Since I wrote this last Blog post about Home Inspectors selling off your personal information a new privacy movement has started among ethical Home Inspectors. It is a great movement and a huge step in the right direction to help protect your personal and private information.
[tab: The Client Fidelity Pledge]
In a previous Blog post I talked about a major problem with Home Inspectors profiting from selling off your personal and private information, most times without you even knowing the severity of your compromised personal information. Since then a few Home Inspectors have gathered together to start a movement against this less than acceptable practice. This group of individuals have created a Client Fidelity Pledge for Home Inspectors and you can read about it here www.TrustYourInspector.org . It is a simple concept that ethical Home Inspectors will agree to abide by this pledge that they will not sell, barter, or receive kick-backs for providing your personal information to vendors who will use it to pester you to buy their products, services, or use it for other profitable reasons.
To understand this Client Fidelity Pledge concept we first need to remember that no government entity can successfully legislate ethical behavior. All they can do is write feel good laws or rules we must follow. In that way if a problem arises they can use those rules or laws to then punish the unethical behavior. This means that the unethical person will forever practice unethical behavior until they get caught. That’s like the old saying behind con men and thieves that “It is only illegal WHEN you get caught!”. Unfortunately until then they leave a trail of victims in their wake. Most times these victims have little possibility of redress either due to the con men/thieves skill at covering their tracks or the cost the victim would have to pay to pursue legal or criminal actions against them.
So by now you’re probably wondering if the laws/rules can’t stop the con men and thieves then how is this new Client Fidelity Pledge going to help you? That is an excellent question with two very simple answers that are the premise of this pledge. The first is that those who take this pledge can be singled out for their willingness to publicly announce they will help maintain your confidentiality by not attempting to profit by selling off your personal information. If you think about it for a minute why would anyone violate your trust and hand over your personal information unless there is a profit to be made from doing so? Those Home Inspectors who distinguish themselves by signing the pledge can be found on that WEB site above or can also be identified by the approved use of the logo you can see on that WEB site.
“So what they sign a pledge, big deal, how does that help me?”. Well now publicly signing that pledge, using the logo, and advertising with this is where the second benefit comes in for you. Remember you can’t legislate ethical behavior, and if you do have a problem with the Inspector that signed this pledge and advertised it then you literally have them by the very short hairs! It is a sad thing to say but many crooks weasel out of trouble when it becomes an issue of ethics. Ethics laws are generally only written for licensed Professionals. Is your Home Inspector in a licensing State for Home Inspectors? Even if they are, did their license requirements/laws/rules dictate ethical behavior? Even if they did, are those requirements/rules/laws defined well enough to cover this case? The key is this last question which invariably comes down to “NO”, or the ethical requirements/rules/laws that might have covered it are so vague it would be easy for them to slip away depending on the circumstances.
So where do the “short hairs” come into play? Simple, and it all deals with a requirement that every business has to abide by and that is deceptive advertising rules/laws/requirements. By signing this pledge, and advertising they did, the Home Inspector is an immediate target for deceptive advertising if they violate the pledge. For you that means your avenues for handling the problem moved from shades of gray to black and white. There are many possibilities from simple professional license repercussions, easy win civil litigation, and depending on the case even potential criminal action as well. Inspectors that sign this pledge are told this and now take this risk if they decide to not honor the pledge. Any ethical and Honest Inspector is just not going to violate that pledge! The Home Inspector is aware of how severe the repercussions can be if they do.
It is unfortunate that that there is even a need for something such as The Client Fidelity Pledge. However the sale and use of your personal information is a huge business with a lot of money to be made off of one person’s personal information! Plenty of businesses are willing to pay Home Inspectors for your information. Sadly many Home Inspectors are willing to violate their client’s trust and sell that information for their own personal gain. So when you do search for your Home Inspector check to see if they abide by The Client Fidelity Pledge, or at the very least are willing to provide you something in writing expressing the very same requirements this pledge was created for.
Be aware, protect your personal information, and good luck on any of your endeavors whether it is buying a home, buying anything, or even hiring someone for a service.
[tab: Links and References]
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