Handling Complaints

OK here is a topic that no other home inspection web site that you visited talks about.  Do you think all of us home inspectors are perfect?  Do you think that those of us who have completed over a thousand inspections in our career have never received a complaint or a call back?  Or have been sued?  Or had to refund the home inspection fee?  Or had to replace or repair a system or component that was overlooked or missed during the inspection, or damaged something in a Seller's house during the inspection?  We have!  Yes that's right - we are not perfect and we have made mistakes.   Now here is what really sets apart the professional home inspection company that you should be working with from the the un-professional ones:  how that company handles complaints.  In fact, if you really want to test the integrity of your potential home inspector that you are looking to hire, ask them how many complaints they've had.  If they answer none - they either haven't done many inspections (which is a red flag of course) or they are lying to you.  Now some inspectors will justify in their head that a "call back" they received was not a complaint because they weaseled out of it under a technicality.  I bet the customer was still un-happy about it.  

An easy way to check for complaints is to read the one star google reviews.  We have 1 at this time:

Past Customer:
I used this service in 2016 and the inspection said the house was in good condition. in 2018 I am trying to sell my house and suddenly the inspector for the new buyer found $20000 worth of pre-existing condition that need to be fixed. cost direct lost of $20000 on my house.

Our Reply:
Hi, sorry to hear that - of course hearing this for the first time on a google review is really not helpful on several levels. For instance, you should have contacted us directly after you received your buyers inspection report as we could have certainly helped you with it. Perhaps your result would have been different. Feel free to contact us directly if you would like to discuss further.

Un-fortunately online reviews is the only way we know of to 3rd party verify inspector complaints - but take them with a grain of salt.  We've read all of the 1 star google reviews for inspectors operating in NE Ohio and though they are entertaining, we doubt that they are fair and accurate.  The reason for this is that there are standards and limitations to every home inspection (and there are 2 sides to every story) - and some buyers are just upset that their particular issue was outside of those parameters and probably reacted that way based on the inspector's response to them or they just decided to blind side the inspector with a negative review because they have the victim mentality.  Moving on....

So how does Detailed Home Inspections handle complaints?   Well the complaint needs to be communicated to us within 7 days of discovery and we need to be given the opportunity to go back on site to view the issue, whether it is ourselves or one of our trusted trades partners.  If we agree it was an accessible issue according to the ASHI Standard that we failed to address, then we try to make it right by repairing or replacing the system or component at our cost.  Here is a list of complaints over the past decade that we felt responsible for and paid to have corrected or we refunded the inspection fee:

-leaking and damaged garage attic roof edge (repaired)

-leaking roof section (repaired)

-fused sub panel shorting out (replaced)

-no power to a few outlets and some wiring issues (fee refunded)

-missed a cracked oven range top (replaced)

-not working permanent heat source in an interior room (replaced)

If we agree to refund the inspection fee we do so on the condition that a mutual release is signed.

We endeavor to assist our clients with issues discovered after they moved in that were not noted on the inspection report because they were outside of the inspection scope by going back on site for free to see how we can help.  We have done this several times and because we know a lot of trades people, we can usually provide them with good direction.  

If we do not agree with the call back or complaint claim we will explain why.  If the client disagrees, then they obviously have the right to hire a lawyer and sue us.  Which of course only makes the lawyers happy.

Our philosophy is that we are more concerned with our regional reputation with our past clients and referal sources than getting sued.





Cleveland, OH Home Inspector

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