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Internet Business Cheats Home Owners And Real Estate Dealers, State Says

SEATTLE (CN) - So many ways to make money from real estate, so many of them illegal. The State of Washington claims Housevalues Inc. dba and cheats consumers whom they offer a "free home valuation report" that the defendants never provide, and cheat the real estate agents to whom the defendants sell the consumers' information.

The State claims the defendants, of Kirkland, Wash., offer homeowners a "free home valuation report" but never provide it, instead selling the information they have gleaned from the unsuspecting suckers to real estate agents who subscribe to the defendant's service.

The real estate agents complain that the defendants fail to generate leads, as promised, and that the defendants impose an "early termination penalty" when agents try to cancel during their so-called "trial" term of service.

HouseValues charged one real estate agent $369 per month for three purported leads in Kirkland; charged the same agent $279 per month for three purported leads in Woodinville; plus $195 to set up the service. But HouseValues "(sells) leads to subscribers that plainly are not valid leads," the state says. It demands an injunction and fines for misrepresentation and deceptive trade.

See the complaintin King County Court.

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