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Thread: Owner Complaint

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Vilonia AR
    Posts
    12

    Default Owner Complaint

    I do not get many complaints, but this was interesting. Inspected a house and found the tilt brackets broken on kitchen and living room window. The windows could simply be pushed in since they would not latch. Informed real estate agent and client and put comment in report. At exiting I and the agent checked all windows, doors and lights and everything was fine. Six days later owner called. He had just returned from vacation and found the living room window laying open. Accused me of breaking the window, which I denied because I did not, I found it broken and explained the situation as I found it. He repeatedly accused me of breaking the window. I asked what he wanted me to do. He did not want me to pay to fix the window. He wanted me to pay the electric bill caused by the AC operating for so long. He has an alarm system that alerted him to the high indoor temp, but he ignored it due to outside temp being in the 90s. I asked how much was the electric bill and he did not know. I said I would consider paying it (just for public relations if the figure was reasonable). He got really mad about "consider", accused me of being a crook, being stupid because I did not know how to operate his "special" windows. I asked him if I should just send a blank check and let him fill in the amount. Then the odd thing; he asked why I would consider paying the electric bill if I did not break the window. This is the short version. I finally hung up on him after the above explanation and his loud accusations and his threat to call the local TV station and spending about 15 minutes listening to him. How would you handle this?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
    Posts
    1,394

    Default Re: Owner Complaint

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe R. Maxwell View Post
    Then the odd thing; he asked why I would consider paying the electric bill if I did not break the window.
    Yup...he got you. I've only had similar situations a few times over the years. I politely but firmly explain that I didn't do anything wrong...period.

    At this point, my advice is to let your client know about the call. If your client wants you to call his/her agent, then do that. Chances are that this is the last you'll hear of it.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,777

    Default Re: Owner Complaint

    Even with the tilt brackets broken the locks should have held the sash in place. Probably the locks were misaligned when you closed the sash and gravity got the best of the sash.

    To often I see the locks and sash have to be fiddled with to make sure that the lock connects completely.

    Did the owner know the window that opened itself had issues and if so why did he not bring it to you attention? He should have know it was a finicky window and left a note for you. But then you are the professional and should have recognized the potential problem and what was needed.

    You tried to appease him and his hissy fit over the open window. Owner is just anxious over the sale. You tried to arbitrate but and he really just wanted to vent. Maybe that was all he really needed. The answer to why you would offer him something though you may feel you did nothing wrong is called appeasement.

    Many here may say that you have no responsibility for the owners broken window and have no liability past noting it in the report. In many respects I would agree. Yet I look to a higher standard. Contacting the Owner again may take you down a slippery slope with with someone that may be a bit irrational and serve little lasting value. Then there is the position that at least you made the effort to reconcile the issue and was rebuffed. Thereby clearing your conscience completely, or you can look at your first failed attempt and leave it there.

    You can't please all the people all of the time, just try. You may have done your best so move on and chalk it up as a learning experience for the nest sash with broken clips.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,481

    Default Re: Owner Complaint

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe R. Maxwell View Post
    I do not get many complaints, but this was interesting. Inspected a house and found the tilt brackets broken on kitchen and living room window. The windows could simply be pushed in since they would not latch. Informed real estate agent and client and put comment in report. At exiting I and the agent checked all windows, doors and lights and everything was fine. Six days later owner called. He had just returned from vacation and found the living room window laying open. Accused me of breaking the window, which I denied because I did not, I found it broken and explained the situation as I found it. He repeatedly accused me of breaking the window. I asked what he wanted me to do. He did not want me to pay to fix the window. He wanted me to pay the electric bill caused by the AC operating for so long. He has an alarm system that alerted him to the high indoor temp, but he ignored it due to outside temp being in the 90s. I asked how much was the electric bill and he did not know. I said I would consider paying it (just for public relations if the figure was reasonable). He got really mad about "consider", accused me of being a crook, being stupid because I did not know how to operate his "special" windows. I asked him if I should just send a blank check and let him fill in the amount. Then the odd thing; he asked why I would consider paying the electric bill if I did not break the window. This is the short version. I finally hung up on him after the above explanation and his loud accusations and his threat to call the local TV station and spending about 15 minutes listening to him. How would you handle this?
    Joe,

    My experience is that the owner just wants to vent. When that kind of thing happens to me, I let them go on and on until they finally stop of their own accord. Then, I politely I state my observations, inform him that my findings are in my report. I don't offer to pay for something that was already broken. The open window is unfortunate, but if there is no loss (burglary, etc.), then he really has no claim.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Owner Complaint

    You'll never reason with people like that. I would have hung up too. Fortunately they are few and far between.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Owner Complaint

    I would be nice and not admit to anything or offer to do anything. I would ask the caller to submit a written request so that you could properly review the complaint. Most likely that is as far as it would ever go. But they submit a written complaint I would respond accordingly keeping in mind that he received an alarm notice about a problem at his home.

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Owner Complaint

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I would be nice and not admit to anything or offer to do anything. I would ask the caller to submit a written request so that you could properly review the complaint. Most likely that is as far as it would ever go. But they submit a written complaint I would respond accordingly keeping in mind that he received an alarm notice about a problem at his home.
    Exactly as Scott said
    Have them state complaint in writing, then respond.

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: Owner Complaint

    My observations of tilt-in windows is that the sash lock does not give the lower sash its strength from being pushed in, it is the interlocking lips that are on the sash meeting rails. The sash latch can damage the vinyl lip if it is left partly closed when the sash is being closed. If the lip is damaged badly enough the lips do not mesh and then the latch does not engage; consequently if the tilt-in latches are bad or not engaged the sash could fall in. The danger in broken tilt-in latches is that the sash can fall inward when the sash is raised and could cause injury. This has happened and a child was badly injured and is how I report the implication of broken tilt-in latches.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Marietta, Georgia
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Owner Complaint

    Once had a similar situation but with a some alarm and a mad homeowner. I reached up to test the alarm and upon pushing the test button it just fell from the ceiling. It was house powered but it was not connected to the wiring. I pick up the detector and put in on a shelf nearby. Wrote the homeowner a not telling him what happened. I get a call a few days later with him livid. Said I broke it and he wanted me to return and reninstall it. Said no. It was not my fault and besides it was not connected to power as needed and I don' do wiring.

    Well, that started a complaint with BBB that I had to work through. Long story short, BBB said I was not at fault and the matter was closed. Some homeowners just want to make our lives difficult when we pick apart their homes.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Massacusetts
    Posts
    149

    Default Re: Owner Complaint

    My 2 cents

    You informed the real estate agent who is in most cases the sellers agent (not always but 99%+ of the time)

    At that point it became the agents responsibility (no matter which agent it was they are both being paid by the seller and work for the seller (with the small exception). So it was up to the agent to make sure the owner was notified of the issue as soon as possible (buyers agent has a responsibility to notify the sellers agent who is responsible for notifying the home owner)

    So if you start up a heating system and it explodes - who is responsible - you as the inspector had no reason to suspect an issue and the home owner has a responsibility to tell you (at least morally) - or are you responsible for something just breaking if you use normal care ?

    I would not have offered to pay - unless it was something like a window I put the ladder through or something


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    so so, California
    Posts
    1,769

    Default Re: Owner Complaint

    Pound sand...

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,828

    Default Re: Owner Complaint

    listing broker knew of the problem and is responsible to check the house if the owner is away.
    It's on them throw er under the bus

    - - - Updated - - -

    listing broker knew of the problem and is responsible to check the house if the owner is away.
    It's on them throw er under the bus


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