Realtors Who Use Gmail are In Breach of Their Fiduciary Duty to Clients
It’s time to call a spade a spade.
The Real Estate Council of BC talks about the responsibility of real estate agents here. Scanning down the page there is a section dedicated to ‘fiduciary duty’. This term sound big but it’s pretty simple. Lawyers have it, too. They have to look out for the best interests of their clients and treat them in a certain way or they are in breach of that fiduciary duty. For a better definition, and an interesting historical quick read, check out the wiki page on the topic .
On the RECBC page, there is one subsections of the Fiduciary section that need to be looked at asap. That is, specifically: ‘Not misuse confidential information’ (#16).
Many people have a blase view on personal privacy and protection of their information. That’s fine. It’s your right to strip naked and change in front of your window with the curtain open at night, but don’t blame anyone when creepsters are hanging around with binoculars. In the same way, go ahead and use Facebook, Google (ie. Gmail), and Linkedin for your personal life and don’t blame anyone when your entire life is hacked or strangely creepy advertisements for dandruff control or marriage counseling start showing up on digital advertising screens when you step in elevators around town. That’s your choice.
But it’s *not* your choice if you are a real estate agent. If you expose your client’s info (like mine) to a third party, I can take your house-flipping hindquarters to court for violation of fiduciary duty and I have good reason to believe I would make a strong case and win and claim some damages.
“I would never do such a thing to my client.” Says Ms. Realtor.
I’m sitting at my desk right now looking at a Realtor’s calendar. A nice man he was. He did a good enough job. Right there on the calendar is his email address “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Violation! All of his clients should go after him including myself.
But how did he violate the fiduciary relationship, you ask?
By using gmail to do business emails.
Shocked at my statement? Don’t be. Read this.
So if you work in a profession where you are under fiduciary law, you better abandon these email servers and any other piece of technology that syncs back to the info-scanning motherships of the world or you may be in a world of legal hurt in the next few years.