The inspector extorted a situation in order to secure a monetary gain.
On 9/26/2013 the inspector **** ***** came to my house to perform a termite inspection required to close on the purchase of the home. There was a post on the front porch that was in the process of being replaced as it was previously surrounded by brick. The brick was removed and it was obvious that some rot and moisture damage had taken place over the course of the many years that the posts had the brick facade. The post showed no signs of active termites and the inspector agreed to this but insisted that he was going to put it on his report and require a $600 treatment because he had "seen once before that the termites may be all the way up the 9' post and into the header of the porch." When I told him that I would open up the header of the porch so we could inspect it immediately he refused and continued in an aggrevated tone to insist that he was going to require a $600 treatment knowing fully that his inspection was a prerequisite to the closing of the sale of the house. He indicated that even though there were no visible termites in the post and no evidence of recent termite activity there may still be termites in the ground. When I indicated that there were termites in the ground everywhere and asked if he would require a $600 treatment for every home in the Tennessee Valley he actually said that "if he could get away with it he would." This gentlemen show an extreme authority issue and was obviously extorting the situation in order to gain his $600 treatment. I personally do not have to pay the $600 dollars as this cost will go to the seller, but I am furious that this is the way he treats customers and I still will have to pay the fee for his "inspection". This business practice is highly unethical and I do not feel that they should be rewarded for treating paying customers in this fashion.
I would like to have my inspection fee waived and would like to have see that the seller is treated fairly by having a competant inspector come to the house for a second opinion instead of allowing this company to extort money from this type of situation by requiring a $600 treatment when there is no evidence of active termites and remediation of the rotted post is already underway.
Good morning. I'm sorry to hear that you think one of our inspectors misrepresented a situation for financial gain. I assure you that is NOT what happened. **** ***** has been with our company for over two years and is a very experience inspector. As with all our inspectors, he is trained to follow the rules and regulations governed by the State for our industry. In your complaint, you mentioned that the damage to the post was moisture and rot. While Mr. ***** agrees that there was some moisture damage there, he also noted previous termite damage as well. What he tried to explain to you is that we are required by law to report this termite damage. In many cases where we find previous termite damage, there are not active termites present. That's what Mr. ***** was trying to explain. You simply cannot remove the damaged wood and expect the termites not to return. Even though you were replacing the post, the termites would simply come back and attack the new post. Without treatment, there would be nothing to prevent this from happening. That is why Mr. ***** recommended the treatment for your home. We cannot offer a clean bill of health for a home when we are aware of previous damage and have no evidence of treatment. Just to be certain of the treatment he recommended to you, Mr. ***** asked our termite supervisor to come out to your home and inspect the damage as well. Mr. **** ******* came out that same day and inspected your home. He confirmed the damage was in fact termite damage. Our letters and treatments are governed by the State and we are unable to manipulate those results and recommendations to accommodate the homeowner, the realtor, or the buyer. Again, I apologize that you believe you were being taken advantage of, but as you can see from our response, we were simply following the rules governed to us by the State.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I again want to state that I have nothing to gain from this situation, in fact my situation benefits from receiving a termite treatment at the expense of the seller as it is their responsibility to pay for treatment prior to the sale of the house. However, I continue to argue that the situation IS a misrepresentation by the inspector in order for your company to secure a financial gain by taking advantage of a homeowner needing to sell their home. Your argument states that "even though I am replacing the post the termites would simply come back and attack the new post" indicating that the termites were present. As I previously indicated, the post had recently been covered with a brick veneer which led to a condition of a moist environment condusive to a habitat suitable for termites. Seeing how the brick veneer had been removed and there was no longer a moist environment, even your inspector, Mr. ****** agreed that there were no termites present. Furthermore the fact that he indicated that "if he could get away with it, he would require every home in the Tennessee Valley to be treated" indicates to me that he has no interest in serving the public, but rather that he is interested in making money in any way "he can get away with." However, this argument was presented in the original post and I would like to move on to a more recent development that furthers my argument that Mr. ***** and by proxy Kirkland's Pest Control has taken advantage of the situation for financial gain. The treatment that was required by Kirkland in order to satisfy the mortgage company was performed today by a very professional individual. He spent his time performing a very thorough treatment and I have no complaints about his work. However, the reason I bring this up is that even with his many years of experience and knowledge of termites, the technician indicated that there were no termites present in the post and that it was highly unlikely that the termites had moved up the post into the header as your "experienced inspector" claimed and thus did not indicate that the post was of concern. As a matter of fact, he was so unconcerned with the post in question which started this whole situation requiring a $600 treatment that HE DIDN'T EVEN TREAT THE POST! Now the only reason I put the last sentence in all caps is not to yell, but to bring attention to the fact that there was soo little concern on behalf of the treatment technician that he didn't even feel the need to treat the post even though it was the whole reason for the $600 treatment which was deemed required by your company in order for the sale of the house to be completed. I want to finish by saying again that your inspector, Mr. ****** was aware that the sale of the house hinged on his assessment and that he used this information to his advantage in order to require an expensive treatment based on an area that obviously showed no current termite activity with no signs of an environment condusive to termite activity and that the area was of such little concern to your experienced treatment technician that he didn't even treat the area in question and that I have nothing to gain from this complaint seeing how the seller is the one being forced to pay for the treatment. I completely understand that it is your job to defend your employee but it is very very difficult to simply look past the evidence seeing how your inspector indicated he wanted every single house to be required a treatment if he could get away with it and your treatment technician did not feel that there was any concern or need to even treat the area in question. I do not think this is a fair or just way to conduct business and do not appreciate being treated this way.
Final Business Response
Mr. **********, thank you again for your comments. We do appreciate your feedback.
I would like to address three different points of your complaint.
First - **** ******** comment about every home being treated for termites. This comment has been taken out of context. Mr. ***** was simply making a joke and did not expect it to be taken literal. However, any inspector would agree that there would be much less liability in their jobs IF every house was treated.
Second - Treatment of the Post. Mr. ******* the technician, indicated that the post was not treated because of the concern by the homeowner about standing liquid and her cats. If he had sprayed the posts with the liquid, there was a small possibility of standing chemical. The homeowner did not want this done for fear that the cats might drink the liquid. Mr. ****** is returning to the home this morning with chemical FOAM to treat the posts. The foam will not leave any standing liquid behind.
Third - No evidence of active termites. Although the terminology of our industry is a little hard to understand sometimes, just because we do not see termites, does NOT mean they are not present. By State Law, if we see termite evidence (whether there is an active termite infestation or not), and there is NO signs of treatment, we are required by law to treat the facility. Termite evidence could be a stain on a foundation wall, shelter tubes, or physical damage to the structure. IF there had been signs of treatment made to the home by another pest control company (drill holes to the foundation, drill holes in slabs), we would NOT be required by the State to treat the home. However, there was no such signs.
Termites are not always visible on inspection, but could still be active. They often reside in block cavities of the foundation, voids between block foundation and siding, cavities of the piers, dirt filled slabs such as porches and/or garages. Most crawlspace homes have less than 50% visible inspection access. Therefore, we must follow the laws and regulations set forth by the State of Alabama and treat the property under these circumstances.