The Legal, Ethical and Moral Problems Associated With Surrogacy

The legal, ethical and moral problems associated with surrogacy

A surrogate motherhood entails carrying and delivering a child (premature delivery is also included) under the contract concluded between a substitute mother and commissioning couples. Normally, a proxy is impregnated by implanting the zygote into her uterus. This zygote is formed in a laboratory using commissioning couple gametes or donor gametes. As the rate of infertility is rising every year, surrogacy is becoming more popular. Couples who are not in a financial status to invest much on this process are traveling to different countries where they can expect the same process at less cost. Surrogacy tourism is becoming more popular in Asian countries such as India. However, the increasing popularity of surrogacy has given rise to many legal, political, moral and ethical problems.

In this article, we are focusing on the rights of married infertile couples who made a contract with the surrogate mother to have a biological baby; ensuring the rights of a baby born to a substitute and the different factors included in a contract made with a substitute. The moral and ethical issues associated with the surrogacy are also considered. Doctors observe the problems associated with the surrogate motherhood in a sensible point of view, adhere to the up-to-date ART technologies and always encourage substitutes to move forward. However, the solicitors also don’t observe any particular ethical problems. According to the lawyers, every person has the rights to use their body and mind to commit action in accordance with his consciousness and will.

Commissioning couples seeking surrogacy to have a biological baby should face some legal problem in spite of considering this process as legal. As there is no law governing surrogacy in many states, the commissioning couples often face many obstacles while owning their biological baby. In some cases, when the substitute rejects to hand over the baby, the intended parents often face trouble. According to some state laws, the substitute has the right to keep the baby after delivery, as a result, the infertile married couples who gave their consent for an embryo transfer and made contract with the surrogate to carry their child, will be dishonored. Undoubtedly, at this circumstance either the deceived couples ask reimbursement or their baby. However, women who wish to become surrogate mother often face financial hardship; it will become hard for them dishonor the contract. Such haziness makes it impossible for the proxies to dishonor the laws.

Most of the state laws prefer to show a legal essence in a contract made between commissioning couple and surrogate mother. Some solicitors also argue that ensuring rights of children born to substitutes is also important. In some states, the experienced solicitors are working constantly to establish a strong surrogacy laws in order to give legal rights to the infertile married couples, surrogate mother who bear child upon agreement made with the intended parents and the rights of children born to the surrogate mothers. Once the law becomes strong and controversies related to the social and religious ethics will become normal, both parties can enjoy their journey without any complications and obstacles.

Website Legal Compliance – FTC Accelerates Crackdown On Fake News Sites

We’ve all seen headlines in search results like this one – “XYZ Exposed: Miracle Diet or Scam”. And perhaps we actually believed there was objective reporting or unbiased commentary behind the headline. But after reading the web page, it was clear that the headline was just a clever way to catch your attention and lure you to a sales page with an aggressive sales pitch.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has seen these headlines too, and the FTC doesn’t think they’re clever at all. In fact, the FTC believes they constitute deceptive and unfair trade practices, as indicated by the FTC’s accelerated crackdown on affiliates of a popular diet drink with aggressive weight loss claims.

Modus Operandi

The modus operandi of these sites was to start with attention grabbing headlines such as the one listed above and these additional ones – “News 6 News Alerts,” “Health News Health Alerts,” or “Health 5 Beat Health News.”

The sites presented what appeared to be a skeptical commentator who raises the question of whether the diet drink is really effective. The commentator appeared to be objective; however, after a few paragraphs the commentator would conclude that use of the diet drink would result in a 25-pound weight loss in 4 weeks – all this without changing diet or exercise according to the FTC.

The prices for the supplement ranged between $70 and $100.

The FTC’s Claims

When the FTC originally initiated law suits against these sites, Charles Harwood, Deputy Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection stated: “We are alleging that nearly everything about these Web sites is false and deceptive”. In addition, the FTC pointed out that the defendants aggressively promoted the deceptive ads by spending millions of dollars for placement on high volume websites resulting in millions of views by consumers and substantial sales.

Specifically, the FTC contended that the offending sites –

* failed to disclose their material relationships involving the payment of affiliate commissions with the merchants of the products;

* failed to produce independent tests to support the claims made prior to public dissemination;

* included a section of “consumer comments” that were completely fabricated;

* used infringing logos of reputable media outlets such as ABC, Fox News, CNN and Consumer Reports to give the false impression of credibility; and

* misappropriated the image of a French reporter for use on the sites.

The Settlements

The cases brought by the FTC were against six affiliates of the merchant that manufactured and supplied the weight loss supplement.

In the settlements, the defendants agreed that they will permanently cease their allegedly deceptive practice of using fake news websites. In addition, the settlements require that the defendants cease making deceptive claims about their other products, including work-at-home schemes and penny auctions which most of them promoted.

The big hammer in the settlements included fines in an aggregate amount which represented the affiliate commissions the defendants received through their fake news sites.

