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  1. #1
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    Default Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    So, here's the situation: I do an inspection on 40 year old house a few months back. I just got a call from the buyer that she had a plumbing leak and the contractor fixed it by replacing ALL the plumbing in the house!!

    I haven't heard the grand total yet but whatever it is she seems to be hinting that I'm somehow responsible. I know I'm not and am not so much asking about that end of it.

    But, it did get me thinking.... is a contractor "fradulent" for selling someone with 40 year old (copper) plumbing a new piping system? Or, is the buyer expected to have enough sense to call someone (me, for example) before going forward with it?

    IMO, they are both responsible to some extent. I guess I'm asking for opinions as to what the amount of "blame" each side deserves.

    fwiw, my buyer said the plumber said it needed to be replaced because it "looked bad" and had some green streaks on it. I honestly didn't see much, if any, of it at the inspection due to it being buried in underfloor insulation in an extremely tight crawl (things my buyer agrees to).

    Of course, we also have a clause in the contract that we need to be contacted BEFORE the work is done and that ship has sailed. So, again, I'm not so much worried about my own hyde. I'm planning to go take a look next week and am trying to decide how much to tell her she's foolish and how much to tell her the contractor is a crook.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post

    IMO, they are both responsible to some extent. I guess I'm asking for opinions as to what the amount of "blame" each side deserves.

    I'm planning to go take a look next week and am trying to decide how much to tell her she's foolish and how much to tell her the contractor is a crook.
    Thats a tough call. A lot of older and 1st time owners really don't know what they need and will fall for any smooth takling sales person.
    Over the years I've seen 100s of senior citizon Mfg Home home owners that got scammed.
    Now when I do MH inspections I tell them up front there are more contactors that are out to scam them, then honest contractors , and give me a call 1st before having any thing done.

    The last lady that didn't call me got scammed, [ and wanted me to pay ] for $1800 for removing mold in her furnace motor, and ducts.
    Come to find out the "mold" was an oil leak on the furnace fan and motor

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Ask the lady to have the bad pipe put aside so you can inspect it.
    Then watch the plumber do a little dance and say the pipe's all gone, too late now.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    So, here's the situation: I do an inspection on 40 year old house a few months back. I just got a call from the buyer that she had a plumbing leak and the contractor fixed it by replacing ALL the plumbing in the house!!

    I haven't heard the grand total yet but whatever it is she seems to be hinting that I'm somehow responsible. I know I'm not and am not so much asking about that end of it.

    But, it did get me thinking.... is a contractor "fradulent" for selling someone with 40 year old (copper) plumbing a new piping system? Or, is the buyer expected to have enough sense to call someone (me, for example) before going forward with it?

    IMO, they are both responsible to some extent. I guess I'm asking for opinions as to what the amount of "blame" each side deserves.

    fwiw, my buyer said the plumber said it needed to be replaced because it "looked bad" and had some green streaks on it. I honestly didn't see much, if any, of it at the inspection due to it being buried in underfloor insulation in an extremely tight crawl (things my buyer agrees to).

    Of course, we also have a clause in the contract that we need to be contacted BEFORE the work is done and that ship has sailed. So, again, I'm not so much worried about my own hyde. I'm planning to go take a look next week and am trying to decide how much to tell her she's foolish and how much to tell her the contractor is a crook.
    Matt
    Your post sounds as though you have already made up your mind.

    Now is not the time to be defensive much less to place blame on anyone.
    If the HO perceives you as an adversary, you will have lost any chance of cooperation.
    While the HO is still on talking terms with you, collect evidence and document the events.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    .... is a contractor "fradulent" for selling someone with 40 year old (copper) plumbing a new piping system?
    No
    Just a couple of weeks ago I recommended the "whole" water supply system be replaced.
    It was 60 year old galv pipe, with at least 2 leaks.
    Replace it all.


    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Or, is the buyer expected to have enough sense to call someone (me, for example) before going forward with it?
    No
    The buyer obviously believed what the plumber said and trusted that the problem would be corrected.


    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    fwiw, my buyer said the plumber said it needed to be replaced because it "looked bad" and had some green streaks on it.
    There was a discussion on this just a few days ago.
    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...ed-joints.html
    Green streaks. Certainly questionable, and worth a closer look.

