BrokerageIndustry News

MLS expansion in Washington prompts antitrust complaint

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A large multiple listing service in Washington allegedly is attempting to control real estate listings in the state and has worked to drive out other MLSs, according to an antitrust complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission this week. Officials at Northwest MLS, which is the focus of the complaint, say the matter is a "misguided" reaction to new competition. The complaint, filed on behalf of the Bellingham-Whatcom County MLS, which serves 69 brokerages and 854 licensees in the northwest corner of Washington, alleges that the larger Northwest MLS "has intentionally interfered with the ability of non-Northwest members to compete for listings." The complaint also states that "the only reasonable conclusion is that Northwest (MLS) is intent on driving the Bellingham-Whatcom County (MLS) out of business," and questions whether the Northwest MLS is in compliance with an FTC consent order issued in 1990. The Northwest MLS has engaged in a pattern of expansion that has led to the demi...