Allegations of abuse of dominance against Magicbricks.com along with four other real estate websites, dismissed

Competition Commission of India (CCI): While observing that Magicbricks.com along with four other real estate websites is not dominant in the market of “services of real estate brokers/ agents in India”, CCI dismissed the allegations of monopolization of real estate broking business in India by the said websites. CCI was hearing an information filed by Confederation of Real Estate Brokers’ Association of India having combined membership of approximately 20,000 real estate brokers, against Magicbricks.com, Housing.com, 99acres.com, Commonfloor.com and Nobroker.in. It was alleged in the information that these online real estate listing portals have abused their dominant position by advertising ‘No Brokerage Policy’ (NBP) on their websites, mobile applications, newspapers etc. and imposed unfair and discriminatory conditions on the traditional real estate brokers who are doing real estate business on the basis of commission. It was further alleged that the websites were practicing ‘No NBP’ either through auction of properties or through the offer of ‘buy directly from owners’ on their websites and newspaper advertisements in order to eliminate competition and real estate brokers from the market. It was also averred in the information that due to conduct of said online real estate listing portals in indulging NBP or charging much less as brokerage fee compared to the traditional brokerage fee of 2% of the sale/ purchase value of a property while undertaking a real estate transaction or public auctioning of properties, traditional real estate brokers are getting eliminated from the market. After hearing both the parties and perusal of material on record, CCI observed that in India, no licence or registration is required to undertake the brokerage business in real estate sector, thus, the presence of a large number of listing sites and traditional brokers in the said relevant market pose competitive restraint on each other and hence, no specific player can act independently of the market forces and affect the consumers or other players in its favour. The Commission also perused the website ranking figures of Alexa.com submitted by the Association and noted that based on the said figures it was not possible to gauge the dominance of any of the five real estate websites in the relevant market because the ranking was limited to only the websites/ portals and does not include the off-line brokers. CCI further noted that in absence of dominance of any of the five real estate websites in the relevant market, there can be no case of contravention of the provisions of Section 4 of the Competition Act against any of the five real estate websites. [Confederation of Real Estate Brokers’ Association of India v. Magicbricks.com, [2016] CCI 19, decided on May 3, 2016]

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × 2 =