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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Unhappy Seller wants me to pay...

    Got an e-mail last night from a seller. I inspected his vacant house last Wednesday. He says I left his upstairs a/c on 52 degrees and it was running since I was there. Wants me to pay this months electric bill.

    Last Wednesday was the last warm day we had before the cold snap started (lows in the 20's). I can't imagine the a/c running much at all the past several days.

    I did run the a/c while I was there, but I usually just bump the thermostat down a few degrees, and "always" set it back where I found it. I'm also pretty sure I went back and checked everything before I locked up and left.

    I suppose there is a chance that someone else came in the house and ran the a/c. After all, another agent brought clients thru the house while I was inspecting, even though there was an offer on it.

    There is also the chance that I did set it to 52 and left it there. An outside chance, but still a possibility just the same.

    I sent him a reply and apologized for any inconvenience, blah, blah, blah. I also told him I would be willing to pay for any excessive charges for the days it was "running" (Wednesday noon til Sunday) as long as the utility company could give him the daily charges. I told him I thought his request for the entire months bill was unreasonable.

    I think he was just pissed that he is going to have to fix stuff I found during the inspection and wants me to pay for some of it.

    OK, all vented now.
    JF

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  2. #2
    Tim Moreira's Avatar
    Tim Moreira Guest

    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Jack,

    Personally I wouldn't pay squat. I would tell em you put the home back in the condition you found it in.

    I think he was just pissed that he is going to have to fix stuff I found during the inspection and wants me to pay for some of it.
    Yepper. Isn't it funny how it is always *your* fault that *you* found items that need to be repaired in *their* home.

    Maybe...if they kept up with their own home...ya think...sorta kinda?

    I do take customer complaints seriously right up until I determine that the complaint is total BS and the person is just looking to get money out of you because you wrote an unfavorable report on their house. I guess you should be glad he didn't accuse you of breaking something expensive like the stove or ac. It would be a bummer if you had to buy him a new stove or ac.

    How does a whole month's bill equate to 5-6 days worth of electric on one ac?

    Survey Says "NOPE"

    Last edited by Tim Moreira; 04-10-2007 at 08:59 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Miami, Florida
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    230

    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    I had a situation like that about two years ago with a pool. A customer called me and complained that I left their pool heater on and wanted me to pay the bill for the month. This was in the hottest part of the summer. They had two small kids who were not yet in school. I found it hard to believe that they wouuld not have used the pool for almost a week. I told them to send me their bill, and last years bill, so I could compare them. About a month later all the bills came. It turned out they used less electricity that month than they did for the same month a year ago. I may have been guilty of leaving the unit on, but I think they caught it right away and just wanted me to pay, like Tim said, because they had to fix a few items. I sent them a letter back and never heard from them again.

    Bill Siegel
    Florida Home Inspection Team Inc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    New Mexico
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    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Last year, I cranked up the heat on a programmable thermostat. Later in the inspection after verifying that all of the vents were working, I pushed the "Run Program" button on the thermostat. Turns out the guy had never programmed his thermostat, and the run program was set for 80 degrees for some reason. He calls and complains about me leaving the thermostat on. I told him I pressed "Run Program" before I left. His response, "I've never used that thing. We just leave it set at 65 degrees and use the "Hold" feature." Why even have it in your house then?

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  5. #5
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    Why even have it in your house then?
    Because it is installed.

    I never trusted that there was a program programmed into it, I always checked the temperature before adjusting it, then reset the temperature back to that temperature when I was done.

    We have a programmable thermostat in our house, it was there when we bought the house last year, have no idea if there is, or ever was, a program programmed into it. We don't use it that way, we just adjust it as we need it.

    The best thing to do (but I did not do it) is to make a check list of things you typically change during an inspection, then, when you are through with the inspection, go over the check list and 'verify' whether or not you changed an item, and, if you did, that you changed it back. I tried using a checklist, but found that I never bothered to check the check list.

    In all that time (16 years of inspecting) I am only aware of ("aware of", does not mean I did not do it and was not notified by the seller) of turning an oven on and not turning it off - did that twice, then I started setting my stuff up in the kitchen, so that I would end in the kitchen, and I started making sure that I had turned all the appliances back off when the inspection was done. Doing that allowed me to catch 'having left the oven on' a couple of more times, but I caught it and turned it off.

