Part III Administrative Complaint
The Commission issued an administrative complaint charging Realcomp with violating Section 5 of the FTC Act by prohibiting information on Exclusive Agency (EA) Listings and other forms of nontraditional listings from being transmitted from the multiple listing service (MLS) it maintains to public real estate web sites. The complaint further alleged that the conduct was collusive and exclusionary, because the brokers enacting the rules were essentially agreeing among themselves how to compete with one another, and were withholding the valuable benefits of the MLS from nontraditional real estate brokers. After the ALJ dismissed the complaint, Commission staff appealed the initial decision, and on November 2, 2009 the Commission issued an Opinion finding that Realcomp II had violated federal law by restricting the ability of member real estate agents to offer consumers lower-priced alternatives to traditional real estate services. Realcomp refused to transmit discount real estate listings to its own and other publicly available Web sites and excluded such listings from the default searches within its own database. The Commission found that these policies restricted access to these listings and harmed competition. The FTC’s Final Order requires Realcomp to provide its members non-discriminatory access to non-traditional and lower-price listings on its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and to stop preventing such listings from being sent to its public real estate sites. Following an appeal by RealComp, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the FTC order. On August 15, 2011 Realcomp appealed to the Supreme Court. On October 11, 2011 the Supreme Court denied Realcomp's petition for a writ of certiorari.