How do you deal with bad customers?

I’m curious to know how would others HI deal with a problem that I encounter while doing a ride-along inspection.

In this case the home owner was kind of agressive and obviously hiding problems in the house and refused to let the HI access the masterbed room.
My friend decided to stop the inspection and called the realtor to reschedule at a more appropriate time.

Without going into further details, the homeowner had a bunch personal and financial problems related to that house…

I’m not sure what’s going to happen next for my friend HI, the realtor and extra fees, etc…
But I was wondering if you have found yourself in a similar situation? And how did you handle it?

Extra question! :lol:
What is the proper procedure to deal with a non paying customer?
Do you just not deliver the report and that’s it; or do you start a lawsuit?

I would say something on the lines of…

“Mr. Homeseller, the buyers of your property have requested, per their contract for sale of this property, a home inspection. That inspection is of all parts of the home, including this bedroom. As the current home owner, you have every right to refuse me access to any part of the home you wish. However, I will be forced to reflect that in my report. This may result in the buyers refusing to purchase the home, or at the very least, they will request that I return at a later date to complete the inspection at your cost.”

I would then, contact my client to bring them up to speed on the outcome of my conversation with Mr Homeseller, and complete as much of the inspection as the seller would allow me to complete. I would probably spend twice the time I normally would on the remainder, and I would document every defect I reasonably could, large and small. (Might also encourage my buyer to purchase a couple of House Hold Drug Pollution samples as well.)

hey Mark,

:lol: maybe we found a columbian drug lord safehouse!! :lol:

Nah here the problem was linked to the guy dealing with a really really REALLY bad divorce and I guess the HI reminded him why the house was for sale or something like that.

But great advise nonetheless, didn’t even know these kind of drug testing samples were available to the general public?

So basically you would treat this case just like you would treat an inacessible attic or crawl space and move on… Ok thanks.

What about bad customers that don’t pay you after you perform an inspection? Phone call and refuse to deliver the report or legal action?

I am sorry Mr. Home owner .

I am just doing a job trying to help you sell your home my client to buy your home .
With me not being allowed into on section most certainly deprives my client from knowing what the condition of that area is.
Thank you.

Try at all times to avoid being confidential or cranky.
I just do my inspection to the best of my ability and conditions at the time of inspection.
I would try and write as much as I could on what was said and why I was refused access to any area.


I alleviate this problem by asking the Seller to leave myself and my client by ourselves.

I had one Seller who adamantly would not leave my side and he continuously followed me everywhere I went and every time I pointed out an issue to my clients, the Seller would butt right in and start yapping about how good he takes care of his home, yada, yada, yada.

I told the Selling Realtor that either he leaves or I leave. The Seller then stated “I’m not going anywhere, this is my damn house”. So guess what? I told my client that we need to re-schedule the inspection, as I refuse to play games with the Seller. We left and the Seller lost this deal.

My client did happen to locate another home (weeks later) and this other home worked out well for them.

With regards to customers not paying. I have learned that the ones that don’t want to pay are the ones where I found major items wrong with the home. So they figure “I’m not buying that house, why pay for the inspection.” So, my policy is to have money in hand BEFORE the inspection starts. I just put it into to my introduction and it goes off without a hitch. No complaints on this ever from a customer.

David When I have homeowners like that I send them out for a quart of Pigeon milk, or failing that I ask them to go through the house and flush all the toilets and then proceed to run the taps in each bathroom for 5 minutes each while I remain with my client and discuss the findings/shortcomings.


We never send out a report without payment. Sometimes we will allow a customer to pay at closing if their agent is someone we have worked with in the past and we know they will make sure we get paid. Even then we have to secure payment with a credit card before we will send or even start on the report.

We have been left out of to many closings. Having the ability to accept payment with credit cards is one of the best things we have done for our business. Especially for out of state customers or those that want to pay at closing.

As far as a difficult seller we have had a few of them as well. Being kind, understanding, proffesional and telling them what they want to hear works very well for us. Many times the sellers will start off playing hard A$$, but after we tell them how nice their house is etc they usually lighten up and allow us to do our job without getting in the way. We do our job and provide the most thorough inspection report we can for our customer…If the seller gets mad it’s after the fact and it is what it is.

If a seller refused access to a room i would include that under my restrictions to the inspection process section and disclame that room and report that the seller would not allow access to the bedroom at the time of the inspection.

As to non-paying customers:

  1. I get payment, up front, as a check.
  2. If the check bounces or stop-payment, I hand it over to the state’s attorney’s office. They have a program where the person either pays (plus handling fees for them and the check writer has to attend a class) or they procecute and demend treble damage, plus court costs. That way, you are always assured of payment.

Hope this helps;

I do the same as Ian. It is part of the introduction. They sign the agreement, which has a spot on the right to fill in how much was received. I take the payment and issue a PAID receipt. Would you be there if you weren’t getting paid?

Patrick :cool: :cool: :cool:

All good advise. If that don’t work try whipping their ***.

I have the courts take care of my bad checks.

Let them try purchasing a home, now.

Excellent advise everyone, thanks a lot!

However, the paying out front thing, I’m not sure how’s that gonna fly here.

You guys saying that it works but dunno, usually a customer wants to see a service perfomed before handing in a payment.

I see being paid right after the inspection is done, before leaving the house, while shaking hands with my clients…
But before starting the inspection? Hmm…



A good spanking is always fun. :twisted:

I tell my clients, while we are going over the agreement, that I will collect the fee at the end of the inspeciton prior to giving them the report. I give them a 100% guarantee, that if they are not satisifed with my inspection that they pay nothing, and can use that money to hire another inspector. (I’ve yet to have anyone take me up on it.)

They give me the check, and I give them the report.

Some might say that’s risky but keep in mind. In order for them to back out of the deal, they are required by their contract to provide a copy of my report to the sellers. Therefore if they don’t like the house, they still need my report to get out of the deal. (You’re results will vary depending upon how the standard contingency contract reads in your area.)

I like that approach, Mark.

Brian, What if they were enjoying it and told you that you had a half hour to stop the spanking?:mrgreen:

Tony …when you go to McDonalds ,do you pay after you eat it?
Around here I go straight to the kitchen, whip out my folder and take a check ,as they sign the Inspection agreement

Hehe very true…

However allow me to ask you another question:
When you go to a decent restaurant, do you pay before you sit down?


And NO, I’m not implying that HIs asking up-front payment are performing junk food inspections… hahaha

Ok more serious, I’m just surprised that some of you are getting paid before you even set foot inside the house, that’s actually good to hear and that it works for some of you it’s pretty amazing and inspiring.

I guess I’m just too used to my old habits of never EVER paying any contractor or related services before the job is done, let alone started.