Reading Bryant’s thread was good information about his experience with Small Claims, I was going to reply in post, but thought it was too off topic.
For many of us who have been around the block a few times, I thought I would share the following thoughts.
After reading the post about a small claims experience with a fellow inspector I thought “At least the Home Warranty Company wasn’t involved :-)”
That being said, I’ve had more than a few GOOD experiences with Home Warranty Co’s…
I’ve also been told by AC contractors and Plumbing contractors that some of the HW’s tell the techs that basically the warranty is a “foot in the door” for them to sell their services.
That being said, the really funny phone calls are when the complaint/claim was handled directly by the reps from the company ( meaning not a service provider/contractor). They seem to be trained to tell Clients that someone/anyone else besides the HW CO are responsible for the problem, such as their AC compressor failed because of a bad contactor and the “Inspector should have seen that” and “If he/she didn’t take apart the AC Condensor Housing :roll:, they didn’t really perform much of an inspection”
By the time the Customer calls, it takes a little “explaining” to the customer to remind them what service we provide as inspectors and the “coverage” they purchased from a Home Warranty.
Quite frankly, if it didn’t work when I was there or looked like it was falling apart, I don’t blame anyone for not paying for it. “You bought it, it’s yours!!”
The tricky part is: A 20 year HVAC Coil that seemed to respond to thermostat and provide cool air… then fails 6 months after the inspection. I know that I explain a couple of different ways about service life etc… but the “undoing” after a bad HW tech isn’t any fun either.
I’ve learned a couple things on only the few (thank goodness!!) calls like this I’ve received in a decade:
1.) Have the report handy when discussing these matters
2.) Discuss frankly/kindly/professionally about what’s going on, the client may not be calling to “attack you”, you may be the only person “in the loop” that they trust and are looking for help. If that’s not the case and sometimes even if it is, get over there and take a look at what’s going on and talk to them.
All of that being said, It’s important that we explain what we provide. I also think that the product, HW’s are being mis-represented by a small minority of agents as a “selling tool” and an argument against our findings as Home Inspectors, making our duties as HI’s and the HW co’s more difficult.