help with inspector

I was told by Russel Ray to try this. He says he is a member and posts here quite often. On or about May 21, we had a home inspection done a condo we were purchasing. The inspector told us that he has a 90 day warranty on inspections but failed to tell us until after the inspection was done that the warranty did not cover anything over 11 years old. Had we known this we would have requested a home warranty from the seller. We were told that the dishwasher and central air were in working order. On June 17th we moved in to the condo. On June 18th we tried the dishwasher, doesn’t work. About 1 week later, we wanted to use the central air, so we turned it on and it is completely dead. We have tried contacting the inspector to inquire about the air conditioner and he will not return our emails. We would like the central air fixed or replaced , but since it is not covered under the warranty, we think that we should at least get the $200 we paid for the inspection returned to us. Right now I am sitting in an 85 degree room writing this post. it will cost at least $2200 to replace the central air. It cannot be fixed because it is too old. Is there anything that we can do to get this inspector to help us out? Is he not returning our emails because he knows he messed up the inspection? Or he just doesn’t really care. There was not anyone living in the home between November and May so no one messed with the unit after it was inspected or used the dishwasher either. Thank You for any help you can provide.

Can you possibly call me at 920-251-3504? I would really like to talk to you about this. Thanks. Or send me your number and I will call you if need be.

Did the inspector neglect to tell you the limitations on claims for structural or mechanical issues? Did he neglect to tell you everything that is excluded from a claim? You apparently didn’t read the warranty you were given (I’m assuming you were provided with a copy of the warranty prior to closing).

My sympathies lie with the inspector, not a buyer who fails to read the fine print on what was probably a 1 page document.

How do you know the Seller’s warranty would not have also disclaimed an 11 year old unit? I think all of them do.

It’s only one example but when we bought our house we got a home warranty from American Home Shield. They covered the 3 units that at the time were about 13 years old. One of the compressor/condenser units has since been replaced by AHS and the others have had work.

Hey, Debbie.

Glad to see you’re here.

I believe Debbie is in Michigan if I remember correctly, so maybe some other Northerners in addition to Ian can help out. Thanks, Ian.

Let’s see what kind of help we can get for you here since I’m not familiar with Michigan’s various legal statutes, if any, relating to home inspections and home inspectors.

We did look at his warranty. but since he said everything worked we figured he knew what he was doing. Ater all he is the inspector. Also, his contract says that if any of the components fail within 90 days he will pay up to $1000 to cover repairs or give a money back guarantee on the fee he charged us. He won’t even respond to us.

You were right they did all side with inspector. Nice people.

I’m sorry not all of them just a couple. At least one was kind enough to try to help us. Thank you

Hey, Debbie.

There will probably be more weighing in. I have quite a few people who stalk me and my posts on this Message Board. That can be both good and bad, but I’m sure we’ll have some more responses. Keep in mind that it’s the weekend, so we might not get some real good action and responses until early in the week.

I just received a phone call from Brian, He of course was very angry and says he will not refund our money and will not stand by the warranty. Claiming that the items were working when he inspected them. Since I really don’t have any proof that they weren’t. I guess that we will chalk it up to a bad inspector and the fact that we didn’t know what we were doing. To all first time home buyers, beware and if possible get a second opinion. I will not be bothering you. I will be looking for a second job to pay for a new air conditioner and new dishwasher and the furnace that we will probably have to buy this winter, because he said that works too, although being the middle of summer, we won’t know until it is too late. Thank you to rray for your help and to the other person who offered help, I think we will pass. The only thing I could do at this point has already been done. He is a member of the BBB and I have asked them to try to help us. I have heard that there is not much they can do though. Thanks anyway.

That’s too bad. I’d rather see you two come to an agreement somewhere in the middle, but, again, I haven’t seen his report.

There is no excuse for the inspector not responding to your calls or emails. That is indefensible and a horrible business practice and I would not use him for that reason alone.

However, regarding the warranty, if you read it, as you say you did, then you should have realized that the warranty wasn’t going to pay to fix a mechanical system 11 years or more old. Think about it. You buy a house with a 20 year old AC and when it quits, do you really expect the warranty provider to pay for repairs? If the warranty is like mine, there is also a $500 maximum payout on repairs to mechanical equipment, so you don’t get a whole lot of coverage. My warranties are 1 page long. It doesn’t take much reading to realize what you get. And you probably didn’t pay anything for it…it was thrown in as part of the inspection.

