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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Law - FTC Charges Real Estate Groups with Anticompetitive Conduct in Limiting Consumers' Choice in Real Estate Services

The Federal Trade Commission today issued a release titled "FTC Charges Real Estate Groups with Anticompetitive Conduct in Limiting Consumers' Choice in Real Estate Services." Some quotes:

The Federal Trade Commission today charged two real estate groups operating multiple listing services in the Detroit, Michigan, area with illegally restraining competition by limiting consumers’ ability to obtain low-cost real estate brokerage services. The Commission also announced consent agreements with five other groups operating multiple listing services in parts of Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Virginia, and Wisconsin, that have discontinued the challenged conduct.

According to the FTC, all seven groups adopted rules that withheld valuable benefits of the Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) they control from consumers who chose to enter into non-traditional listing contracts with real estate brokers. Six of the seven blocked non-traditional, less-than-full-service listings from being transmitted by the MLS to popular Internet Web sites. The seventh went further, adopting policies that include blocking such non-traditional brokerage contracts from the MLS entirely. Such policies limit home sellers’ ability to choose a listing type that best serves their specific needs. While five of the groups have entered into consent orders barring such conduct in the future, the two in Michigan have not, and the FTC has issued administrative complaints against them.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 12, 2006 04:25 PM
Posted to General Law Related