Profile picture for Bob Monogram

Has anyone had success in bringing a class action lawsuit against Zillow.

The zestimate on my home is at least $90,000 below what ot should be based on the value of my neighbors' homes (same square footage and comparable quality) and the real estate taxes. I have contacted them about this but they have not changed the price.
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June 22 2012 - Shakopee
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Answers (21)

Profile picture for wetdawgs
@zuser201.....

Zillow does not "assign" agents to properties. Zillow is not a real estate company, but a media company with much advertising.    All agents shown near property listings pay to advertise on Zillow.  Within a zipcode, they appear randomly with properties (probably in proportion with how much they pay as a Premier agent)    The buyer always has a choice of agents.

Please have your attorney read Zillow's terms of use.

Home purchases are the biggest purchase many of us make in our lives.   We owe ourselves the time to study and perform due diligence to be happy with the process and the decision.  We have to take personal responsibility for doing so.







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June 22
Profile picture for zuser20140528112401877
I replied to a post on a home on Zillow for what I thought was the selling realtor and was dealt a bad hand with a realtor who was assigned our listing questions. He insisted that we sign an agreement in order to show us homes listed. As a new buyer I had no clue that we had an option to who we can use for showing and at this point was in a hurry to find a home in the area. We are now faced with a horrible experience and unable to get out of the contract. I would rally against anyone Zillow has to say to use and in the middle of pursuing a major lawsuit against this issue. Just to say, be very careful on who you use and the contracts you sign.....
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June 22
Profile picture for Ingrid17
[deleted by Zillow moderator. please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
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May 19
Profile picture for Pasadenan
I personally like the "research blogs":
http://www.zillow.com/blog/research

And Realtors and other Real Estate Agents can pay for "priority support":
http://www.zillow.com/advertising/agent-advertising/

And for agents, there is also the Zillow Academy:
http://www.zillow.com/academy/UpcomingWebinars.htm
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March 26
Profile picture for Pasadenan
I can assure you that I'm not immune from the actions of Zillow moderators.  1,394 of my posts have been deleted in their entirety by the moderators.

In addition, approximately 1400 more of my posts have had Zillow moderator editing or selected word/phrase deletion.  (I could have the machine count, but I really don't care the actual number, so I'm not going to bother).

There also has been a deletion of at least 725 images I posted to the site.

They also have banned me from the site at least twice, and have given me warnings 3 other times.

As for getting real answers from real Zillow employees, there is the "customer service email form":
http://www.zillow.com/myzillow/EmailCustomerService.htm

Or one can read the Zillow blogs (not the "public forum"...):
http://www.zillow.com/blog/

Or the "help files":
http://www.zillow.com/help/

Or the "frequently asked questions":
http://www.zillow.com/advice/United-States%253B%253B%253B%253B%253B%253B%253B%253B/zillow-questions-zillow-faqs/question-discussion-guide/

Or the "press releases":
http://zillow.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=159

Or the "investor" SEC filings:
http://investors.zillow.com/sec.cfm
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March 26
Profile picture for tellmesomething
[Personal attack removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines.] 

Most companies have Moderators to maintain some form of order on Forums they operate that would ban a prolific poster like Pasadenan for being so offensive to posters with real questions that require real answers from real Zillow people. Seems that Zillow employees only respond to trivial issues and rely on 'lets pretend employees' to see off anyone asking real questions.

I just re-read my first post on this Forum and I actually asked the same question as user 0079735 "How can Zillow allow posters to make such offensive comments to someone questioning the validity of Zestimates? Is Pasadean actually a Zillow employee? I cannot think of any other reason why such nasty comments are allowed on a Forum like this. It sure puts me off raising my concerns that's for sure."
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March 26
Profile picture for Pasadenan
No, never a Zillow employee nor representative, and never paid anything by Zillow, and never owned any part of the company, nor any of its stock.

I come here for data, and I'm extremely skilled at looking things up, and read a lot, and have a memory for details.

I also happen to be very good at finding "loop-holes".

  • NO, I am NOT a Zillow EMPLOYEE!  I DO NOT represent Zillow in any way.  I'm only a home owner that comes to get data!
  • All Zillow employees have "green" ZILLOW tags next to their user name on their contributions.

  • Why resurrect a thread almost 2 years old to ask that?  Why not start your own?
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March 25
Profile picture for user0079735
Pasadenan, you sounds like a zillow representative. If you are, please do not disguise. Dialogue with zillow staff is actually appreciate here.
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March 25
Profile picture for Pasadenan
There are no county records on that home details page, which accounts for the discrepancy.  As the neighboring homes on Zillow have the county records, it is not clear why that one doesn't.  Perhaps more than one unit on a lot, and used as "rental"?  Zillow only asks the 3rd party data provider companies  to provide info on ownership housing units.
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December 11 2013
Profile picture for sunnyview
"My home zestimate in zillow is $400,000.00 less than the  real estate taxes we pay"

Tax values are not a good way to gauge value since local assessors' goals are to keep a stable tax base not to be highly accurate. If you want to know the value of your house, you can ask a local agent to do a CMA, you can pay for an appraisal or you can look at recent sales in your area.

