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Who's fault is it?


SteveSarasota
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Hello,

I was inspecting this house this afternoon and while inspecting the pool pump, I saw an outlet, adjacent to a switch they use to turn the pump on/off. I inserted my Ideal 61-058 ($170) and it blew up. Of course the seller, who had been standing right net to me asked me "What did you doooo?". She had seen me walking around the complete house, inserting my tester in every outlet without problems.

I went back to my tool bag and grabbed my sticks and idiot lights 240v tester and found they had wired 240v to 120v receptacles.

I got upset and mentioned that the tester had cost me $150 or so. And she volunteered to cut me a check for that amount.

The idiot realtor called me an hour later implying that I had taken advantage of an old lady with no knowledge of liability and he said that for me, it is the cost of doing business that I lost $150 tester. I disagreed with him and he said that he would not refer any more business to us. That's when my boss stepped in and said he'd cover the cost of the tester for me. I don't want to bash realtors. We all know how ethic they are.

Who's responsible for the tester? What do you think?

Thank you for your time,

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The owner likely had no knowledge that someone had wired that receptacle with with 240 volts. It's the cost of doing business. Your boss should have insurance covering the loss of your equipment.

Now, if you could prove that the "little old lady" had known that the receptacle was wired wrong and neglected to label it properly, you might have a case to take her to small claims court and recover the cost of your receptacle, but the damage it will do to your reputation is worth a whole lot more than that. Just suck it up.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Well I don't know what the old farts will say but I would consider it an accident and a cost of doing business.

I know if the shoe was on the other foot and I caused damage to the sellers property I would offer to pay to correct it.

I would not ask the seller to reimburse me unless it was something like gross negligence for example he kicks the ladder out from under me after I tell him the roof he just installed is a POS installation and needs to be replaced.[;)]

Chris, Oregon

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The person who's responsible is the idiot who did the wiring; good luck finding him. The little old lady couldn't have known. I wouldn't be happy about it, but I'd just eat it (no boss to catch it for me on insurance).

Brian G.

Pass the Ketchup & the Crying Towel [:-weepn]

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. . . I inserted my Ideal 61-058 ($170) and it blew up.

What a piece of junk. I find a couple of receptacle outlets that are wired with 240v every year. You'd think that Ideal would produce a tool that wouldn't self-destruct so easily. My ancient 61-152 doesn't blow up when that happens. Hell, neither does my $7 GB 3-light tester. I'd complain loudly to Ideal.

Of course the seller, who had been standing right net to me asked me "What did you doooo?". She had seen me walking around the complete house, inserting my tester in every outlet without problems.

I went back to my tool bag and grabbed my sticks and idiot lights 240v tester and found they had wired 240v to 120v receptacles.

I got upset and mentioned that the tester had cost me $150 or so. And she volunteered to cut me a check for that amount.

She was a nice lady, but it wasn't her fault. It was the fault of her son-in-law or whatever dolt wired the receptacles.

The idiot realtor called me an hour later implying that I had taken advantage of an old lady with no knowledge of liability and he said that for me, it is the cost of doing business that I lost $150 tester. I disagreed with him and he said that he would not refer any more business to us. That's when my boss stepped in and said he'd cover the cost of the tester for me. I don't want to bash realtors. We all know how ethic they are.

In this case, I agree with the realtor. He was right to protect the interests of the seller in this particular case.

Who's responsible for the tester? What do you think?

1. You're partly responsible. You're an inspector with tools that sometimes break. Replacing broken tools is part of the cost of business.

2. The idiot who wired the receptacles is partly responsible.

3. Ideal is partly responsible. A tool like that should be able to survive a miswired receptacle. The very reason for its existance is to analyze miswired receptacles.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Give her money back. Tell her you were just caught up in the moment and all you truly care about is her satisfaction. $150 is a cheap price for good will.

I imagine she'd be suing you if a piece of the tester went into her eye.

Don't buy electronics without looking at the specs. I knew that my Ideal was designed to handle 85V - 265V. I've had no problems with it, but I have to pay attention not to hold it by its (detachable) cord.

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Tools are consumables. Even big ones have depreciation schedules. Their imminent demise is always bittersweet; the death spawns opportunity for newer shinier possesions.

Clearly, you were destined to upgrade. Embrace the moment and start shopping online. My God I'm jealous, my Suretest still works awesome.

Give the nice lady her money back.id="Lucida Console">

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Send me the money and I will forward it to her - later!

It is the cost of doing business. We, sometimes, get caught up in the moment. The agent responded exactly like I would have, and I ain't no fan of agents!

It is worth it to tell the story!

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Gentlemen,

I ripped the check shortly after I got it, when the realtor called to bitch, my boss said he'd cover the cost of the tester and we ripped the check.

So now I am in the market for a new tester. I've been considering several different options, including the venerable Wiggy.

I've never worked with a Wiggy and I'm not sure what tests can it perform. Reversed polarity? Missing ground? Missing neutral? Trip a GFCI? Trip an AFCI?

I'm leaning towards some of the AFCI/GFCI digital display Ideals that are approximately $350. I don't like the fact that they don't have idiot lights that are visible from across the room as when testing switched receptacles.

Any opinions?

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Originally posted by SteveSarasota

. . . So now I am in the market for a new tester. I've been considering several different options, including the venerable Wiggy.

I've never worked with a Wiggy and I'm not sure what tests can it perform. Reversed polarity? Missing ground? Missing neutral? Trip a GFCI? Trip an AFCI?

A wiggy is just a heavy, bulky, imprecise voltage tester. For instance, you can use one to determine whether the voltage is vaguely closer to 120 or 240, but you can't differentiate between 208 & 240 very easily or reliably. By testing the receptacle in various combinations, you can find reversed polarity, missing grounds, missing neutrals and you can trip GFCIs with one. (Not sure about AFCIs, I haven't used a wiggy in the last 20 years.) The problem is that the tool is so imprecise that it may or may not be telling you the truth in each of these tests. It's, quite literally, a piece of 100-year-old technology.

I find that a $3 detecto-lite (two lead, single neon tester) can do almost as much as the Wiggy at a fraction of the size, weight & cost.

Wiggys were made obsolete with the invention of the multimeter.

I'm leaning towards some of the AFCI/GFCI digital display Ideals that are approximately $350. I don't like the fact that they don't have idiot lights that are visible from across the room as when testing switched receptacles.

Any opinions?

Ever since Ideal screwed up the Suretest, I don't trust them. Last I heard, their AFCI "testers" were unreliable as well. Read this before you plunk down money for one:

http://magazine.iaei.org/magazine/05_c/pauley.htm

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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