Action 9 investigates popular real estate website



ORLANDO,Fla. - An Orlando man claims Zillow had the wrong information about his property and could have done serious damage.

Zillow is an influential real estate site that tells others what your house could be worth.

Matt Hoenstine said he was shocked when Zillow showed he no longer owned a MetroWest townhouse.

"I see it says it was foreclosed since 2010 and I'm getting this bombshell thrown at me," said Hoenstine.

According to Hoenstine, his renters spotted the foreclosure notice and wondered why they were still making payments to him. Matt said he worried others made judgments based on Zillow's misinformation.

"I was just blown away," said Hoenstine.

He said he then discovered that correcting the website and erasing a foreclosure that never happened would take a real battle.

Three days after contacting Zillow, Hoenstine said it still listed the home as foreclosed in 2010.

"I've tried to contact various people in the organization and basically I'm hitting a stone wall now," said Hoenstine.

Action 9 contacted the Better Business Bureau in Seattle, where Zillow is based. The BBB gives it an F rating because of many complaints like Matthew's. Consumers claim wrong information about values, square footage and even foreclosures.

"These are real economic damages that an owner will suffer," said real estate attorney Karen Wonsetler.

Wonsetler said Zillow has a legal obligation to make corrections immediately.

"If you come forward and say, 'I'm the property owner and your information is wrong about me,' that should be enough," said Wonsetler.

Zillow said Hoenstine's site was corrected within days and its customer service staff handles everyone's concerns right away. It could not explain how it happened.

"It's terrifying me because I don't know how many people had seen this," said Hoenstine.

Zillow told Action 9 its information is based on public records, but that doesn't explain the mistake in Hoenstine's case.

If you encounter a problem like Hoenstine's, you should challenge errors by email and certified mail. You could then make a legal challenge if there's no correction, according to Action 9's Todd Ulrich.