    If the leak was corrosion from the inside out, then yes, very possible that all of it needed to be replaced.

    Last edited by Rick Cantrell; 09-08-2012 at 08:24 AM. Reason: added link
    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    There's responsibility on both ends.

    As for going over there to take a look, I understand why you're going to do it but with all the evidence removed, there isn't much that can be said.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Galvanized pipe of course needs replacing. Copper pipe - depends on the water supply, and of course, the quality of the solder joints.

    Our water here comes out of a huge lake system. I often see 100 year old copper pipes in good shape. I suspect if copper corrosion was a problem in Matt's area, he would know about it by now.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I often see 100 year old copper pipes in good shape.
    100 years old?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Yep.... copper supply pipes around here are good for a long time. Oregon has overall great water - very soft. There really aren't problems like other parts of the country.

    A little more background - the leak was at a dielectric connection buried in the insulation (according to the buyer). So, worst case scenario the plumber could have fixed any of those.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Matt,

    I would say if you did not have anything in your report regarding the water supply pipe or your inability to inspect the concealed piping, then you probably have no defense. I would certainly go to the clients home and allow them to fill you in on details, collect sample pipes, contractor records and determine what they have for demands.

    I would report it to your insurance carrier and allow them to sort it out and advise you on next steps.

    We win some and loose some. Unfortunately, this could be one of the "loose some" for you.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    We win some and loose some. Unfortunately, this could be one of the "loose some" for you.
    HUH?????

    So, I'm on the hook for everything any past client gets talked into after an inspection? Call my E/O carrier? Why? So they can buy this lady new plumbing and raise my rates to cover the cost? Are you an insurance salesman?

    fwiw, I'm well covered by what I wrote up and even if I hadn't I'd be covered by SOPs and my contract. I'm very confident I have no problem here (and, as a decent size multi-inspector company we've been down this road a time or two in the last 25 years). That really wasn't the question, anyway.

    Some of you guys are so quick to roll over it kills me. Grab some cahones and defend yourself.... don't just "call the insurance guy" everytime someone calls with a complaint. Yes, you need to call them at some point but there's nothing wrong with visiting a past client and working things out.

    Last edited by Matt Fellman; 09-08-2012 at 07:23 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    I'm with you Matt. The client negated the contract by having all the repairs made without giving you a chance to reinspect. There's no good reason for us to have this verbiage in our reports if we don't uphold it. I have insurance but I don't want to use it if I don't have to.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  13. #13
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    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Ask the owner to sign a statement that the contractor is not a friend, family member or associate. I bet you will never get that signed statement.

    Now ask for a signed statement that all of the pipes were replaced.
    Also, take a good look under the house etc and see if 100 percent of the supply piping was really replaced. I bet it was not. If it was not, now you have proof of fraud.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  14. #14
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    Jun 2010
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    West Chester PA
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    A Home Buyer is free to upgrade to any limit at any time...

    However,,,
    You inspected a 40 - 50 year old Home...

    lets say,,,
    The Buyer/ Purchaser/Owner wishes to upgrade to 2008 standard...
    Can She??/

    answer is Yes...

    Is it reasonable to expect you to pay for it?

    NO

    same as if she upgraded now to 2008 Standard....
    and in 4 years....
    wants you to pay additional upgrade to 2012 NEC Standard....

    Answer is still NO....


  15. #15
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    Nov 2011
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    We win some and loose some. Unfortunately, this could be one of the "loose some" for you.
    Actually, the correct word is "lose," meaning the opposite of "win."

    "Loose" is something that is not tight, pronounced with a hard "S".


  16. #16
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    West Chester PA
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    Quote Originally Posted by BridgeMan View Post

    Actually,
    the correct word is "lose," meaning the opposite of "win."

    "Loose" is something that is not tight,
    pronounced with a hard "S".
    Sister Mary Bridgeman has spoken...


    Thanks for that memory.....
    NOT....
    LOL


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Crooked contractor or buyer beware?

    I was wondering how long it would take . . . for the guy(s) who slept through 4th grade English class to respond with a sarcastic remark.

    Bless your heart(s).


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