Says “CREA’s leadership was unwilling to agree to changes that would have opened up competition”

The Canadian Real Estate Association has responded to news that the Competition Bureau filed a legal challenge to strike down some of CREA’s rules relating to the MLS System in Canada, after talks aimed at a negotiated settlement failed.

“CREA views the Commissioner’s decision as surprising and disappointing,” said Dale Ripplinger, CREA president, in a news release. “We do not agree with the Bureau’s position that certain CREA rules are anti-competitive, either as a matter of fact or as a matter of law. CREA’s rules allow for innovative business models and provide a broad range of choice for consumers.”

In a release issued Monday morning, the Competition Bureau said, “While the Bureau would have preferred to resolve this matter amicably, CREA’s leadership was unwilling to agree to changes that would have opened up competition, and offered options for consumers and real estate agents.” It says CREA’s rules “restrict the ability of consumers to choose the real estate services they want, forcing them to pay for services they do not need. The rules also prevent real estate agents from offering more innovative service and pricing options to consumers. The Commissioner’s application to the Competition Tribunal seeks to strike down these anti-competitive rules.”

But CREA responds in its news release: “The Commissioner’s press release states that CREA’s rules restrict consumer choice and prevent innovative business models. That is simply false. CREA is disappointed that the Bureau would make this statement in view of the months of discussions about CREA’s rules and CREA’s consistent position that its rules are not intended to and do not restrict any business models.

“Unfortunately, the parties were unable to reach an agreement,” says the CREA release. “This is very disappointing, since CREA has consistently indicated – right from the outset – that it has always been prepared to work with the Competition Bureau to revise its rules to clarify the way the rules operate.

“Last week, CREA advised the Commissioner of Competition that CREA had made the business decision to move forward with rule changes to address the issues raised by the Bureau, whether or not a settlement with the Bureau could be reached,” says CREA.

“In making these clarifications on a proactive basis, CREA believes that it is fully addressing the Competition Bureau’s concerns, while ensuring the accuracy and quality of MLS information that Canadians have come to trust and Realtor compliance with a code of ethics,” says Ripplinger.

To view the full Competition Bureau release, click here.


Posted: 2010-02-08 11:28:04

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