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  1. #1
    William McDonald's Avatar
    William McDonald Guest

    Angry Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    Guys, sorry for posting an off subject question but there doesn't seem to be a place for legal questions. To make a long story short, a dead beat contracted with me to do an inspection. He was from Florida so he offered to pay by credit card, I accepted and his credit card was used to pay my fee.
    Now, three months later, he contested the charge to his credit card saying it was a fraudulent charge. Inspite of my signed contract, his credit card company was able to prevail and recovered the inspection fee from my bank account. Question is, which type of lien can I place on the property he subsequently bought locally.
    Thanks for your input!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Rockwall Texas
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    Default Re: Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    You can contest this very easily as I have done several times.

    These knuckleheads want the homes till they see the report and then they back out thinking they owe no one a dime.

    If you have a contract signed, a copy of the report, possibly some documentation that the home was for sale or on the market is what you'll need. If he worked with an agent, you can contact them and explain your case and they may help you out by showing documents that they represented him and have on file his documents of him backing out on the deal.

    You call this "Theft of Services", and you should let him know in the form of a certified letter. If you explain this and show enough proof to the credit card company they will reimburse your account as they did for him. THEY NEED PROOF.

    Good luck!

    Rick


  3. #3
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    Quote Originally Posted by William McDonald View Post
    Guys, sorry for posting an off subject question but there doesn't seem to be a place for legal questions. To make a long story short, a dead beat contracted with me to do an inspection. He was from Florida so he offered to pay by credit card, I accepted and his credit card was used to pay my fee.
    Now, three months later, he contested the charge to his credit card saying it was a fraudulent charge. Inspite of my signed contract, his credit card company was able to prevail and recovered the inspection fee from my bank account. Question is, which type of lien can I place on the property he subsequently bought locally.
    Thanks for your input!
    Did the person by the home ? If so you need to take him to small claims court. A lien will not get you any money until the house is sold or he needs to clean the title up for some reason. The court will side with you if you have the contract and the other documents in place.

    This is also called theft by deceit in some areas of the country. The judge will most likely fine this person for something else as well.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    I would work through your credit card services first and explain the situation since they in theory work for you so that the reversal can be reversed. (lets don't get the double negative conversation started!)
    Chances are the folks may not have realized what charge they were disputing to their card company. Have you talked to your clients?
    If they bought a different house than what you inspected, I don't think you can place a lien; but if the same house a mechanics lien can be put in place. Send them a letter with the threat if they are being azzholes. A clouded title can keep them from selling or refinancing.
    Good Luck!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  5. #5
    William McDonald's Avatar
    William McDonald Guest

    Default Re: Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    Thanks for the replies. A litttle more information. Yes, the dead beat did buy the house I inspected. His intention is to flip the house. Yes, he knew what to expect on his credit card statement. Yes, I have written to him explaining what the result of his disputing the credit card charges meant, i.e. theft of services. No, he has not returned any of my phone calls. Yes, I have informed him by registered mail, that failure to pay my fee will result in immediate pursuit of all legal remedies available to me. I just needed your wisdom about what those remedies might be.
    Thanks again.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    If you have a lawyer, just writing a letter to the Credit Card company might work. The should not be able to reverse charges on a legitimate charge... but then again, I have been wanting to get a new LG ladder...

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  7. #7
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
    Jon Randolph Guest

    Default Re: Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    William,

    I agree that this is theft of services and should be pursued. I have heard that Florida is a state that makes it hard to sue people (which is why O.J. Simpson moved there).

    There could have been a legitimate mistake on your clients part (forgetting about the charge, not recognizing the name of the company, etc.) but the fact that he is now avoiding you says that it appears intentional.

    I think that this is more than just a small claims court case myself. I consider this no less than a criminal case and if it is not settled I would press charges. I would like to see slime like this spend time in jail.

    It may be hard to sue a Floridian, but the home is not in Florida, I would place a lien on the property for the amount owed, plus court costs and lawyer fees, long distance calls, interest and any other thing that you can come up with. Make it impossible for him to sell without paying you but also turn it over to the prosecuters office for criminal charges. You may have to go through the small claims process to get the judgement amount, but the lien will probably be placed through your local asessors office. Don't forget the fee for placing a lien when adding up your judgement.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    I agree that the small claims court option should be pursued if the guy won't pay, but also, as William said, the jerk bought the house to flip it which usually means an attempt at a quick sell. A successful lien could definitely put the kabash on it selling.

    In the past when I have had a hard time collecting for whatever reason, I have contacted the buyer's real estate agent to let them know the problem and believe it or not, they have often been successful in getting the client to pay up when my attempts have failed. While this has not always worked, I did this just last week after failed attempts to contact or collect and I recieved an overnighted check the next day. There was no contact from the client, just a check from him.
    Just a suggestion for a possible easier solution.

    2 pennies,

    Eric


  9. #9
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    Rockwall Texas
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    Default Re: Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    I too have had Realtors help me get my money out of these deadbeats. Its sure worth the try.

    I'm curious if the buyer gave a reason for stopping the payment on the card. Was he dissatisified with the inspection, was something missed, or was his fee not what he thought it was going to be, was there an add-on charge he wasn't in agreement with?

    If not, I would go after him fully loaded.


  10. #10
    William McDonald's Avatar
    William McDonald Guest

    Default Re: Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    Just to update this situation, I had sent the client a couple of demand letters without reply, so, today as I drove up to the county clerks office to file a claim of lien on his property, my phone rang. It was the client and guess what he had the ballz to ask me to do. If you guessed run his credit card through again you win the prize! My short answer was N-o-o-o-o-o-o-o! He pleaded innocent of filing a affidavit claiming fraudulent use of his credit card and put the blame entirely on First City. I told him the only thing that would stop me putting the claim of lien on his property was for him to pay his bill through Western Union and I would wait in this parking lot for Western Union to confirm the transaction. Finally, he complied and I have the check in my hand. Lesson learned, I won't accept out of state credit card customers again! It is just not worth the trouble. Thanks to all of you for your advice and support!!


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    Glad you got your money, don't throw out the baby with the bath water though. Not all out of state clients are jerks, I have never (crossing fingers) had one go bad that paid with a credit card.
    Part of doing business with the public is dealing with a few jerks. I find that most people that are hiring me to protect their interests are generally good folks and are a pleasure to work with.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Corpus Christi, TX
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    Default Re: Question for Texas Inspectors regarding lien

    Ditto on Jim's comments. MOST of my Clients are out of State. In 10 years I've had two non pays. I went after both. I add $50 to the cost and discount it if the payment is POST MARKED within 5 days of the inspection. Credit cards got too expensive for too little use.

    For future reference, I was informed by the local JP that home inspection non payment did not qualify for theft of service. So I went the small claims route.

    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

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