REALTORS® are responding to a lawsuit against Realtor.com, alleging that the company is engaged in “unethical and fraudulent” practices, that mislead agents.
Realtor.com is operated by Move Inc., owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The domain name realtor.com, however, is owned by NAR and licensed to Move Inc.
In an eight-count amended complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Jan. 3, a former Move Inc. sales rep alleged that he was wrongfully terminated from Move, a News Corp. subsidiary, in March 2017, in retaliation for objecting to and refusing to participate in what he believed to be unlawful conduct.
In an interview with Inman, former Move Inc. sales rep Brian Bobik said he sold lead packages by ZIP code to agents paying to advertise on realtor.com, but became aware of practices he described as “unethical and fraudulent.”
“Before signing up, sales reps tell [agents], ‘No problem, if you get any of those, we’ll make it up at the back end of your contract to make sure you get what you’re paying for.’ That’s false.”
Bobik also alleged:
Move sales reps told agents they were not entering into a contract when they were
They could cancel the service any time, which they couldn’t
That leads they got would not be shared with any other agents, which they were.
If agents cancelled a credit card, Move sales reps would continue charging the agent using another credit card the agent had on file—without the agent’s permission.
Asked for comment on the lawsuit and Bobik’s desire to see NAR intervene, NAR spokesperson Sara Wiskerchen sent Inman an emailed statement reading, in part:
“Our acting General Counsel Ralph Holmen has reviewed the complaint. It involves exclusively [an] employment dispute between Move and a former employee, about which we had no previous knowledge of or information about and cannot comment at this time. The Operating Agreement does not address Move employment matters or the conduct of Move sales staff in any way, nor do we think it would be appropriate for NAR to be involved in such internal Move operational matters.”
Here’s a sample of the dozens of responses to the Inman article about realtor.com’s practices:
Jackie Black · Owner/Broker at Texas Best Properties, LLC
“It happened to me, personally. It is a huge fraud, with “bait and switch” practices. I made such a rucus they gave me the money back.”
Mary Lou Hagman · Broker/Owner at REMAX Home Center Peters Township
“Worst experience experience ever…had to get my credit card company and attorney involved….horrible company….”
Tom Dixon · Real Estate Agent at Tom & Bette Dixon – Keller Williams Realty
“We have had extremely poor quality leads for over a year we were just up for remewel [sic] and the sales rep says it is all different now and based on our activity our monthly bill is going to triple, we are opting out of Realtor dot com after 10 years of using them”
Marcia Casacca ·Realtor at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
“I had the same experience that Jeff Horner had. But a little threat and I got my money back. But as agents, we all know, that we get calls constantly from vendors offering all kinds of lead services. Stay clear. Most of them are scams.”
Dennis Smith ·Realtor, CalBRE #00476662 RE/MAX BY-THE-SEA at Carlsbad Homes And Lifestyles
“Just one more reason I do not buy leads from anybody. I generate my own by Referral. Thanks Doug At Buffini”
Jason Haugen ·Realtor/Team Leader at Haugen Properties at EXP Realty, LLC
“We have had thousands of dollars stolen by Realtor.com from our real estate business account with unauthorized charges, failure to provide the number of leads promised, watered-down leads, etc. They are ruthless crooks! Agents beware! We should all be suing them! Fraud is their modus operandi. NAR should be ashamed for letting them do this to its hard-working Realtors.”
Carla Ferrante ·Works at Lyon Real Estate – El Dorado Hills
“Realtor.com lied, in writing, trying to rip me off too. I had to fight and get my credit card company involved to get out of the fees they were unlawfully charging me. Luckily I saved all of our communication. I am not at all surprised to see this. Something should be done to prevent predators like them from getting away with practices that hurt agents and hurt the reputation of quality vendors. The more companies are allowed to treat agents this poorly the less we as agents are willing to explore and trust well meaning innovators. That hurts us and it hurts the industry. Whoever is running things over there is driving the brand into the ground. It sounds like an unhappy place to work to :(“
“… I asked for a refund several times and asked to cancel my contract and they told me that the only thing that they could do is reduce it back to 6 months. I explained to them that when I signed up I was told that I would get leads in my ZIP code and it will be only me. However after months of complaining that I was Finally abke to speak to a agent that didn’t lie, she said my leads were shared. I would have never signed up for any type of shared leads….”
“It’s true they will keep trying to run your cc# after you cancel. They market share the leads with other agents in the zip code you pay for. The leads where poor as the prospect did not like 3-4 agents calling them on a property they inquired on. I tried the Connections service for awhile and cancelled after poor lead generation.”
“Online Leads should be transparent!
Thousands of real estate agents across the country, are spending thousands of dollars purchasing leads from online companies. But are those leads really worth the money they spend? Many online companies who sell those real estate leads, promising real estate agents quality leads and deliver very poor leads in return. Many online companies who sells leads to real estate agents, require long term commitment. The long-term commitment creates a situation that agents need to pay hefty amount upfront before even receiving one lead. That sounds like, the only one who gains from this business model is the company who sells those leads, as they have nothing to lose. Many agents saying, they signed up for 6 months’ commitment of seller leads with no decent results, and tried out also buyer leads with no decent results. Many agents were asking to get out from the contract, but those companies will not let them out from the contract.”
To read the entire articale: https://homeiz.com/blog/agent/18
Jim Soda ·Realtor at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty
“Doesn’t surprise me. Over zealous sales efforts by REPS, time and time again. It’s been going on since I became a Realtor 16 years ago. Amazing our listings and you have to PAY Zillow and Realtor.com to get crap leads. NAR is as much to blame. They never cared about Realtor.com until it was too late and Zillow past them by.”