A couple of weeks ago, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) filed a complaint against Zillow.com, a home valuation website, charging that the valuation estimates provided on their site mislead consumers. NCRC’s president said, “Zillow is placing the American dream of homeownership at risk for countless working families”. “If the estimate is too high, home buyers may overpay… Low estimates can depress prices in entire communities if both buyers and sellers rely on the site when pricing or shopping for homes”. Of course, we have talked about the value of Zillow’s values, here and here, for instance. In our opinion, although Zestimates have very limited practical application, Zillow is no more dangerous than the carnival fortune teller. We all know it’s just a fun exercise, right? Think again.
Now, we offer the following breaking news.
STUPID PEOPLE ZUE ZILLOW
By Kris and Steve Berg, Staff Writers
SAN DIEGO – On the heels of NCRC’s complaint against Zillow.com claiming misleading and discriminatory practices related to their home valuations or Zestimates, NCRC attorneys have filed a separate class action lawZuit against Zillow on behalf of Stupid People everywhere. Also named were the makers of the Magic 8 Ball, the Ouija Board and the little paper things found in fortune cookies.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Mr. Chase Bucks, cited a need to protect the clueless segment of the population from themselves. He suggests that many people will logically assume the results returned from the completely impersonal, computer generated algorithm to be 100% accurate in establishing value for a personal, emotional purchase without bold disclaimers. Mr. Bucks pointed out that the government has required other big corporations to include responsible product warnings on their labels for years, and Zillow should have to play by the same rules. “Windex glass cleaner bottles, for instance, state ‘Keep out of reach of children and pets’. Clearly, a cleaning attempt on the part of the family hampster could only result in disaster”. Other examples (Editor’s note: All true) of corporate responsibility include: Heinz Ketchup (Instructions: Put on food); Rowenta Iron (Warning: Never iron clothes on the body); Sears Hairdryer (Warning: Do not use while sleeping); RCA Television Remote Control (Not Dishwasher Safe); Bic Lighter (Ignite away from face); and, Silly Putty (Do not use as earplugs) to name a few.
None of the plaintiffs were available for comment, as they were running with scissors, blowdrying their hair in the bathtub and microwaving metal utensils at the time.