Zillow is not an appraisal or a market value site. They only provide a rough guess and they sometimes get it pretty wrong depending on the quality of the records/sales. Some areas are better than others.
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December 10 2013
Profile picture for user8240184
My home zestimate in zillow is $400,000.00 less than the  real estate taxes we pay, also zillow has a zestimate on our home but the homes around us do not have a zestimate. We also had a home comparison analysis completed this past summer which is $479,000.00 the zestimate is $186,000.00. I will be aggressive for zillow from here on out until it is corrected. It might not change anything going forward however I will be on a first name basis with their sales dept along with leaving many phone call messages to some of their employees. This is my home address to verify their false zestimate, 108 Myrtle Court, Littleton NC. 27850
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December 10 2013
Profile picture for fb1461270833
[Promotion and hotlnk removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy.]
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February 25 2013
Profile picture for speedracer1996

Thank you for your thoughtful response non-zillow employee Pasadenan.  This issue seems to come up fairly regularly for being such a non-issue.  Heaven forbid someone fixes the problem.  But you don't work for zillow, you just reside on their server.  Good luck with that.  So if not an employee, do you have a vested interest in the website?  Or are you just a really bored homeowner, like you have stated in the past.  Just curious, feels a little like crowd control to me...  Making advertising dollars on disseminating information is just fine, just make the information more accurate and the complaints would be without merit.  Simply stating a complaint is without merit to quell an issue is only effective when addressing someone who is ignorant to the issues.  Making money by disseminating bad data (while requiring a user to take further action to locate the disclaimer) is infuriating to those that are harmed by this data.  I did not ask you to post a value of my home, but you are doing it anyway.  I ask you to stop, you say no. I am not alone in my complaints; therefore the only way to fix the issue (as it is not being address by the source of the bad data) is to take the inconvenient course of legal action.  Is it seriously that hard to fix an algorithm which is admittedly flawed, or make the disclaimer readily apparent?  Zillows disclaimer policy is akin to the surgeon generals warning on cigarettes being inside the pack under the foil.  "See, See we are not liable because we hid a disclaimer in there somewhere, now let me just figure out where I put that thing."  Ridiculous.

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July 28 2012
Profile picture for Pasadenan
It would be "pointless" to "opt out" as there are hundreds of other sources for statistical estimates that don't have any tighter tolerance range.

Just a few to start with:
Realestate.com/homepricecheck

homes.com

Homesand.net

Eppraisal

realquest.com express

cyberhomes.com

trulia

chase

homegain

And of course, there are hundreds of ways to opt out of automated machine values too!   Here are just a few for starters:

1) Don't own any home in the United States

2) Give your home away, so that it is no longer yours.

3) Hire a house mover, and move your home, possibly across the national border

4) Petition the City to change the zoning of your property from residential to commercial.   Stop living there, and make it a business.

5) Burn your house down.  Zillow doesn't estimate empty lots.

6) Hire someone to assassinate you, then it would no longer be your house.

7) Establish a 501C3 for a "Church", and change the property from "residential" to "worship assembly".

8) Change the zoning to multi-family residential, and then build lots of units on your lot and rent them out.  Zillow only estimates "ownership units", unless it is a rental advertised for rent.

9) Donate your property to the State as an historic landmark or park.

10) Move to one of the few States that Zillow doesn't have access to sufficient data to provide estimates.
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July 27 2012
Profile picture for speedracer1996
Zillow should allow home owners to opt out of Zillow displaying a "Zestimate".  If this is already part of the system, then please, do tell.
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July 27 2012
Profile picture for Bob Monogram
While Zillow's fine print excuses any inaccuracies in a Z-estimate, the company's emails trumpet a much bigger claim: "Find out what your home is worth." There is no equivocation in that bold statement. It doesn't say "might be worth." Since the bogus valuation is posted for view by both the homeowner and by any potential buyer, the Zestimate becomes a bargaining point for the buyer. It undercuts the seller's position because it sounds as if Zillow is speaking with the voice of authority backed by reams of research whereas the best a buyer might muster is the opinion of one local appraiser or realtor. Realtors no doubt have a better feel than Zillow for their local market but they are human and subject to the two-fold pressure of wanting to close a sale fast and the drum beat of publicity from Zillow. A case in point: a very reputable, ethical and successful realtor just sold a home in our neighborhood for 20% more than he thought it was worth. The homeowner didn't agree with the agent's opinion and stuck by the higher price. The home sold in less than six months for far more than Zillow and the agent had predicted.
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July 21 2012
Profile picture for wetdawgs
If one wishes to sue for estimates of home value that aren't exactly what a buyer would pay, I'd suggest targeting appraisers, agents who provide CMAs, realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and about two dozen or more AVM sites (some are paid subscriptions and some aren't).

