Rip Off Online Training

Recently enrolled in an online training Home Inspection course that offered 100% satisfaction return policy. The course was offered through Home Inspection Institute. BEWARE dealing with this company! I paid for the course through PayPal and it took them 2 WEEKS to even think about shipping the course to me! After receiving the course, which included a basic course and advanced course, it consisted of 2 cd’s and a video that lasted all of about 2 hours, which they charged $750.00 for. I could have gotten this much training by watching a single episode of This Old House! After writing to them and telling them that I was not satisfied with the course and wanted to return it, they charged me a $75.00 re-stocking fee! Aparently, even though they claim a 100% satisfaction policy, their return policy includes a disclaimer from them that states that if you open the box, they will charge a 10% re-stocking fee! How are you going to know the crap that they are trying to pass off as “complete training” unless you examine it?! This business obviously makes their money through deceptive advertising. They got me, but I am trying to warn any other people considering a career in Home Inspection to do your homework and remember that there are a lot of TOTAL RIP-OFF companies out there! is certainly one of them in my opinion!

Mark -

For what its worth, on things like CD’s, software, etc many companies won’t even take back their stuff at ALL unless its defective AND then they’ll just trade for another. Most of the companies I buy tools and other stuff from have a “restocking fee” if I return something EVEN with a customer refund satisfaction warranty. Its just the way they do business.


Only wanted to add this…many people open up software and COPY it and at that point the company will loose money ( not saying YOU would do it…just as an example ) and people share it…

Now I can’t comment on the value…I have sure taken some courses in my time that were not worth it…but it is a " Buyer Beware" market and sad to say I can understand their 10% policy.

I also had another company that sold pet products, we always had a restocking fee if returned…just part of doing business in a “wal-mart” type world…smaller companies can’t offer the lure of a big box store.

You are 100% right and free to give your opinion…and it may or maynot help others…but in the end I can only comment on the restock fee and that is a standard you will see on most all software provider companies.

Sorry to hear the course was not good…I have never heard of the company myself.

A company has a right to protect their investment and this is usually why they have the return fee process.

I could of posted the same post a few years ago, except I didn’t ask for a refund.:o :o

I’m going to put a different spin on this from my experience with this or a similar company.
About six years ago I signed up for a similar course. May have been the same company???

I also Thought what a rip off because I knew it all since I was a contractor for 25 yrs prior.
After taking another home study course and then taking a class room course I found that I didn’t have a clue about the inspection business and the guys that sold me a { rip off} course were not as bad as I thought.

The fact was I did not learn alot about HI from that course, because I thought I knew it all, after looking more into the profession thru HI orgs, other HI courses, attending local HI org seminars and talking to local HIs it showed me that there is no compairsom between being a contractor and HI.

To this day some of the information provided by that first course still plays a role in my business… not to mention with me seeing the light that the information was minuimul and going out and obtaining additional HI training it made me a more informed inspector than if I would only gone out and hang my shingle as a home inspector with the basic training and understanding of this profession provided from that one company.

The motto of the story:) :slight_smile: . Believing that one source of information, IE a HI training course, free information provided by HI org or? is all you need and be not willing to spend a few hours and $s for that information will not give you the full story/ information that you need to be successful.
Get all the information you can from as many sources/ different people in this profession that you can, doing this will only help make you a better inspector no matter what the cost.

Well Mark, you may have not learned much about Home Inspecting, but sounds like you did get a good lesson from the School of Hard Knocks.

I don’t know where you are from but was there not something in the form of a school near you? You can probably learn more from here than any school.

Thank goodness it was only that, somewhere in here some guy got taken for more than that.

But if you need more information about how not to get jacked by a school, just send me $5.00 and I’ll get it to you as soon as I can.

Good Luck and stay on the board


Stay on board. Most of what you need you can find here.

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As president of the Professional Home Inspection Institute, I wanted to personally reply to this post. I spoke with Mark Taylor last night, and he said he was planning on removing the post, and was happy with his refund.

Our course is not a video course; it is an interactive computer course, provided on CD ROMS. The bonus DVD, which I would agree is similar to a TV show, is not the course material. At PHII, we agree that students cannot learn from videos (as the primary learning tool). Mark said he browsed the course material, but only watched the DVD. We are an approved trainning provider for most states and organizations. All of our approvals are listed on the credentials page of our web site.

Students with email and Internet access can start the course within minutes of ordering.

