ORLANDO, Fla. - A single mom claims a home inspector failed to uncover a hidden fire hazard that would have cost her a small fortune to repair.
She said it forced her to cancel the sale, so she lost her new home deposit and much more. She turned to Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich for answers.
Hollie Phillips packed furniture from the home she sold into a storage pod. She couldn't move into the house she planned to buy since that contract turned ugly.
“Who do you blame?” Ulrich asked.
“Home Pro Inspections for failing to do what I hired them to do,” Phillips replied.
She paid a $2,000 deposit to buy the house then had 10 days to inspect it. The inspection report didn't find any serious issues, so the home sale was supposed to proceed as planned.
Phillips’ insurance agent raised the first red flag about the inspection. The agent told Phillips some items in the inspection report didn't make any sense.
Worried about hidden problems, Phillips hired a second inspection company.
The new inspector uncovered serious issues, the most glaring, half the house had aluminum wiring.
“It's a fire hazard and it's not safe,” Phillips said.
It's single strand aluminum wiring and it’s considered a fire risk by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“As a single mom, that's most important, is my children and their safety,” Phillips said.
She could not afford thousands to rewire the home, so she canceled the sale, even though her inspection period had ended.
Her realtor, Jenna Barto, is also her mom.
“We're out of it. We're too late, and we can't walk away unscathed,” Barto said.
“They kept the deposit,” Ulrich asked.
“Yes, they kept $2000,” Barto said.
Phillips thinks she could lose $2,000 more in expenses.
Ulrich went to the Home Pro Inspections office in Debary.
The company owner called Ulrich back and said half the home is copper wiring, and that's why his guy missed the aluminum. But it was a mistake, so he sent Phillips a $500 check, which was the cost of the inspection. And that's the remedy included in the contract.
“Does that begin to cover what happened to you?” Ulrich asked Phillips.
“Not even close. Not even close,” she replied.
Since Phillips first contacted Action 9, the sellers M&L Investment Group LLC, that flipped the house, did give her a $1,000 refund.
She still stands to lose a few thousand over the botched sale.
The investment company owner told Ulrich since it was a flip, he never lived in the house and there was nothing to disclose. He also claimed, his contractors who renovated the house never told him.
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