It is interesting that users don't wish to be responsible for reading the fine print (About Zestimates and Terms of Use) on a website that has the word "estimate" at the core of one of its features.    Zillow puts these in a pretty standard location for websites.    All websites have fine print that can be surprising.

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July 20 2012
Profile picture for speedracer1996
Excuses for providing a flawed estimate are no defense against perceived financial damages.  In civil suits, it is the entity being sued which needs do prove they did not materially damage the plaintiff class.  Its hard to argue when a website provides an home value estimate with a "z" added in front, that the "z" nullifies the inaccurate information provided.  Provide inaccurate information, sure fine, just make the DISCLAIMER STAND OUT!  Do not simply say a pop up from a pointer hover or a hidden admission of inaccuracy is sufficient enough to say, "my estimate of the value of the biggest purchase from your entire life is completely without merit and should be ignored."  Otherwise, you (Zillow) are liable for material damages.  Don't kid yourself, the hate is building.
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July 20 2012
Profile picture for Pasadenan
They are a "media company" that provides "classified advertisement" space, no different then your local newspaper, that also publishes weather possibilities and horoscopes and betting odds for horses and sports games!

Who ever heard of a newspaper needing to get a Medical Doctor's license?  Besides, you only need a high school diploma and about 140 hours additional "training" to take the exceptionally easy Real Estate exam to get a license, and there is absolutely no requirement anywhere for a Real Estate agent to be "honest" even in the National Association of Realtor's "code of ethics", so their comparison of their "license" to Doctor's and Lawyer's licenses is completely "bogus".

If a potential buyer is stupid enough to try to "low ball" an offer that will go straight in the trash without consideration based on a machine generated "estimate", that is the potential buyer's own problem.  And if a potential buyer offers 3 times as much as the property could possibly appraise for based on a machine generated estimate and it falls through escrow due to an appraisal contingency, that is also only the potential buyer's problem.

And if a seller is willing to accept only 1/4 of the present market value for their home because of a machine generated "estimate", that is the seller's own folly.  There is nothing new about coming up with "excuses" for why one won't accept an offer, or why one won't offer a reasonable amount.  That has been occurring for thousands of years.  Having over 1000 different sources of machine generated estimates doesn't change that one bit.  Besides, any Realtor® will always give you a CMA to come up with any random meaningless number you ask for.  And there is no liability of any kind if that number is over 100% different than what an appraiser might appraise it for.

Zillow's estimates are primarily dependent on what the property was last purchased for.  If you didn't pay enough for it, that is entirely your own fault.
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June 22 2012
Profile picture for user744151
I understand exactly how you feel. If you check out 9727 SW 53rd Terr in Ocala, Fl 34476 (my home) is Zillow estimates at around 188K. It has 3800+ sq ft, 6 bedrooms, 41/2 baths 3 car garage and a higher valued model than the one on the other side of the street. The other home only has 5 smaller bedrooms, fewer baths, a 2 car garage but Zillow values it around
198k, Worse, a couple of blocks away (same development) some 4 bedroom homes around 2800- 3200 sq ft and one level, not two as the above mentioned homes, list by Zillow over 220k. When I complained, Zillow sent me "comps" of homes which I know to be bungalows (1 or 2 bedroom 1500 or less old junk). So if you feel bad, I do understand and frankly "free or not", Zillow is used by the public in a way no different than any other real estate entity. Yes, they should be held accountable. We do not permit practicing medicine without a license, so as far as I am concerned they need to be licensed and monitored as well. 
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June 22 2012
Profile picture for Pasadenan
It is not a "price", it is an "estimate".

See the FAQ:
what is a Zestimate

No, no-one has ever been successful with a class action lawsuit against a party that provides FREE estimates with a stated tolerance range of about +/-20% that claims they are for "personal use only" and are only a "starting point" for approximate value.  Nor will they be, even if they spend $30 million of their own personal money to try to do so.

And just in case you really want to sue, please make sure you read paragraph #15 of the "Terms of Use" that you agreed to every time you looked at any web-page on this website.

Zillow doesn't offer "prices" nor "appraisals" nor is their website set up to allow any manual changes of the automated estimates.  But if you want to post your own estimate, Zillow provides a space for you to do that on the home details page after you "claimed" the property.  Nobody is going to check your estimate, and nobody cares what you think it is worth.  Nor do they care what Zillow's automated machines think it is "might" be worth.  But they might care a bit more about the "70% confidence interval" posted.

You are also allowed to post absolutely any "price" you want that will show up on the map, even 38 trillion dollars.
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June 22 2012
 
Related Questions
Has anyone had success in bringing a class action lawsuit against Zillow.
Profile picture for wetdawgs
Latest answer by wetdawgs
June 22 | 21 answers
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