These settlement results clearly indicate that the FTC aggressively pursued every dollar they could under the circumstances (the final amounts left most of them with few real assets, if any):

* one defendant’s $2.5 million judgment was suspended when he pays $280,000 and records a $39,500 lien on his home;

* another defendant’s fine of $204,000 was suspended pending the payment of $13,000 plus the proceeds from the sale of a BMW automobile, and

* still another defendant was suspended pending the payment of almost $80,000 over a 3 year period.

Conclusion

The take-aways from these cases include –

* fake news sites are virtually guaranteed to get you sued by the FTC,

* ditto for fake testimonials or user comments,

* diet supplements of any kind are high on the FTC’s radar screen for regulatory scrutiny,

* the FTC is serious about enforcing its guidelines that affiliates are required to conspicuously disclose the fact that they are paid commissions for endorsements, and

* consistent with the FTC’s long-standing policy, advertising claims should be substantiated prior to public dissemination.

The FTC continues to make it absolutely clear that the days of the “Wild, Wild West” on the Internet, when it was open season on deceptive marketing practices, is clearly over for good.

This article is provided for educational and informative purposes only. This information does not constitute legal advice, and should not be construed as such.

Where Does Your Real Estate Commission Fee Go – Why is The Commission so HIGH?

Many who have bought and sold properties through Realtors numerous times; even many real estate agents themselves, don’t know where the commission money goes. After all, when a property sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars and the commission is tens of thousands of dollars, it seems like there is a terrific amount of money charged as commission — and there is.

Even many attorneys, who have spent a decade or more in expensive colleges, fought to get through the Bar exam, and then spent years in their profession — seem concerned that the commission fee is far larger than the attorney fee when all the fees are paid at settlement.

Let’s start with the part that few real estate agents understand. It costs the real estate company they work for, between $19,000 and $45,000 per year for each agent to have a license, desk, and the use of company building, parking, real estate, taxes, insurance, utilities and professional support services — whether they sell anything or not. Since the real estate brokerage commission is split between the company and the agent, an agent must make three to six thousand dollars every month in commissions for the company to break even on that agent with the company share of the fee. And, most importantly, the less productive agents in the office raise the cost for everyone. The other agents therefore, must each earn more to carry the share of the less productive. Many agencies will ONLY allow high quality, top producing agents to work at the company, so that the less successful agents don’t pull down the average income of the company investment.

The total commission is split between the listing company and the listing agent ; and the selling company and the selling agent. Usually the commission is split four ways, sometimes it is more. Splits are arranged within each company and for each agent; sometimes there are numerous different percentages and split arrangements in each office.

The company part of the commission is spent on office rent or mortgage, taxes, property insurance, maintenance, signs, radio and TV advertising, bill boards, magazine and newspaper ads, cleaning, supplies, phones, paper, desks, utilities, legal fees and legal insurances, management and support staff as well as numerous memberships, dues, legal fees and expert professionals. Many companies also pay a fee to a franchise company or home office for the right to use the company name. Fees are also paid to regional and national home offices to defray national and regional advertising, management, staff, etc.

In the final analysis, an office that has 10 licensed agents must require those agents to bring in at least forty to seventy thousand dollars in commissions every month to keep the office bills paid!!! I don’t know any real estate agents who actually understand or believe this, unless they have personally been responsible for office expenses for a year or more. Responsible, meaning writing the checks out of an account that costs THEM money. Even then it’s hard to understand how it all adds up to such a huge figure, but it does. Offices that earn less than these amounts per agent are disappearing fast, few remain as it is.

Computer purchase, maintenance, training and software expenses are now one of the larger expenses. Many offices feel squashed financially, by the financial pressure of adding the purchase of computers, printers, digital cameras, and the maintenance, networking, repair, software and constant management of computers to the already high cost of doing business. In fact, there are even a few of the larger companies who specialize in purchasing other real estate companies who can’t keep up with the expense and responsibility of this digital age. Any company or agent who is not keeping pace with digital realty and digital real estate, is not likely to be around much longer.

More and more people rely on the Internet to pre-shop for real estate. You know that. You are one of them and we welcome you to our site.

The purpose of our Web Site is to allow you to educate yourself and pre-shop for real estate before you call us. Let us know if you want us to have anything else on our site for you. We’ll listen! As the Internet becomes the favored tool it is also the most important tool for buyers — radio, print and sign ads become less workable. Smart sellers now want to see what a Realtor is doing on the web before they choose which Realtor to list their property for sale with.

Advertising and marketing expenses have grown tremendously over the years. For instance, when I first got into the business, thirty years ago, I started out helping to manage a real estate, building and developing company. At that time, over 60% of our phone calls came from signs on the property. Also at that time, bulk mail cost an average of thirty cents a piece to create, print, post and send and our response rate was often 3% or more!!! Now less than 10% of our calls come from signs on the property. Bulk mail averages over a dollar a piece and mail response is far less than half of one percent. In fact according to one national Realtor’s marketing research team, real estate mailings now range in response from one in a thousand to one in three hundred. The best results costing the most to obtain because of expensive mailing pieces with full color, pictures, etc. One recent survey showed that average cost per resonse to a mailing was $2,000 – whether it was a lot of cheap postcards or fewer nicely printed color pieces.

