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I think I learned a lesson here but I'm not quite sure what yet. Maybe you can help me realize.

I took on an inspection job that I probably should not have. It was for a rental agency. They have a tenant who was unhappy and wanted out of their lease. This tenant had hired a home inspector to inspect the property. He then submitted a list of things that needed to be fixed. Yadda yadda...bla bla blaa...

The rental agency calls to hire me. I tell them I'll inspect the place that same way I do every other place, thoroughly with a detailed report. I do the inspection. The place has lots wrong with it and I report it all. The agency calls me after receiving the report and questions various things. I stand my ground and explain.

I think they wanted my inspection to counter the other inspector. However, mine wasn't going to help them in that end.

Without getting into the details, I offer to refund their money since they were obviously unsatisfied. The call ended shortly thereafter. A few minutes later I get an email saying that they were going to stop payment on the check. The thing is, I think the check already cleared.

I wrote them an email back. I told them if they are unsuccessful in the stop payment attempt to contact me so that we could handle the matter in another way.

I knew I shouldn't have taken that job. I'm not sure what is going to happen next. I guess I'll just wait and see.

You guys got any advice on the issue?

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I agree, you did your job and should be paid for it. If they stop the check. Have them arrested.

I went through an inspection for a tenant who was trying to get out of her lease. There was tons wrong with the place, but she was a slob too and should have maintained certain areas. All said and done. She's still there. Finally stopped emailing me.

They didn't believe the tenants home inspector. Now they do. Now they lose in court for sure.

Good job. Keep the faith.

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Way to go on the check clearing! [:-thumbu]

They're dirtbags, not you. You did exactly what they asked. You got paid to do it. Now they want to take it back because you're not they're b**ch. They're probably slumlord types; most are.

I'd go in a talk it over with the owner/mgr. of the agency to politely explain to them face to face.

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It was a knee jerk reaction on my part to offer a refund during the initial call back. I'll chalk that up to the learning experience and honor my word.

I made one minor assumption about a possible source of a problem. The assumption is most likely true anyway, but still an assumption. That assumption did not change the fact that the problem exists. I exposed it and called for it to be fixed so the end result is the same.

I made an offer to refund too soon. My bad, but I'll honor it.

Next time, I'll end the call with a promise to follow up before making any offers. That will give me the time I need to think a bit before I react.

I don't know, maybe I should keep my money. I just don't like the idea of backing out on my word.

I do need to put together a release statement for them to sign. Can any of you email or PM me with any good wording suggestions for that?

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Hi,

You can point out to the dickhead that writing an untrue report for him that favors his position puts you at odds with Maryland law. Your home inspectors law is still not in effect but inspectors there have been governed by a trade practices act since 1992. It requires home inspectors to conduct home inspections in accordance with the standards of practice set forth by a professional home inspection trade association such as ASHI or the National Association of Home Inspectors.

The ASHI and NAHI codes of ethics are an integral part of their SOPs.

ASHI COE

2. Inspectors shall act in good faith toward each client and other interested parties.

A. Inspectors shall perform services and express opinions based on genuine conviction and only within their areas of education, training, or experience.

B. Inspectors shall be objective in their reporting and not knowingly understate or overstate the significance of reported conditions.

NAHI COE

CODE OF ETHICS #8

The inspector will not conduct a home inspection or prepare a home inspection report for which the inspector’s fee is contingent upon the conclusions in the report.

If there is a government entity that regulates laws for rentals in Maryland, I'll bet a case of O'Doull's they'd like to know about someone who expected you to lie for your fee in order to screw over a tenant.

I wouldn't give him back his money; I'd say, you know what, at the time you were talking to me on the phone I was feeling unreasonably pressured and I shouldn't have kow towed to you. After I got off the phone and thought about it, it occurred to me that what you wanted me to do is unethical. You agreed to my fee under my conditions. You paid me. I did what I was hired to do and I got paid for it, but now you are unhappy because the results don't favor you. Tough; that's life, get over it. If you want your fee back, sue me in small claims court and I'll be very happy to let everyone in town know in court exactly how you tried to fix the results of my inspection. In fact, I think I'll call the local weekly about it right now and see if someone over there would like to hear about this."

It wouldn't be an empty threat; I'd call immediately - I'd never let a friggin slumlord walk all over me.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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It was a knee jerk reaction on my part to offer a refund during the initial call back. I'll chalk that up to the learning experience and honor my word.

I made an offer to refund too soon. My bad, but I'll honor it.

Next time, I'll end the call with a promise to follow up before making any offers. That will give me the time I need to think a bit before I react.

I don't know, maybe I should keep my money. I just don't like the idea of backing out on my word.

Good call John, your word is worth more than money.

Don't send a check too soon though since the bank may charge back a check that fails to clear weeks after the fact.

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Don't be so quick to give up your money. If your report was an honest assessment then there is nothing to back down from.

Upon rare occasions you will run into folks that will try to pull a fast one. The path of least resistance is to give them their money back but that doesn't put food on the table. If you've done nothing wrong tell 'em to piss off.

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Giving them a refund does not take you out of the chain. Honor your word. Give them the money. Don't offer refunds unless you mean to refund the money. You wanted to take the high road and you did. It is not always about the money. Kurt is right they are scumbags and you can't save the world.

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Giving them a refund does not take you out of the chain.

Yeah; in fact, I bet that if the tenant ends up going to court and knows that your inspection supports the basis for breaking the lease that you'll end up being called as a witness. Since you've refunded their money, any contract and agreement of confidentiality based on a paid fee might be null and void.

That's one elbow in the ribs I'd be only to happy to deliver the moment I had my hold harmless agreement signed.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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The only inspection I ever walked from was for a similar client. Seems he had a disgruntled tenant. He wanted me to inspect and report because he was sure there was nothing wrong with his property.

I told him like John I would look and report what I saw for X dollars.

When I got there I spent about five minutes and left. Place was a wreck that had evolved into a dump.

Called him and said I could not deliver my product at the price I quoted, and would only return if he turned me loose on an hourly rate with no ceiling.

He said no thanks.

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'bout the only thing I did wrong was accept the job in the first place.

Gosh no. We all take work because we need to.

In thinking over this a bit, and putting myself in your shoes, I think the best thing to do, should the situation ever arises again, is to qualify the client.

"Mr. Shmoe, may I ask a question? What are your expectations regarding the inspection?"

"Mumble, mumble mumble."

"Mr. Shmoe, there is the very real possibility my inspection could be almost identical to XYZ inspector, would that be OK?"

I run through this exercise as much for me as anything. I have not been in this position before so it's good to think it out before hand.

I don't turn down work as a rule, I love this job and have also grown fond of eating. There have been a few Realtors that I've told not to refer me. I also had a ton of alarms going off as a prospect kept asking me about my E&O insurance. After the fifth, or so, question about it I told him to call someone else.

Thanks for posting this John. It benefits all.

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