Zillow initiates legal action against competitors concerning software designed for scheduling property showings.

Zillow and its subsidiary, ShowingTime, have filed a lawsuit in an Arizona federal court against two home-listing services. The lawsuit, dated December 22 and made public on Wednesday, alleges that the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, in collaboration with another service, engaged in an unlawful scheme to stifle competition in Arizona related to scheduling software and tools used by agents to showcase properties to potential buyers.

The legal dispute brings attention to a crucial aspect of home-buying known as “multiple listing services” (MLS), which is where the majority of homes for sale in the United States are listed. Zillow alleges that both the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service and Multiple Listing Service attempted to impede the freedom of real estate agents to choose a showing tool. Zillow contends that this interference could result in delays for homebuyers in certain areas of Arizona when trying to schedule appointments to view a house.

Zillow’s Chief Industry Development Officer, Errol Samuelson, stated in a release that the lawsuit contests the Arizona services’ “authority to favor their own products, which could lead to financial gains for them.” Michelle Shelton, Chair of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service board of trustees, responded in an email on Thursday, asserting that the organization will “completely challenge the allegations.” The lawsuit alleges that the two Arizona listing services established their own showing platform, Aligned Showings, with the purpose of directing tens of thousands of real estate agents in the Phoenix area to utilize it.

This marks the first legal action taken by Seattle-based Zillow against a listing service. Zillow claims that a listing platform in the Milwaukee area also intends to sideline ShowingTime.

According to the lawsuit, Zillow’s ShowingTime, established in 1999 and acquired by Zillow in 2021, significantly streamlines the scheduling process for agents, saving them valuable time. The platform, integrated with Zillow’s website, enables prospective buyers to view real-time availability and schedule showings within 1 to 2 minutes.

The Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service had announced its intention to remove ShowingTime by December 27. Zillow, in its legal action, seeks a fair opportunity to compete based on the merits with the defendants’ showing management platform.

The case is titled Zillow Group Inc and ShowingTime.com LLC v. Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service Inc et al, filed in the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, under case number 2:23-cv-02701-MTL.

Representation for the plaintiffs includes Beau Buffier and Eric Tuttle of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati, and David Rosenbaum of Osborn Maledon. As of now, there are no appearances for the defendants.

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