Editor’s note: Watch Inman News for updates to this report.
Michigan’s Realcomp II MLS will reportedly appeal an FTC decision that it imposed a "significant impediment" to consumer access to listings represented by limited-service brokers.
The Mises Economics Blog, citing an e-mail exchange with Realcomp CEO Karen Kage, says the MLS’s board has voted unanimously to take an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
In its own unanimous vote last month, the FTC ruled that Realcomp II’s alleged refusal to transmit "exclusive agency" property listings favored by discount brokers to public Web sites and other policies were aimed at protecting full-service brokers’ commissions from competition (see story).
Karen Kage, Realcomp CEO, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
In October 2006, after announcing consent orders with five other MLSs over similar conduct, the FTC issued complaints against Realcomp and another MLS, MiRealSource Inc., accused of restricting publications of exclusive-agency listings.
The National Association of Realtors amended its Internet Data Exchange (IDX) policy the following month, striking language that allowed MLSs to exclude some properties from display on IDX Web sites based on the type of listing agreement, but preserving the right of individual MLS members to make such decisions.
Realcomp, which was ultimately the lone MLS to fight the FTC in court (MiRealSource entered into a consent order in February 2007), won the first round of its legal battle with the FTC when an administrative law judge dismissed the government’s complaint against it.
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