The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against a broker-operated multiple listing service in Columbia, S.C., charging that the MLS's rules restrict competition and drive up the cost of real estate services. The civil antitrust lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Columbia, alleges that CMLS "requires brokers to perform a prescribed set of services, which limits consumer choice, and excludes competitors who might offer innovative options that could provide better services to consumers in that area." The announcement was released late Friday, and representatives for the MLS could not immediately be reached for comment. The MLS has about 370 broker members that represent about 3,100 agents in the Columbia area. MLS rules "prevent members from providing a set of brokerage services that includes less than the full array of services that brokers traditionally have provided -- even if a consumer prefers to save money by purchasing less than all ...
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