Is it illegal for a Home Inspector to write his WEB site or other advertising to make it sound like a large company when it is not?

It is a common and deceitful advertising technique when Home Inspectors try to make their one man company sound like some large multi-Inspector company.  But how can you tell how many Home Inspectors actually are working in that company?

[tab: The Problem]

For various reasons I have had the opportunity to view many, many WEB sites of other Texas Home Inspectors.  Quite a few of these sites try to make their one many company sound like a much larger and important company using various phrases such as these and others like them.  Notice the method of pluralizing words and the use of plural versions of pronouns.

  • All of our Inspectors ……..
  • The Inspectors in this company …….
  • We are the best Inspectors ……….

The whole concept is that these Home Inspectors seem to think if they sound like a big company then more people will use their services.  However the fact is that this is not only a deceptive advertising technique but also completely illegal!  Licensed Inspectors in Texas are required to follow rules and laws regarding how they operate.  These can be found at the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) WEB site HERE.  Of importance to this deceptive advertising is the following rule.

Section 535.221

(d) Websites containing advertising by one or more inspectors must include the license number of each licensed person whose name or assumed business name appears on the website. For the purposes of an inspector’s or inspection company’s own website, it is sufficient for the license number (s) to appear on a single prominent page of the website, such as the main page or the “About Us” page. For the purposes of social networking websites, including websites through which licensees may transmit electronic messages to other members of the same site, it is sufficient for license number(s) to appear on the inspector’s main or profile page.

Sometimes our rules are not as clear as we would like but this one is very clear.  All licensed Home Inspectors in Texas are required to provide TREC with any name or names they are “Doing Business As” (DBA).  I have yet to encounter a single licensed Home Inspector that is not either a registered corporation or an unregistered corporation but using a DBA name for their company.  Also any Inspector that owns the company or performs inspections under a company’s name must have their name and license number listed on the advertising for that company.

Even though the rules are clear I frequently find this deceptive and illegal advertising occurring on Home Inspectors WEB sites.  I even find WEB sites where the company owner does not list their name and license number.

You might be wondering “What’s the big deal if the Inspector does this type of advertising”?  The big deal is twofold!

  1. If the Inspector is engaging in deceptive and illegal advertising techniques then can you really trust them to even be legal and honest when they deal with you and your home inspection?  Businesses and the people that own/run them who engage in deceptive and illegal practices have no integrity!
  2. If the Inspector is engaging in deceptive and illegal advertising techniques then they either do not bother to read their own rules and laws or are just to plain ignorant to understand simple wording.  In either case how can you possibly expect to receive even the minimum required inspection by law?  If they don’t read the rules and laws how can they properly perform their job?

So how do you check to see just how many Home Inspectors actually work at that supposed large inspection company?  It is very easy as all you have to do is run a simple search on the TREC WEB site to verify the name of the company and what licensed Inspectors work there.  The search function is at the top of almost all TREC WEB pages located HERE.  At the top of the page, under the tabs, is a blue button that says “Search Licensee Info/Education”.  Put the company name, or part of it, in the search box, select the “Inspector” function, and click on the blue button.  If the company owner/Inspector properly registered his company name with TREC it will show up there.

You can try my company name “PS Inspection” just to see how it works.  As you can see I am the only Inspector in this company.  If a company has multiple Inspectors working for them then all of their names will appear in the search as every Inspector is required to list the company they are working for and the DBA they are using.

So what should you do if you run into one of these Home Inspection companies that are deceptively and illegally advertising this way?  Just don’t use their services plain and simple!  The only way to stop this type of activity is to use the pressure of your dollars, or the lack of them.  So don’t be another victim of deceptive and illegal advertising.

[tab: Links and References]

PS Inspection & Property Services LLC is a full service home inspection and light commercial inspection company servicing the entire Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.  We strive to for the satisfaction of our customers in everything we do.  Our services offerings include:

Buyer home inspections
New Home Warranty Inspections
New Home Draw Inspections
Home Maintenance Inspections
Home Remodeling Inspections
Investor Inspections
Rental And Renter Inspections
Infrared Thermal Imaging Inspections
Energy Audit Inspections
Whole Inspections Or Inspections Customized To Your Needs

If you have an inspection need we can customize an inspection for it.  Please visit our main site at PS Inspection & Property Service LLC.

 

This entry was posted in Consumer Information & Protection, Inspection Rules, Laws, and Reporting. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.