For those of you unfamiliar with Zillow, Zillow describes itself as an online “home and real estate marketplace.” In addition to other information about the properties listed on its site, Zillow.com includes an estimate of each property’s value, which they call a “Zestimate.” (I know you want to look up your home’s Zestimate. Go head - I’ll wait.)
The plaintiffs in Vipul P. Patel et al. v. Zillow, Inc. and Zillow Group, Inc., on behalf of themselves and a putative class of other homeowners who believe that Zillow’s “Zestimates” undervalue their homes, allege that Zillow’s Zestimates are false, cause confusion in the marketplace, and constitute unfair competition in violation of the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“IDTPA”) and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (“ICFA”).
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois disagreed, however, and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims with prejudice. The Court enumerated a number of reasons for its decision: Zestimates are nonactionable opinions of value and are not facts; Zestimates do not cause confusion between Zillow and another product or services, which is the type of confusion that the relevant statute covers; the plaintiffs’ allegations fail to show that Zillow’s conduct caused any injury to plaintiffs because Zillow’s conduct did not deceive the plaintiffs; and, to the extent plaintiffs allege that future buyers are being misled, the plaintiffs failed “to present sufficient facts to plausibly suggest that Zestimates will cause consumers not to buy plaintiffs’ properties and that plaintiffs will not be able to sell their homes at their true market value.”