Our refund policy has always been posted on our web site, and is the best in the training business. The 10% fee is used to cover non-refundable credit card or paypal fees (~3-4% or more, depending on the card), we have costs for retesting, reviewing, and processing returns. We also have shipping costs. The 10% fee (in this case $75) does not cover our expenses of a return.

For students that are not happy with the 10%, we have always refunded the remaining amount. Mark was refunded the remaining 10% either the same time or close to the time of this post. (before I knew of his posting).

We have sponsored free gifts on the NACHI site, and provide NACHI members a 5% discount on all our products.

We have an excellent reputation, and have never had a complaint registered with the Better Business Bureau.

Best Regards,
Robb Graham
Professional Home Inspection Institute

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If you are serious and want to learn the basics about home inspection, try this for starters.

I hope you’re not on dial-up

Personally…I have a MOLD CLASS by these people and I was very satisfied with the material…and from someone that writes material I think it taught me all I care to know about MOLD at this time.

Can’t comment on the other things…but again I found the mold class to be fine.

Thanks for the information and links.

It says a little about the company that he came here to answer the accusations. Yes, most companies do charge a “restocking fee”, etc. But I like the idea of a company who will break their own rules to make sure the consumer is taken care of…

As a Board Member I reviewed the course work when they applied for approval with the Kentucky Board of Home Inspectors and was impressed with the amount of information and professional delivery of it provided in the course. We were very hard on course providers, especially internet or home base providers because we wanted to be sure students were getting their monies worth.

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I aquired my knowledge through IFREC, I recieved information on the other companies through the internet and mail regarding HI training. Those companies probably would have taught me the same amount of information but I just felt more comfortable attending a class and listening to an individual instead of my computer. This way, if I had a question I could annoyingly ask the instructor until I understood.

I purchased Robb’s course 4 years ago before I started home inspections. I have to say, although at first I thought the course was a bit lax, after I got into it, I did get an education from a home inspectors perspective. Robb seems to be adding and improving the courses and material constantly, and the program offered now is pretty comprehensive.

What I believe is above and beyond a vendors responsibility, is the fact that they always let you back into the program and new material for tune ups. I have logged into their system numerous times to brush up and when a new password is needed, it is always supplied.


I also used PHII…I thought it was fine…and the folks were great…

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I have received several compliments regarding Robb’s course this past year. One in particular was quite glowing. I’ve never received any complaints.

Thanks for posting Robb, and thanks for offering the NACHI member discount.

I used PHII also. Robb was great during the Ky licensing requirement period. I talked with Robb daily on the progress of his course being approved by the Ky Home Inspectors Board, he responded quickly, gave me additional course information at no charge (manufactured housing) and even offered to discount greatly at his expense the in-class training if his online course was not approved.

Robb provided outstanding customer service, his team was great and he was able to get the course approved for Ky. saving me thousands more in costs for one of the local schools.

This post also reminds me of how many calls we get from people that don’t read BUT cruise.

We get at least 3-5 calls a week from people a week asking when our next class is?? **OR **how much does the 6 day class cost?? Etc.

They’ve been on our web site, got our phone number, called and everything they’ve asked about is right on the web site.

Same with customers. They might call and ask if the Furnace is OK since its over 30 years old. I ask if they read the report. They say yes.

I then direct them to go get out the summary page, where it says:
Repair OR Replace Furnace” after reading all comments on Heating Page.

Then if you go to the Heating Page it says:

“Furnace is approximately 36 +/- yrs old. It has exceeded the safe life-span for this type of unit, and long term service is not likely. It is heavily corroded, rusted, and shows many signs of past water leakage through the unit from the cooling coil above. It had an abnormal flame pattern and coloration. Two of the four burners were covered with over 2” of debris and scale. When turned on the flame rolled out the front of the unit and singed the control wiring. Most of the heat exchanger or burn chamber was not visible due to being covered with large pieces of scale (metal degradation and break-down of the heat exchanger walls). We recommend that PRIOR TO CLOSING a licensed and competent heating contractor wirebrush the heat exchanger and burn chamber, clean and service the unit, then verify the FULL integrity of the heat exchanger AND proper operation of the **ENTIRE **system. Servicing and cleaning may reveal hidden defects".

I don’t actually say it, but my thoughts are along the line of … “I wonder if their mother had any that lived” **OR **" Yep, 1 beer short of a 6-pack".

Nothing wrong with this company they provide a good start into the inspection business. I took their course 8 years ago and had no problem whatsoever! Anytime I ever had a question they were on top of it & replied very quickly. I would recommend them to getting started. It is a starting point to get you ready to take the State exam.

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