Please provide an exact quote from the inspector’s contract about the $1000 or money back offer. That may be a whole different issue about which I would side with you, but I need the exact wording.

It’s actually on his web site and it say:

Better Than Money Back Guarantee
If any major system fails due to a defect that was present and visible at the time of inspection and was overlooked by us, you will be refunded 100% of your inspection fee.
PLUS if its not covered by our Free Home Warranty we will pay up to $1000.00 of replacement value by a qualified professional. This guarantee is offered for a full 90 days after date of inspection.*

eh Hmm!

Notice that * ?

*Certain limitations may apply.

But I agree with Joe F.

Here are my feelings.

  1. When I test the A/C, furnace, dishwasher, etc, I do so with the client at hand so they can see for themselves that they are working. A few times, the dishwasher or refrigerator broke between the time of the inspection and the time the client moved in. Things break. I do not warrant the operation of things beyond the manufacturer’s warranty. The manufacturer won’t and I figure they are a better judge of the durability of their products then I am.

  2. I have found that home warranties are not worth the paper they are written on. There are too many limitations, loopholes and restrictions. I do not offere any warranty. Many Realtors do, but I have yet to see a warranty that actually fixed something that broke.

  3. If a component is old, beyond its normal (which is a statistical average), I note this on the report and recommend that the client budget for its replacement in the near term. This is just common sense.

  4. If there is something I cannot test (A/C units should not be run when the outside temp is below 65 degrees, for example) I specifically not in my report that I did not test it.

  5. There are some HIs who go the extra mile. They cover their butts, and in doing so, cover the butts of the client. There are other inspectors who just breeze through the inspection and do not interact with the client and answer their questions. That is their decision and they are entitled to it.

  6. If you wany another perspective, please feel free to call me (see below, office number) and I would be happy to help in any way I can.

Hope this helps;

This may be best handled here instaed of this MB, jmo



What does the limitations say? * If the limitations don’t state anything you have a 50/50 shot for small claims court regardless if the system was working on the day of inspection or not. You ask me he didn’t think to well before posting this great offer on his website. However I’m not 100% of that until you post the limitations verbiage. What’s not going to play in your favor however is a home inspection is a snapshot of the day you had your inspection and we all clearly state that in our contracts and it’s in our standards of practice We cannot dismantle systmes since we are not licensed technitions within a given trade. We are generalist inspectors. We are limited as to what we can see or test. That’s why it’s important to give the inspector a chance to come back out to reinspect which your trying to do by attempting to contact him. Another thing if you fix something yourself before giving the inspector a chance to come out and reinspect your chances of getting anything in small claims goes down drastically. Go to and read more about that. If he missed something that’s obvious he’s negligent and you should pursue court action. Its our job to report anything that can be seen within the scope of our standards of practice. I highly advise you stand there with him while he reinspects because you’ll see that he missed something as well if it’s obvious. If your system broke due to something he couldn’t possible see because the item broke is not within his view or obvious clues can be associated you could possibly loose your battle and here’s why…

I educate my clients on the following. Listed below are just a few examples on what I educate my clients. You need to check to see if he included this verbiage anywhere in your contract or report. If so you chances of pursing again go down dramatically in my opinion. It’s up to us to report. It’s up to you to take action upon our verbiage. It’s up to you to ask questions if you don’t understand. Not trying to sound harsh I’m just showing you what to look for.

the INSPECTOR specifically and expressly recommends** that** CLIENT

**have a complete heating and cooling system evaluation before close of escrow, **
(Reason stated above. Without a HVAC license we can’t dismantle a unit and give the system a complete inspection like a HVAC technition can.)

**a CSIA Level II inspection of the fireplace and chimney before ****close of escrow, **
(Same reason as above)

Underground utilities
Underground utilities, especially those involving fluids, are not visible during the scope of a standard home inspection, and are therefore specifically excluded from the scope of this report. Waste lines are susceptible to a variety of problems, including blockage and collapse. Tree roots can sometime infiltrate the interior of waste lines, acting as a source of blockage. Older drain pipes, which include Orangeburg Pipe and clay tile (pipe) commonly fail or collapse. Sometimes, problems associated with these lines do not manifest themselves until days, weeks, or even months after the date of the inspection. For this reason, the Inspector strongly recommends Comprehensive sanitary drain line testing available from certain licensed plumbers or other qualified contractors with specialized equipment. – Editor in Chief (John Onofrey)

Plus the SOP states that we do the following. If he stepped out from the SOP a judge might rule in your favor.

