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Zillow Files Antitrust Suit Against Rivals Over Alleged Conspiracy

 |  January 1, 2024

Real estate giant Zillow (ZG.O) and its subsidiary ShowingTime have taken legal action against two Arizona home-listing services, alleging an unlawful conspiracy to stifle competition in the market for scheduling software and related tools used by real estate agents.

The lawsuit, filed in Arizona federal court on December 22 and made public this Wednesday, accuses the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service and another service of colluding to boycott Zillow’s scheduling company, reported Reuters.

At the heart of the legal dispute is the role of “multiple listing services” (MLS), crucial platforms where the majority of homes for sale in the United States are listed. Zillow contends that the Arizona listing services conspired to impede real estate agents’ freedom to choose a showing tool, potentially causing delays for homebuyers in parts of Arizona seeking to schedule property viewings.

Errol Samuelson, Chief Industry Development Officer at Zillow, stated in a press release that the lawsuit challenges the Arizona services’ “authority to advantage their own products from which they stand to profit.” On the other side, Michelle Shelton, Chair of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service Board of Trustees, asserted in an email on Thursday that the organization would “fully dispute the allegations.”

Read more: Judge Rules Zillow CEO Can Be Deposed In Antitrust Case

The lawsuit alleges that the two Arizona listing services established their own showing platform, named Aligned Showings, with the aim of directing tens of thousands of real estate agents in the Phoenix area to use it. Zillow claims that the actions of these listing services could potentially sideline Zillow’s ShowingTime and create obstacles for agents and buyers alike.

Zillow’s ShowingTime, acquired by the company in 2021, is credited with saving agents significant time spent manually scheduling property tours. According to the lawsuit, the platform allows prospective buyers using Zillow’s website to access real-time availability and schedule showings within 1 to 2 minutes, reported Reuters.

The legal battle marks the first time Zillow has filed a lawsuit against a listing service, revealing the significance of the matter. Zillow suggests that a Milwaukee-area listing platform is also planning to sideline ShowingTime.

Zillow’s lawsuit seeks a fair opportunity to compete with the defendants on the merits of their showing management platform. The Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service had announced its intention to remove ShowingTime by December 27.

The case is officially recorded as Zillow Group Inc and ShowingTime.com LLC v. Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service Inc et al, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 2:23-cv-02701-MTL. The legal representation for the plaintiffs includes Beau Buffier and Eric Tuttle of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati, and David Rosenbaum of Osborn Maledon.

Source: Reuters