Who says you can’t sue the same folks that are suing you?
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) filed a lawsuit on Jan. 28 against REX-Real Estate Exchange Inc., alleging that the Texas-based real estate startup deceived consumers by making false and misleading advertisements and statements about its services.
“NAR will oppose attempts to mislead consumers, including attempts to mislead consumers about buying or selling a home generally or about the services or cost of using REALTORS®, most of whom are small business people,” said NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith in a press release.
Rouda Smith noted that independent, local multiple listing services benefit from competition and fair housing.
“The truth is that if home buyers and sellers are deceived into avoiding multiple listing services, they will lose the services’ pro-consumer, pro-competitive benefits,” Smith said.
NAR’s complaint alleges that REX misled consumers by:
– Advertising that sellers would receive greater proceeds because, in a REX transaction, sellers don’t pay commissions to the buyer’s broker.
– Claiming that it developed innovative and superior technology that can proactively identify the “perfect” buyer for a seller’s property using artificial intelligence and data analytics, allowing it to offer lower commissions.
NAR also suggests that REX has deceived consumers in previous and ongoing claims that NAR has enacted a series of anti-competitive policies like making agent commissions non-negotiable to brokers who want to put their listings on the MLS.
REX initially filed a federal antitrust lawsuit in March 2021 against Zillow and NAR, claiming Zillow’s redesigned website strives to “segregate, conceal and demote” listings that aren’t from the MLS, putting REX at a disadvantage and potentially harming their business.
NAR is seeking monetary damages, an injunction preventing REX from continuing its alleged fraudulent and misleading practices, and reimbursement of costs and attorneys’ fees.
REX did not immediately respond to RISMedia’s request for comments on this story.
This is a developing story.
Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas at email@example.com.