Can online lead generation be done compliantly under Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act? The answer is yes, but it is important to navigate the impermissible activities recently identified by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. On February 7, 2023, the CFPB issued long-awaited guidance in an advisory opinion addressing how it interprets RESPA and its implementing regulation, Regulation X, in the context of digital marketing and lead generation platforms for real estate settlement services. These comparison platforms allow consumers to search for and compare options for settlement services. If consumers input contact information as part of their search, the platform operator may share or sell this information to settlement service providers. This guidance, the first issued by the CFPB on online lead generation, highlights several key compliance considerations for participants engaging in digital marketing of settlement services.

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