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City calls out StreetEasy for causing consumer confusion on listing pages

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The Department of Consumer Affairs urged the site to be more transparent about its “contact agent” box

Popular real estate listing site StreetEasy has found itself caught up in some more drama and this time it’s with the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs.

According to The Real Deal, StreetEasy has been accused of misleading buyers who are looking for more information about a listing with their “Contact Agent” box. Most people assume that they are being connected to the exclusive listing agent but instead they are being connected with a buy-side agent.

Department of Consumer Affairs general counsel Daniel Tiger penned a letter to StreetEasy’s parent company, Zillow Group, urging the site to include explicit language on listing pages that lets consumers know they may not be contacted by the listing agent but a buy-side agent instead to avoid consumer confusion.

In a statement to TRD, StreetEasy general manager Susan Daimler stated that the “Contact Agent” box has been found to be “very well-understood” through extensive testing. “ [I]n fact, a large percentage of buyers proactively choose to contact the listing agent,” she stated.

The request for StreetEasy came from state Senator Jeff Klein and the Real Estate Board of New York said that the site’s rollout of its “premier agent” feature has caused a “maelstrom of consumer confusion” that makes the already difficult task of finding a home in New York City even more arduous.