Don't Believe Everything You Read on the Internet

Don't Believe Everything You Read on the Internet


                                                                                                   Abraham Lincoln

I recently found this little gem on the internet. My first reaction was to chuckle and forward on to my friends. However, as I thought about it; it came to mind that this funny little quote has an important business application.

Whether a quote, or any other information, it is important to remember that your source may not always be accurate.

How often do people assume that something is true because a "trusted" media source reported it as fact?

We can chuckle at this quote, but need to remember that anyone providing information to others should seek to ensure the accuracy of that information. It is an important element of your credibility.

The consumer takes a dim view of deception (real or perceived) no matter how innocent the motive. If you are going to pass along information to a customer or client, make sure that it is factual or let the consumer know that you haven't verified the accuracy of the information. 

Passing on inaccurate information can also result in disciplinary action or lawsuits.

"Real estate agents . . . are deemed to have the same knowledge of the property as does the owner. If an agent cannot truthfully answer an inquiry regarding property that he is attempting to sell, he should frankly admit his lack of knowledge. If, intentionally or otherwise, he makes a false representation to the prospective purchaser, he cannot well complain that the buyer ought not to have believed him." (Goldson v.Burka, 42 A2d 712 [D.C., 1945]    

Illinois Real Estate License Act, Section 15-15. Duties of licensees representing clients.

(d) A licensee shall not be liable to a client for providing false information to the seller if the false information  was provided to the licensee by a customer unless the licensee knew or should have known the information was false. 

(e) Nothing in the Section shall be construed as changing a licensee's duty under common law as to negligent or fraudulent misrepresentation of material information.

Making representations without actual knowledge of the accuracy of such information can create liability problems for the Licensed sponsoring broker, managing broker, and broker associate.

Be sure to advise a consumer that you're passing on information without any objective knowledge of its accuracy and as a best practice follow up with a letter or e-mail advising the consumer to check out the facts.

It's best to remember this, "when in doubt, check it out".   


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