The Gatekeeper and the Secret Employees


At sometime in my business career spanning more than fifty years, it became in vogue for companies to not only hide the names of their executives and their whereabouts, but even the names of their employees who deal with the public.


Purposely, the public is forced to go through a lot of trouble to determine who can actually make the decision that solves the customer's problem.


But even then, there are people we now call gatekeepers, whose job it is to keep the caller or writer from being able to communicate directly with that official.


One of my friends is a medical malpractice defense attorney.  He's made a killing defending doctors and hospitals and the like who find themselves being sued.


He told me that in most cases those suits' genesis is in the doctor or the hospital showing no genuine sympathy to the patient's complaint.  The doctor or the hospital comes off as arrogant, haute and uncaring.


I have recently been put through an interesting problem.  We bought out a lease my wife had made on a Hyundai.  It required our sending a check for a certain amount which Hyundai provided.  A month passed, and they had not sent the title or acknowledged the payoff as completed.


No amount of calls, emails and certified mail letters brought any positive results.  It was never that person's fault, it was, instead,  my fault for having contacted them.  They would tell me that, instead, I needed to bring it to the attention of some vague department.


Of course, they wouldn't forward it to that department on my behalf.  They wanted me to fully understand I shouldn't be addressing them. "It's not my job" behavior.


The president of Hyundai Finance was a hidden person, but I finally ran down who he is, and I attempted to contact him.  His gatekeeper made sure to tell me that he wasn't going to get involved in solving my problem, that I would need to contact the department that was the cause of the problem.


Yesterday, I notified Hyundai Finance that I was going to file with the US Postal Service Fraud Division,a complaint along with copies of all of my correspondence, certified letter receipts and a copy of my canceled check that dated back to March 3rd.


Within less than an hour, people with names appeared, and they promised they were on top of getting it solved.  So far it looks like that's the case.  Maybe so, maybe not.


But I doubt I'm not too much like you.  I won't ever do business with Hyundai again.


This experience is very relevant to today's real estate brokerage.


Agents make ethical and business mistakes, in most cases probably not on purpose, but nevertheless they are violations against those who have retained their services.


The broker does his best to delay getting involved.  The agent hopes the problem will go away.  The client who has the problem with the agent is not sure the steps to take with the local association of Realtors and the licensing bureau, so the result is similar to that of the arrogant, haute doctors my lawyer friend defends.


All of that is the exact opposite of how to handle dispute resolutions.


Bill Cherry

Broker, Realtor, CFM

Since 1966

Dallas, Texas

214 503-8563






Comment balloon 3 commentsBILL CHERRY • April 07 2016 10:03AM


Bill, sometimes large real estate teams act like this. You can't find a real person.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 4 years ago

You're right, Gary.  And no screaming and hollering seems to make a difference. In the case of many, Keller Williams and Re/Max included, it is often impossible to determine who actually owns the particular franchise.  Even the agents in the office don't know.

Posted by BILL CHERRY, Broker & Wealth Coach (Bill Cherry, Realtor) over 4 years ago

The standard of accountability seems to have become lost in all our mergers and acquisitions. Transparency is the key, especially in our business which for many is the most important purchase they make in their lifetimes.

Posted by Susan Laxson CRS, Local Knowledge & Global Network (Palm Properties) over 4 years ago

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