Zillow Group, the real estate media company that owns online marketplaces including Zillow and Trulia, is facing an antitrust lawsuit alleging that its sites and the National Association of Realtors are making it harder for potential home buyers to view listings with lower fees from other competitors.
Austin-based startup Rex (Real Estate Exchange), an online real estate marketplace filed the suit in U.S. federal court in Seattle, accusing Zillow and its subsidiary Trulia of promoting listings by brokers with the National Association of Realtors, the largest trade association in the country with 1.45 million members and giving less play to non-affiliated agents on its website, resulting in buyers paying higher commission fees, according to the lawsuit.
"Without any significant warning, Zillow unveiled its newly designed web display in mid-January 2021. The new web display creates a separate page, concealed behind the primary results, where REX homes are now funneled," the lawsuit said, adding that REX home listings are featured behind an "other listings" tab. The suit alleges that this practice results in fewer viewings and sales on REX homes.
"We are aware of the lawsuit and believe the claims are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves against it," a spokesperson for Zillow told FOX Business in an emailed statement.
The National Association of Realtors further told told Reuters the REX suit has "no legal basis."
REX is seeking for Zillow to remove its homes from the "other listings" section, as well as pay damages and attorney fees.