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Competition Bureau appeals MLS decision

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Guest | 14 May 2013, 12:09 AM Agree 0

"Allowing the Tribunal's finding to stand could leave a significant loophole in the application of the Competition Act," said Interim Commissioner of Competition John Pecman, in a statement announcing the Federal Court of Appeal filing. "While most trade associations comply with the Competition Act, we are concerned that, if the Tribunal's decision is left to stand, trade associations may be tempted to develop rules aimed at preventing or eliminating potential new forms of competition."
The Bureau has been seeking to force TREB to further open the MLS to outside services, such as online discount realties and sale-by-owner listings.
The Bureau argues that TREB's rules restrict how its member agents provide information to customers, such as previous listings and sale prices, thereby denying agents the ability to introduce new and innovative real estate brokerage services using the Internet. It is also concerned that the listing site unfairly ties sellers and buyers to real estate agents by blocking key informations, especially about the listing and the seller.
In the appeal, the Bureau is arguing that the Tribunal's April ruling was based on an overly narrow interpretation of the Competition Act’s "abuse of dominance" provision. The Tribunal earlier ruled that TREB, as an incorporated trade association, did not compete with its own members in the real estate brokerage market and therefore couldn’t be found to have contravened the abuse of dominance provision.
"We believe that the Competition Tribunal erred in dismissing our application and in not ruling on the facts of the case,"" added Pecman. "It is our view that TREB's anti-competitive behaviour continues to restrict potential homebuyers and sellers from taking advantage of a greater range of service and pricing options when making one of the most significant financial transactions of their lives."
TREB has argued that its restrictions on use and reproduction of MLS data are intended to protect the privacy rights of consumers and is not anti-competitive. The Tribunal awarded TREB legal costs when favoring it in its April decision.
  • Jim Nelson | 16 May 2013, 06:45 PM Agree 0
    Maybe the competition bureau should sue:

    1. The people of Canada for having one government, it will be more competitive to have multiple governments, a multination government, similar to what the First Nations have;

    2. LCBO and the Ontario government for anticompetitive practices regarding the sale of liquor;

    3. Doing away with licensing requirements for Realtors, so that everyone can sell real estate, and then doing away with doctors so that everyone can treat everyone (doctors are useless anyway; people are still getting sick) and then lawyers (they are more useless than doctors and lose half of their cases), taxi's so that everyone can drive everyone since we all have cars and it will be cheaper for the public, and then do away with having one police agency and one army (we will all carry guns and defend ourselves).

    While we are at it, we should also do away with having one Competition Bureau, multiple Competition Bureaus would be more competitive.

    What a hapless and useless agency, right up there with the House of Senate and if they fold-up tomorrow no one will miss them.
  • Larry Steier | 16 May 2013, 07:29 PM Agree 0
    Please continue to fight this government intrusion into our lives aided by those few who stand to benefit by this abuse of power.
    Rather then build their own data system, some have found they can use the competition bureau as a tool to take what they want under the guise of some form of victimhood.
    Shame on them and shame on us for allowing this theft of property under some B.S. of the greater good.
  • Kenny Michael | 17 May 2013, 01:27 AM Agree 0
    Ummm...Jim I'm not sure how you can seriously compare agents to doctors and lawyers. I don't recall anyone ever saying, "Hmmm. I think I'll be a doctor." Then six weeks later they're a doctor.
    A better comparison would be used care salesmen. That takes a little skill but it's something someone can get into relatively quick. Also, agents are just as slimy as used car salesmen. Actually no. They're slimier.
  • Robert | 17 May 2013, 03:43 AM Agree 0
    TREB leadership great job keep the filght on we earn our right to keep the information we gather this is not public information and its ours that we collected. No one should have the right to take the info and use it to abuse the market and create a disaster.
  • Owen Crampsie | 17 May 2013, 08:00 PM Agree 0
    To Kenny Michael: Your comments are ugly, insulting and unnecessary. If you read Jim Nelson's post with a clear mind you will see he did not make that comparison at all. You are just lashing out over something you need to get off your chest. You may have had a bad experience with a realtor, as we all have. But judging everyone in a group as slimy is just childish and shows a lack of intelligence, perspective and foresight. There are good and bad people in every industry, and a balanced person would know that. Shame on you
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