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Fraudulent Home Inspector

Published: November 9, 2013
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DEAR BARRY: I recently purchased a home that has turned into a nightmare of undisclosed problems. The home inspector, who was chosen by the Realtor, is totally dishonest, as I'll explain.

The home inspection included environmental tests for radon, mold, and water analysis. No problems were reported. Recently, I contacted the laboratories whose names were on the inspection report. All of these companies sent letters stating that they have no records of performing tests for my address.

When I emailed the home inspector and asked for an explanation, he responded that he used test kits provided by those companies but that the tests were actually performed by local companies. When I asked for the names of those companies, he said that he had a “handshake” relationship with those labs and was not permitted to disclose their names.

Clearly, this inspector is operating fraudulently. I sent all of this information to the Realtor and her broker, but they have not responded. So I called the district attorney's office and they said I needed to file a police report first. But I am afraid to do so, as the inspector could serve jail time, and he knows where I live. What can I do?

Robert

DEAR ROBERT: Your situation takes first place for the most egregious home inspector performance that has come to my attention. If this inspector has done all that you describe, it's time to get out the tar and feathers. All kidding aside, this is first-hand fraud that needs to be reported to the authorities.

Letting the matter slide for fear of retribution merely assures that other homebuyers will be damaged as you have been. If this were a common criminal, such as a drug dealer, your fear of reprisal would be understandable. But people who commit business fraud are far less likely to be dangerous. This concern, however, is something you should discuss with the police before filing a complaint.

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