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Woman outraged after realtors solicit business with sympathy card to widow

Click to play video: 'Local realtors cross the ethical divide when it comes to business' Local realtors cross the ethical divide when it comes to business
WATCH: Competition is fierce among local realtors for new listings. A Surrey family says the actions of two agents crossed the line following the death of a family member. John Hua has more – Aug 8, 2016

A Surrey woman is outraged after a pair of White Rock real estate agents sent a sympathy card to her widowed father offering their services, only three weeks after his wife’s death.

“Dear Mr. Smith,” the card, from Linda Shaver and Leanne deSouza of HomeLife Benchmark Realty Corp. reads. “So sorry to hear of your wife’s passing. Please let us know if we can help in any way with your real estate needs when the time is right. Thanks.”

Launi Smith Bowie posted her frustrations on Facebook, stating “On what planet does someone think this is ethical or even remotely acceptable?”

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According to Bowie, the agents, who she calls “ambulance chasing vultures”, did not know her mother. The agents say they were simply following up on a door-by-door visit they made a few weeks earlier, where they learned of Smith’s wife’s passing.

Regardless, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) says the card was “inappropriate.”

“I think it would be very inappropriate to initiate that kind of connection if you knew someone had passed away in that home,” said Dennis Wilson of the FVREB.

READ MORE: Vancouver real estate market slows in July to “normal” levels

In a market where competition for listings is stiff and prices are high, realtors have been accused of using unethical practices to get a listing.

Earlier this spring, New Coast Realty came under fire for instructing their realtors to sell homes for under market value to investor clients and flip them for a much higher price.

In May, Re/Max realtor Leyla Yang was also accused of using threatening language at a client after he refused to participate in a multi-million dollar bidding war on a Vancouver property.

READ MORE: Suspect caught on camera vandalizing B.C. realtor’s signs

Leanne deSouza says both she and Shaver “deeply regret” including their business cards in the letter.

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“We should have just kept it strictly as a sympathy card with just our names, and nothing to do with the business,” deSouza told Global News.

“But we did mean the sympathy was very heartfelt and it was very sincere.”

with files from John Hua

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