A lawsuit trying to gain class action status is accusing Trulia’s Premier Agent advertising program of being “unfair” and “deceptive” by diverting home shoppers away from listing agents. The federal lawsuit was filed on Nov. 28 in Eastern District Court.

The lawsuit accuses Trulia, a Zillow Group subsidiary, of connecting buyers with agents who “have no actual connection to the property being advertised, other than having paid defendant to be presented prominently next to the property.” The lawsuit claims the company’s ad tool is like a broker who advertises a listing on a billboard for a home that is already held by another agent.

The lawsuit, filed by a New York attorney on behalf of a real estate pro and broker, claims that Trulia or Zillow do not require Premier Agents to get permission from the listing agent or firm to advertise alongside the listing.

Zillow, which acquired Trulia in 2015, denied any wrongdoing. “Our site arms consumers with information that helps them make decisions when finding their next home, and that includes convenient and fast tools to connect with real estate professionals,” Viet Shelton, a company spokesman, told The Real Deal in response to the lawsuit.

Premier Agent has been among the Zillow Group’s most profitable products. In the third quarter, it generated $240.7 million, which is 3% higher than a year ago.

The suit seeks $5 million in damages.

Source: “Trulia Hit With Lawsuit Over Premier Agent,” The Real Deal (12/2/19)