Another day, another commission case, this time in South Carolina. On Monday, plaintiff Shawntel Barton filed a federal antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina. National Association of Realtors (NAR) and keller williams They conspired to artificially inflate broker commission rates and increase costs for home sellers.
Compared to other lawsuits filed in recent weeks. Merlecompared to Nosarek v. Sitzer/Barnett, the Barton case is relatively small because Keller Williams is the only corporate intermediary named in the suit and Barton is the only plaintiff.
As with other Commission cases, the 107-page complaint identifies NAR’s clear cooperation policy as the root of the alleged conspiracy. The policy requires agents to make lump-sum compensation offers to buyers’ brokers in order to list properties on the MLS.
“The effect of these rules is not simply that sellers must pay buyer brokers’ fees,” the complaint states. “These rules effectively remove the compensation structure from the buyer and seller perspective and obscure who pays the buyer broker’s compensation.
“In fact, a buyer broker may not even be able to make an offer to the seller contingent on the seller reducing the buyer broker commission.”
Like other plaintiffs, Mr. Barton is seeking class action status against all home sellers in South Carolina who have sold homes on the NAR-affiliated MLS with Keller Williams representatives since November 2019. There is.
Burton sold her home in September 2023 with the help of local Keller Williams agents in Spartanburg, South Carolina. According to the complaint, Burton paid a 2.5% commission to his buyer’s broker and a 3.5% commission to the listing broker.
The complaint asks for a jury trial, unspecified damages at this time, and for NAR to end its clear cooperation policy.
“Collaborative compensation practices enable efficient, transparent and accessible markets,” Mantil Williams, NAR’s vice president of communications, said in an email. “Sellers can sell their homes for more, get more buyers to see their homes, and buyers have more home options and can afford to have an agent. The National Association of REALTORS® is considering this new application and will respond in court.”
Keller Williams did not want to comment on the new filing, and the plaintiffs’ attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.