Protecting the Private Information of Home Buyers

Posted in the Real Estate Forum

Jim

Ava, MO

#1 Jul 3, 2013
Under the guise of "helping an inspector to grow his business", alarm systems salesmen have involved themselves with the home inspection industry in such a way that home buyers who hire a home inspector in certain instances have, at the same time, opened their doors to every provider of home alarm systems and a variety of sales tactics --- some legitimate, some not --- to sell them a home alarm system.

Inspectors who enter into certain contracts with certain vendors for products and services that - on their surfaces - appear to be inspection related are required to add language to their inspection agreements that, when signing the inspection agreement to hire the inspector to inspect a home, home buyers are also waiving their rights of protection from any "no call list" they may have enrolled in to protect themselves from unwanted solicitations. Their home inspection agreements are also, under this language, blanket permission for their personal information to be provided to unnamed third parties of infinite number for unnamed purposes, indefinitely.

In exchange for this, home inspectors are being offered compensation in various forms. In all cases, inspectors are allowed to access products and services that appear to be inspection related at deep discounts in exchange for meeting or exceeding quotas for minimum numbers of clients and private data that the inspector provides to alarm systems lead brokers. In some cases, inspectors are paid cash kickbacks (referred to as "commissions") when the home buyer purchases an alarm system from one of the providers.

Some vendors of various home inspection products and services are now linking together and linking themselves directly to alarm systems salesmen so that private information from participating inspectors can be immediately gleaned from home inspection reports, inspector scheduling systems and various other products and sold directly to alarm systems lead brokers.

Attorney generals offices and BBBs from around the country are being buried in complaints from home owners who are on "no call lists" but still being hounded by telemarketers from alarm systems sales companies and door-to-door salesmen using a variety of deceptive means to install these systems. When it becomes public knowledge that home inspectors are their main sources for contact information and for the means of providing the "no call list" override --- the home inspection industry is destined to bear the same stigma and bad will being generated.

There is a need at the state level to require licensed home inspectors to be prohibited from providing private information about their clients to any third party for any type of compensation, directly or indirectly.

There should be no contract language in an inspection agreement that allows anyone outside of the real estate transaction to have access to any information that the inspector gathers in the course of serving his client.

There should be no contract language in an inspection agreement that allows any unnamed third party the ability to telemarket or otherwise solicit the home inspector's client or that can be construed to override any "no call list" that the client has used to protect himself from solicitors.

Home inspectors should be prohibited from contracting with any company or vendor that purchases or otherwise uses or transfers his clients' personal information to someone else for the purpose of selling home alarm systems.

This needs to be done immediately to protect the consumer as well as the real estate industry.

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