Billing question for extensive inspection

I was contacted by an employee of an estate to conduct an inspection on a very large home (11 bathrooms, 3 kitchens), and possibly another six dwellings on the property. Since this property is fairly close to me, I offered to stop by and get eyes on what we are talking about. I walked the large home and discovered several LP gas leaks with my nose, confirmed with a gas sniffer. Out of human decency, I notified the owner of the gas leaks immediately and advised that they hire a plumber.
They hired me and I returned to conduct a thorough inspection. I later found 2 water leaks, 5 more gas leaks, possible mold from the water leaks, and several dry previous roof leaks.

Here is where I failed. I was so focused on “saving the family” that I did not insure that they had signed my pre-inspection agreement. Now they bock at the price. They cannot see the report but feel that they have the info that was needed.

They are looking at my verbally agreed-upon bill, have not signed my pre-inspection agreement yet, they are contesting my bill. They say that they were only looking for XYZ, not a complete inspection. I say that I cannot find XYZ without inspecting the entire system and I follow a SOP.

My mistake was getting too personal and “saving lives” by providing info immediately due to safety concerns. Now they have the info that they wanted and wish to negotiate the price. They would like to pay for defects found, not whole house inspection.

Any insight is appreciated. I accept that my eagerness to help is my peril.

Always get paid at or before the inspection.
This is a given in the inspection industry.

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A little late but Roy is correct.^^^^^^^^^^

The story sounds weird, almost made up, but if it’s true, there’s not much you can do.
You’re exposed (liability wise), and haven’t been paid. Consider it a valuable learning experience. Always get a PIA signed, where these issues would have been addressed in advance, fees disclosed, etc.

Collect what you can and move on.

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How many hours did you spend at the estate for both inspections?

Inspect and learn and move forward.

Weird yes, I wish it was just a story. Not made up.

About 8 hours.

Take whatever they will give you and chalk it up to education - in the future never do any work with out an agreed upon price, in writing on your inspection agreement form. No agreement no need to pay.

I think that is the only answer. This is the difference between book smarts and experience. Now I REALLY know this lesson. Thanks.

sucks right - but if your in business for the next 20 years you wont do that again.

Whatever you decide, if they don’t “want” a full inspection, don’t give the report. Consider it a consultation and reduce your liability. Just my .02