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Zillow Dodges Vermont FSBO Antitrust Suit

 |  August 30, 2022

The real estate industry is not lacking in antitrust lawsuits. But while industry professionals await the results of the suits against the National Association of Realtors, Zillow has just dodged legal trouble of its own.

A lawsuit alleging that Zillow violated the Lanham Act and the Vermont Consumer Protection Act due to use of deceptive tactics in its for-sale-by-owner listing services and advertisements was dismissed last week by a federal judge in Vermont.

The suit was filed in January 2021 by Picket Fence Preview, Inc., a for-sale-by-owner listing site operating in Vermont and New Hampshire. The case was initially dismissed in August 2021, but Picket Fence appealed the decision. Zillow filed a motion to dismiss the case a second time in May 2022.

Zillow allows homeowners to list their for-sale-by-owner properties on the site for free, However, Picket Fence alleges that the listing service is not necessarily free. Picket Fence claims that instead of directing a potential homebuyer viewing a for-sale-by-owner property on the site to the current homeowner listing the property, it instead puts them in contact with a Zillow Premier Agent. The complaint goes on to state that agents who have signed up for Zillow’s Premier Agent lead generation system would receive these leads.

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