Consumers would be outraged if they showed up at a car dealership and were told by the salesperson that they need to fork over a fee before they can look at the cars for sale. That's one of the arguments being made by a group of brokers and agents in Hampton Roads, Va., who are irate at their multiple listing service's decision to charge consumers to view home listings data. The Real Estate Information Network, the official MLS serving the Hampton Roads, Va., region, on June 28 implemented the E-Pass system, which restricts online listings information viewable to the anonymous public. Consumers either pay $3.95 for one-day access to E-Pass and $4.95 for one month, or they can choose to contact a real estate agent for listings information. The MLS has said the main goal of the E-Pass system is to spur early contact between the consumer and real estate agent, keeping the agent front and center in the home-search process. Brokers opposing the pay-to-view service say it threatens the...
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