometimes have unrealistic expectations about what their real estate agent can or should do for them. When these expectations aren’t met, the buyer or seller becomes unhappy.

Before you make a complaint against the agent, first try to resolve the issue by discussing it with the agent or the managing broker in the office in which that agent works . If it can’t be resolved, then you can move forward with filing a formal complaint.

If you’re unsure where your complaint fits in, please discuss the issue with a local real estate attorney.

Nov. 26, 2008.