BrokerageIndustry News

West Penn MLS agrees to FTC settlement

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A Pittsburgh-area multiple listing service has agreed to a proposed settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over charges that the MLS violated antitrust laws in restricting some real estate service contracts. FTC officials alleged in a complaint that member-owned West Penn Multi-List Inc., an MLS with about 6,000 members in the Pittsburgh area, adopted policies that excluded certain properties from entry into the MLS database, "based on the terms of the listing contract entered into between a real estate broker and the customer who wishes to sell a property." "These rules," FTC officials alleged, "discriminate against certain kinds of lawful contracts ... and lack any pro-competitive justification." The FTC has entered into several similar settlement agreements with MLSs across the country, and in 2006 launched a so-called "real estate competition sweep" (see Inman News). All but one of the seven MLSs targeted in that enforcement...