2.5. CoolingI. The inspector shall inspect:[INDENT]A. The central cooling equipment using normal operating controls.

II. The inspector is not required to:A. Determine the uniformity, temperature, flow, balance, distribution, size, capacity, BTU, or supply adequacy of the cooling system.
B. Inspect window units, through-wall units, or electronic air filters.
C. Operate equipment or systems if exterior temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or when other circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or may damage the equipment.
D. Inspect or determine thermostat calibration, heat anticipation or automatic setbacks or clocks.
E. Examine electrical current, coolant fluids or gases, or coolant leakage.


3.1. Limitations:I. An inspection is not technically exhaustive.
**II. An inspection will not identify concealed or latent defects. **
III. An inspection will not deal with aesthetic concerns or what could be deemed matters of taste, cosmetic defects, etc.
IV. An inspection will not determine the suitability of the property for any use.
V. An inspection does not determine the market value of the property or its marketability.
VI. An inspection does not determine the insurability of the property.
VI. An inspection does not determine the advisability or inadvisability of the purchase of the inspected property.
VIII. An inspection does not determine the life expectancy of the property or any components or systems therein.
IX. An inspection does not include items not permanently installed.
X. These Standards of Practice apply only to homes with four or fewer dwelling units.

III. The inspectors are not required to:A. Move any personal items or other obstructions, such as, but not limited to:[INDENT]1. Throw rugs.
2. Furniture.
3. Floor or wall coverings.
4. Ceiling tiles
5. Window coverings.
6. Equipment.
7. Plants.
8. Ice.
9. Debris.
10. Snow.
11. Water.
12. Dirt.
13. Foliage.
14. Pets

B. Dismantle**,** open, or uncover any system or component.
C. Enter or access any area which may, in the opinion of the inspector, be unsafe.
D. Enter crawlspaces or other areas that are unsafe or not readily accessible.
E. Inspect underground items such as, but not limited to, underground storage tanks or other indications of their presence, whether abandoned or actively used.
F. Do anything which, in the inspector’s opinion, is likely to be unsafe or dangerous to the inspector or others or damage property, such as, but not limited to, walking on roof surfaces, climbing ladders, entering attic spaces or negotiating with pets.
G. Inspect decorative items.
H. Inspect common elements or areas in multi-unit housing.
I. Inspect intercoms, speaker systems, radio-controlled, security devices or lawn irrigation systems.
J. Offer guarantees or warranties.
K. Offer or perform any engineering services.
L. Offer or perform any trade or professional service other than home inspection.
M. Research the history of the property, report on its potential for alteration, modification, extendibility, or its suitability for a specific or proposed use for occupancy.
N. Determine the age of construction or installation of any system structure or component of a building, or differentiate between original construction and subsequent additions, improvements, renovations or replacements.
O. Determine the insurability of a property.
P. Perform or offer Phase 1 environmental audits.
Q. Inspect on any system or component which is not included in these standards.


I can assure you no inspector will report that a system works properly if it didn’t the day he inspected it. He messed up by saying he’ll personally finance a system up to 1K if not covered by the warranty he’s promoting atleast at the moment that’s what it looks like, but until you post his limitations we will not know 100%. Wish you luck. And I agree with everyone else. If this guy won’t return your emails or calls it’s obvious he’s truly a very unprofessional home inspector. Your doing the right thing. You attempting to contact him. Keep doing so and keep record of it.


PS. Home Inspectors: I personally think I’m going to start taking 30 sec Vids of all systems on the day of inspection to prove to my client the system was working just fine. What’s your thoughts on this?

If he simply said “certain limitation may apply” and didn’t state the limitations, then he makes up his own rules according to the game on a particular day. Copy all the language from his website and inspection agreement immediately for future reference and file a claim in small claims court. It will probably cost you about $25 dollars to do so. You don’t need an attorney. Just state your case logically using his vague language as your argument. If you loose, you lost ~ $25.00. If you win, you might win as much as $1000. The inspector will have to show up so he will loose a days income (about 2 times what he charged you). He will have reason to settle to avoid the income loss…I bet he will return your phone calls in a hurry once he receives his summons.

Oops…if you are from The People’s Republic of California filing suit in small claims court may cost significantly more than the cost here in SC.