Saturday, December 02, 2006

Complacent Bureaucracy In Washington State!

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Dear real estate consumers of Washington State:

We cannot depend on state agencies to do their job of protecting our freedom of choice. Our state Attorney General’s office is under the impression that some "exclusive dealing" agreements have pro-competitive benefits.

I fervently disagree.

It was disturbing to read the following statement from Jonathan A. Mark, an Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the Attorney General Of Washington State.

"While exclusive dealing can, under a particular set of circumstances, give rise to antitrust concerns, it is not presumptively illegal to enter into exclusive dealing contracts. In fact, antitrust law recognizes that, in many circumstances, exclusive dealing contracts can have significant procompetitive benefits. Consequently, exclusive dealings
are not disfavored under the law and generally constitute an antitrust violation only when it lessens or substantially forecloses competition in a particular market."

The truth of the matter is that lists:

1. Thirty-three businesses under "Dining"

2. Twelve businesses under "Hotels"

3. Eight businesses under "Attractions"

4. Thirteen Seattle travel guides under "Visiting"

5. Fifty-two businesses under "Nightlife"

Yet under their "real estate" category they exclusively refer all inquiries to only ONE company for an entire region.

This does not make any sense. I know that there are several other exclusive buyer agencies, aside from our own, that operate in the Puget Sound region of Western Washington. Below are some of them:

Amiad & Associates, Exclusive Buyers Agency - Vashon Island

The Buyer's Agent, Dream Drafters Realty - Seattle, Bellevue, Everett

Abbey Realty Exclusive Buyer Representative - Ft. Lewis area

Buyer's Data Realty - Exclusive Buyer Brokerage - Whidbey and Camano Islands

These companies only work with buyers.

This was my response to Mr. Mark's disturbing statement:

"Dear Jonathan A. Mark,

Your lack of concern is disturbing. Misconstruing the term "exclusive dealings" does not absolve your responsibilty of protecting consumer choice and preserving free competitive enterprise for all businesses.

You have failed Washington State consumers and the small businesses who have a right to a free and competitive marketplace. Your complacency is a disservice to the people you are charged with serving.

I have full faith that consumers would disagree with your office that exclusive dealings has any procompetitive benefits to them, as it diminishes their Right to freedom of choice. We shall let the people decide for themselves."

Final Note:

Please know, that despite bureaucratic complacency, you CAN protect your Freedom of Choice and neutralize biased referral sources by doing your own research, developing your own hiring process, and setting up interviews with a few good companies on your own. Only then will your freedom of choice be preserved, and the power taken away from those who do not respect it.

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