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Zillow Confuses Some

Oh, Zillow. Say it ain't so. We're not here to spread any rumours, but it seems that those lovable Zestimates might be a tad off. Or so says the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in a complaint filed with the FTC. The "misleading" zestimates are causing trouble for really, really dumb consumers who rely on the web site as their sole source of information before making a home purchase. Via the Times:

In a 12-page complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission last week, a leading fair housing advocacy group says Zillow.com's "misinformation" about home values is helping predatory lenders, real estate professionals and others take advantage of unwitting consumers.

The website "is increasingly being used to convince borrowers that a property is worth a certain, inaccurate amount," said John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that works to get credit and capital flowing into traditionally underserved communities.

A post at the Zillow blog notes that the company has tried very hard to make the numbers as accurate as possible, including opening up the site's database to user input and letting home owners produce their own zestimates based on information only they would know. In the future, Zillow may be required to include a more prominent disclaimer on its site telling consumers not to be so dumb.
· Home-valuation site said to mislead consumers [LA Times]