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States snub Justice Department’s antitrust complaints

Alabama governor signs real estate minimum-service law

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Alabama Gov. Bob Riley signed legislation this month that will require all real estate agents in the state to perform a minimum level of service for their clients, such as assisting consumers in negotiating offers and counteroffers and answering questions relating to real estate transactions. Alabama is the latest state to pass such legislation despite protests by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. The federal agencies also wrote letters this year to state officials in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas to express objections to similar real estate measures in those states. Representatives for the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have said that such measures can be anti-competitive and can limit consumer choice in the real estate marketplace by preventing some companies from offering fewer services than are mandated by the measures, and they encouraged state officials to reject or revise the measures. In every case, legislators and governors i...