BrokerageIndustry News

FTC announces settlement agreement with Wisconsin MLS

MLS Inc. had passed rule restricting online display of some listings

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U.S. Federal Trade Commission officials today announced a settlement agreement over policies adopted by Multiple Listing Service Inc., an MLS based in Wauwatosa, Wis., that the federal agency deemed anticompetitive. The FTC charged that MLS Inc. withheld benefits from members of its Metro MLS from consumers who chose to enter into a nontraditional form of listing contract with real estate brokers, and that the MLS rules blocked these "nontraditional, less-than-full-service listings from being transmitted (by the) MLS to popular Internet Web sites, but provided this important benefit for traditional forms of listings." Inman News reported that Metro MLS last year withdrew its policy that prevented a category of property listings from display on popular public-facing property-search sites, such as Realtor.com and WiHomes.com, and the consent order would formalize the rule change and prevent the MLS from adopting similar rules in the future. The FTC on Oct. 12, 2006, announced a series of...