    I *always* (except when I *forgot* ) made sure to:

    close everything I opened
    open everything I closed
    turned on everything I turned off
    turned off everything I turned on
    locked everything I unlocked
    unlocked everything I locked
    etc.

    Doing so became *routine*, which means you miss it now and then, right?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    I grew up on a farm. The unwritten rule of how to leave a farm gate is: Unless you are told otherwise leave the gate as you found it (i.e., if the gate was open leave it open. If the gate was closed leave it closed).

    I apply the same logic when doing a home inspection (unless the existing condition is unsafe).

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    I haven't got a response from my e-mail - so far.

    I DO try to put everything back as I found it. I don't have a written check list, but us post it notes on thermostats (most times).

    The more I think about it, I'm having a hard time with me leaving it on a/c in the first place, let alone at 52 degrees. Even though it was warm on Wednesday, I knew that we were in store for some very cold weather. I'm usually very careful in vacant homes to ensure there won't be frozen pipes.

    Like I said before, I MAY have screwed up and set the a/c at 52 and left it on. I think it's unlikely, but there is always a chance.

    As far as my paying the entire months bill - "Go piss up a rope".
    JF


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Update - e-mail this morning. I guess he isn't such a dipwad after all

    "Thanks for your reply. I was very impressed by what you said. How about
    this proposal. Do something nice for someone this week or forgive a human
    slip or two from someone else and we'll call it even. That is, of course, I
    get a $3000 bill! (Kidding)

    Tim"


  9. #9
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    Mar 2007
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    Lake Barrington, IL
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    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    It's un-nerving to think of what the buyers do in the home while you're doing the inspection. Though I have seldom done it, there are times where it would be prudent to comment to either the agent or the buyers that you're uncomfortable with people going into the owner's possessions and snooping around where they have no business. They often have no regard for the fact that they're in someone else's home. A few weeks ago the buyer's father in law asked to use my pliers - he then used them to pull up the tack down carpet to see what was underneath.

    If I were the seller I know that I'd be first thinking of the inspector as the culprit. Come to think of this, it would probably be a good idea to mention respect for the seller's home as we first meet the client at the job. Especially if little kids are in tow.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Rockwall Texas
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    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Jack,

    Faith in the human race has been restored, right.

    You didn't mention to him about the rope thing though did you?


  11. #11
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    Fuquay Varina, NC
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    Red face Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Jack I did that once "ONCE". The sellers wanted me to pay that months bill. I told them to send me the last few months bills during the time period the home was vacant and I'll pay the diffrence. Never heard back from them.
    Left a GFCI tripped one time also in a garage, owners still lived there and caught it the same day when they got something out of the freezer.

    It happens you know!

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Rick,
    No, I didn't mention the rope, or even express my true feelings. I responded in a polite and professional manner.

    I try to take the high road with everyone, up to a point, sometimes beyond the point. Even the idiot with the fogged windows I didn't call an idiot, or tell him what I really thought of him and his nether world wife.

    JF


  13. #13
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    Mar 2007
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    Corpus Christi, TX
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    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    I had to leave a job once where the sellers wouldn't let anyone where shoes in the house. I respected their wishes, but I wouldn't risk being out of work from a possible foot injury. The A/C guy left, too. I now have hospital shoe covers for just such an occassion.

    Does anybody have any idea where "piss up a rope" comes from?

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

  14. #14
    Tim Moreira's Avatar
    Tim Moreira Guest

    Cool Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Thom,

    Gotta love google

    Urban Dictionary: piss up a rope


    1.piss up a rope sl.
    1) a futile act
    2) a not-so-subtle way of asking someone to go away and not come back for a while.
    "go piss up a rope, loser."
    by charlie root Jun 9, 2003 email it




  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Talking Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    I'm not sure when I first heard it, or started using it, but it's been a long time, and has served me well.

    In the mid 70's I worked with a man that was about 70 and he would come up with a new witicism just about every day.
    Here are a couple of Henry Mayshack's:

    "You've got a bird nest on the ground". Meaning that someone has it pretty easy.

