John Cook reports that Zillow has gotten itself into hot water about its home valuations:

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that promotes equal access to credit and capital for underserved communities, has filed a 12-page complaint (PDF) against Zillow with the Federal Trade Commission.

You can read the full complaint here. [PDF]

The crux of their complaint is that Zillow’s valuations are misleading and place the “American dream of homeownership at risk.” According to the NCRC, some real estate and lending professionals have been using Zillow’s Zestimates to defraud consumers.

Zillow, for their part, have not responded publicly to the charge, as far as I can tell. Their Press Room and blog remain quiet on the issue currently. They have however, announced they’ve opened their API to all web sites today.

This is a fairly serious allegation in my opinion, and from a PR perspective, one that they should be fairly aggressive in countering.

Not being any kind of legal expert (heck, I’m a marketer after all), I will defer to others to pass judgement on the merit of this complaint.

UPDATE: Amy from Zillow emailed me with their statement:

We believe these allegations are groundless. As we say consistently and prominently on our Web site, Zillow is a free research tool for consumers, and Zestimates are designed to be a starting point for consumers who want to learn about the value of homes. We make every effort to explain on our site the role of Zestimates as a research tool, as well as to clearly display our rates of accuracy for every area we cover.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription