BrokerageIndustry News

FTC lawyers ask for appeal in MLS antitrust complaint

Full commission will hold April 1 hearing

Lawyers for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, in a legal filing this week, asked the commission to reverse a December decision by an administrative law judge that vindicated a Michigan MLS from antitrust charges. A commission hearing is scheduled for April 1 in Washington, D.C., to consider the appeal by federal antitrust officials. FTC officials charged in February 2006 that Realcomp II, a 14,000-member Michigan MLS owned by a group of Realtor associations, adopted anticompetitive policies that restrict the marketing of some properties based on the type of listing contract that consumers entered into with real estate brokers. They charged that the rules prevented the display of some properties on popular home-search Web sites and made it more difficult for brokers to search for certain properties within the MLS system. FTC officials had simultaneously announced a series of other actions against MLSs at that time, including a handful of settlement agreements with MLSs tha...