BrokerageIndustry News

Two MLSs hit with civil suits after FTC actions

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Two multiple listing services in Michigan and Pennsylvania that federal regulators had accused of anti-competitive practices have also become entangled in civil lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages on behalf of consumers. Pittsburgh-based West Penn Multi-List Inc. has agreed to pay $2.38 million to settle allegations that its member brokers conspired to pass rules aimed at restricting competition from nontraditional and discount brokerages. The MLS's actions allegedly resulted in consumers paying inflated commissions in its 15-county service area. West Penn denied the allegations, made in a lawsuit filed last year -- not long after the MLS had settled a similar complaint by the Federal Trade Commission. In both instances, attorneys for West Penn and its member brokers denied discriminating against discount brokerages, but said settling the cases was preferable to the uncertainty, costs and delay of further litigation. Under the terms of a settlement granted fin...