    "That makes about as much sense as a monkey f---ing a football" Meaning something doesn't make any sense at all.

    I miss Henry.
    JF


  16. #16
    David Banks's Avatar
    David Banks Guest

    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Jack. What happened with the fogged windows?


  17. #17
    Tim Moreira's Avatar
    Tim Moreira Guest

    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    How about "Go take a flying f*** inside a rolling dough nut"


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Did an inspection, my contract says I can't verify all fogged windows, my report states in a couple places I can't verify all fogged windows, etc. IN the report I called out there were fogged windows, but they needed to verify ALL windows, since they were very dirty, had screens on, etc.

    The sellers disclosure said they had a fogged window in the garage (one you could tell was fogged from 500 feet away). The house also had some very fancy window coverings that made it almost impossible to view the upper windows.

    They go to do their walk thru and the seller hasn't moved out. They spent over three hours in the house then (according to thier agent), then came back two days later when it was vacant and did another two hour walk thru.

    Fast forward a few weeks and they call everyone concerned about ALL the fogged windows. Turns out they discoverd 5 windows after they had them cleaned and a window company came out to look at them. I probably caught 3 of them in my inspection.

    I come out and was greeted with a very nasty couple. They really wouldn't let me finish a sentence or listen when I showed them the report where I covered the fogged windows. Every time I tried to talk, the wife would mutter under her breath things like: "all he does is lie", "Oh, sure, make excuses", "He's just trying to rip us off like everyone else".

    I offered, per our contract to refund their inspection fee, and they refused and said we would take it up in court. At that point I left. When I got to the front door, he stopped me and wanted to know why I didn't even call out the greasy tracks on the stair carpet or the broken bricks at the front porch.

    The greasy tracks looked like a moving dolly taking stuff from upstairs during the move, and the broken bricks were probably broken at the same time. The photos of the front of the house were not clear enough to prove the bricks were Ok during the inspection, but I did have a photo of the stairs that showed they were not marked. The wife is now yelling at me about what a crook I was, etc.

    When I got home I wrote them a letter (since they wouldn't let me talk) and again stated my case and offered, per our contract they both signed, to refund their inspection fee. They just had to send back the signed release form and I would mail the check.

    After a week or so, I got the release, and sent them the $575. I have no doubt they would have taken me to court. I also have little doubt I would have prevailed, but at a cost higher then $575.

    They probably got money from the sellers too for not disclosing "every window". These were sick individuals. I can only hope for their car to catch fire in their garage.

    JF

    Last edited by Jack Feldmann; 04-14-2007 at 04:29 AM. Reason: corrected some spelling errors (it's too early)

  19. #19
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    Fuquay Varina, NC
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    Red face Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Jack,
    I feel your pain. Even when your right it's just better to just walk away. I hope if you ever go postal they will be your first stop

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    In over 3,000 inspections I've had two payouts to sellers. First was when my son tripped the fridge breaker while taking the deadfront off, cost me $150.

    The second was a few weeks ago when I must have accidentally knocked the 1" PVC condensate drain pipe away from the floor drain. The A/C was on (vacant house) and the resulting leak, discovered two days later, ruined the kitchen ceiling and caused some oak floor damage.

    In both cases I apologized, admitted fault, and paid up. Both sellers were pleasant, forgiving, and reasonable.

    I try to remember at each inspection to: take a little time to stop and reflect on the entire home and each component before leaving the property.

    General liability insurance is reasonable and offers protection from these types of lapses.


  21. #21
    wes owens's Avatar
    wes owens Guest

    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    The only time I don't leave something as I find it is when I am at the house alone and I am checking windows and find them unlocked, or when I find an unlocked exterior door.

    I lock them.


  22. #22
    Tony Escamilla's Avatar
    Tony Escamilla Guest

    Unhappy Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Jack,

    Just bite the bullet and pay the bill. It sucks, but if theres even a chance you left it on, it's the right thing to do. I once left a heater on all weekend in an empty house. It's totally possible. I paid the gas bill that month. It makes for a funny (costly) story.

    Just my 2 cents.


  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
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    4,517

    Default Re: Seller wants me to pay...

    Tony,

    C'mon you had a 2 cent gas bill.


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