Since 1971, I have studied and researched marketing and sales via schooling, reading and keeping good records of expenses and results. Thirty years ago the average cost of newspaper advertising to get a phone call was seven dollars. One in every ten calls coming to a top agent, resulted in an appointment. One in five appointments resulted (for a top agent) in a sale! Of course these were averages based on the best advertising, telephone and selling techniques that were available. Often the averages were not as good in other companies or for other agents. So the average cost of a sale using just print ads was about $350 thirty years ago. For my office of 50 agents in 1979, the average print, signage and bulk mail advertising cost had risen to $500 per call.

Now the average cost of one phone call from a print ad is from two thousand to five thousand dollars and that is growing by the month! So even if one could get one in ten calls to result in an appointment, and one in five appointments to result in a sale, the cost of advertising per contract would be phenomenal.

The nicer the property, the more attractively priced it is or the better it is located the more response the ad will get. Luckily for print ad salespeople and newspapers, few Realtors keep records of what advertising costs and results are. Singage is still a factor in obtaining calls and used to be the most cost effective. Therefore many Realtors will seek to get a listing in a hot area, no matter what the listed price, just to get a sign on the property! Can you blame them?

Print ads are done mostly to please the seller. After all the seller wants to see something tangible as proof that the Realtor is spending some money before that big commission is paid out at settlement. We certainly can’t fault them for that either, can we? Interestingly enough, those sellers who price their property highest for what it is and who are located farthest from where the most buyers want such a property, are quite often the ones who most want to see their property advertised expensively!!! In the case of an overpriced property that is not well located — thousands of dollars can be spent in advertising with not one phone call resulting! It’s just part of our business and always has been. Ironically those sellers who have property priced the highest for it’s location and want the most advertising, are often the ones who want to pay the least commission too.

You may find this all unbelievable! It is! I’ve been doing this business all my adult life, going to courses every year, working in the business in many parts of the country as a property specialist — and I still can’t believe the costs and conditions of this business. I am amazed every day by all this!

Each company pays their agents differently but the overall or gross commission as it is called is split in some fashion between the company and the agents. The expenses are split too. The most productive agents usually get a larger split of the commission, relative to the company. Some companies offer top agents the right to rent office space, usually at least twenty thousand dollars a year, and keep all the commission! And, top agents almost always spend a far larger percentage of what they earn for advertising, marketing, education and other business expenses that are designed to bring them future sales and income.

The best agents, the best ones for the seller to have, are those who do everything possible to let all the rest of the Realtors in the area know everything possible about the property they have for sale so that other Realtors can try to sell it too. When two Realtors from different offices are involved in the sale the commissions are split in half again. Typically each of the two companies involved would split the commission and then each of them would split with the agents involved. Often there are other commission splits payable as well to a referring agents; an agent who referred the listing or one who referred the buyer. To give you an idea of what all this means, when I averaged all the commissions I made over the last several years I averaged three quarters of one percent of the sales price for the properties I sold – BEFORE expenses! Now you can see why we all try to sell millions of dollars of property each year!

In most areas there is another expensive service that the companies and the agents use — the Multiple Listing Service or MLS. This is where all the agents have agreed to put everything they have on a centralized and searchable computer so that all agents can have access to all properties. Once you choose your Realtor that person can access everything in the central computer files if they are a member of the MLS. Some of the smaller companies are not members because of the cost.

From the proceeds of commissions earned by the sales and listing agents, they then pay for their auto expenses, MLS fees, annual county, state and national Realtor dues, commercial licensing fees, business licenses, electronic lockbox keys, advertising, insurance, legal fees, computer related expenses, phone bills, etc. In the final analysis a Realtor who sells two million dollars in real estate a year is usually working diligently and effectively for his clients for only average earnings in area where she lives after all these expenses. And there are others; client gifts, professional dinners and luncheons, Chamber of Commerce dues, and numerous charities who consider that Realtors are the most likely to donate heavily to all the charities… since they have so much money.

Selling Real Estate is a life style and profession most of us would not trade for anything. And there are some of us who have made a nice living over the years at this wonderful job. It’s all about helping others. If we do it well, we are paid well, and if we do it very well we are paid very well! Happily I have been working as a Realtor since 1972 and I LOVE it.

We know that for us we have the best job on earth and we do it our way. We use primarily the modern tools of the Net, Multiple Web sites, all the latest devices and techniques, MLS, several computers, as well as selected traditional mailings, some print ads and several professional assistants all to help our clients better and faster!

May we help YOU? We hope so! And, we hope to get paid when we do!

Copyright 2000-2005 by www.JodyHudson.com