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Is the invoice confidential? #206298 06/15/12 01:00 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 782
BigB Offline OP
I have a situation where we did some work for a client that was selling the home. The work was requested by the buyer, on the his home inspector's recommendation. As proof of what was done my client submitted a copy of the invoice to the buyers representative.

My invoice included some text including a short explanation of why a certain request could not be done without making a major change to the system.

For whatever reason, it appears that the buyer's representative received an edited version of the text on his copy, which actually makes my company look less than honest, and is asking me to provide a copy of the original invoice. I cannot reach my client, and even though the missing text makes me look bad I do not feel I have the right to share this information without their permission.

What do you think?

Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
Re: Is the invoice confidential? [Re: BigB] #206299 06/15/12 02:09 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
The seller has already mislead the buyer and you are correct to be careful.

Electricians don't have a confidentiality issue, nor a responsibility to provide documents to anyone who asks.

Maybe tell the buyer's rep that the seller isn't giving you instructions to provide a copy of the original invoice to the buyer. You might even suggest that they could have the home inspector return to verify what work was done.

Re: Is the invoice confidential? [Re: twh] #206300 06/15/12 02:24 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 782
BigB Offline OP
Thanks for the reply. The home inspector already did go back, that is what started this whole thing. The work requests were not complete and without my text on the invoice explaining why it makes it appear as though I am dishonest or incompetent.

Re: Is the invoice confidential? [Re: BigB] #206301 06/15/12 08:02 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
Make an appointment to see a lawyer.

Re: Is the invoice confidential? [Re: BigB] #206305 06/15/12 12:02 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,604
gfretwell Online Content
If the buyer addresses you in any way you have the right to describe your work and explain what the situation is. The truth is always defensible. Lies are a liability.

Greg Fretwell
Re: Is the invoice confidential? [Re: gfretwell] #206319 06/16/12 12:48 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 782
BigB Offline OP
It looks as though the seller has been pressured (threatened?) by the buyer's agent enough to where they are now going to do the right thing and pay to have it done. Thanks for everyone's advice.

Re: Is the invoice confidential? [Re: BigB] #206322 06/16/12 12:54 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Ethics and realtors? Now, there's a contradiction.

Oddly enough, there are already plenty of laws on this topic. The short version is that the seller has a duty to fully disclose the conditions of the property.

OK, so there's some wriggle room, and the "I didn't know" card gets played a lot. Also, the consequences of getting caught are rather minor, often amounting to no more than undoing the deal.

Think of 'ethics laws' as 'legal popcorn.' Lots of form, little substance, with the effect of actually helping the dishonest to set up his mark.

It's rather hard to play that card, though, when the seller has work done as the result of an inspection and at the buyers' request. The buyer is entitled to full disclosure, and that means he has a right to the complete, unedited invoice.

I once dealt with this exact situation by presenting the invoice to the realtor; by law the realtor represents the seller. The seller was furious, claiming I had killed the deal ... but I simply pointed out that I had delivered the report to HIS agent. Naturally, I did so knowing full well that the realtor was aware of the 'full disclosure' requirements, and wasn't about to risk his license for the seller.

For me, it comes down to the honor code: I will not lie, cheat, or steal; now will I tolerate those who do. That means I do not assist a scam by sticking my head in the sand.

Any assertion of 'confidentiality' is in conflict with 'full disclosure.' Laws trump contracts. Incomplete or misleading statement might open the seller to a slander / libel claim, as they can harm you.

Yet, at the end of the day, we're electricians .... not lawyers. We don't get paid for debating philosophy. That's why so many of us run like mad when we hear the word 'realtor.'

Re: Is the invoice confidential? [Re: BigB] #206452 07/04/12 05:37 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 81
bigpapa Offline
gawd I hate residential work.

Re: Is the invoice confidential? [Re: BigB] #206455 07/04/12 09:48 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,393
Trumpy Offline
Personally, having been in your shoes before, I'd not give away too much information, especially to either the seller or their rep.
Regardless of wether a Home inspector has been in there or not, it is up to YOU to satisfy yourself that everything is as it should be, in your eyes.

With the way real estate is the world over, "Get'R'Sold" is the common motto.

A funny thing happened over here 2 weeks ago, with respect to real estate agents, in that they are no longer allowed to make "false claims about the integrity of a house or other such dwelling, or indeed embellish conditions that did not exist before".

The REINZ (Real Estate Institute of NZ), vehemently opposed these changes.
Which pretty much means, they make up all the lies they can to get the selling dollar.

I ask you folks, is ethics a little stamp next to the coffee machine they read every morning and then go on their merry way?

Re: Is the invoice confidential? [Re: BigB] #206482 07/08/12 02:55 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Alan Belson Offline
I'm of the opposite opinion. If you are confident you have behaved honestly, publish and be damned. Winston Churchill said that, and he knew a thing or two.

Wood work but can't!


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