The Pennsylvania Home Inspectors Coalition, Inc. (PHIC) has become aware
the implementation of a preferred vendor program undertaken by several key
area real estate firms across Pennsylvania
In short, as PHIC understand them, these preferred vendor programs provide
that area real estate brokerage firms and their realtors are agreeable to
actively promote the home inspection services of those inspectors who have
paid "participation fees". Ostensibly these fees are portrayed as a
underwrite certain promotional costs incurred by the brokerages in
written marketing materials offered to the general public which highlight
the ability of the brokerage to work closely with home inspectors. Hence,
consumers are advised by such materials that brokerage firms can offer
comprehensive services, including home inspection services, by referring
business to known and "approved" home inspectors. No methodology
assessment of a home inspectors abilities are known other than the
of the "participation fees."
It is the position of PHIC that these preferred vendor programs, where
implemented as described, are nothing more than "pay to play"
PHIC disapproves of any such preferred vendor program. This disapproval is
based, in part, upon PHICs firm conviction that the preferred vendor
programs are misguided and effectively operate a disservice to the general
public on several levels. First, these programs effectively undermine an
open and free economic market where a home inspector may be selected by a
consumer through independent evaluation and recommendations gleaned from
public domain. Further it is PHICs position that these programs violate
express provisions, if not the implicit intent of the PA Home Inspection
Law, 75 P.C.S. §7501, et. seq. (the "Act"). Lastly, the
"pay to play"
concept is reported to present a clear violation of ethical standards of
nationally recognized home inspection organizations including without
limitation: the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI); the National
Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI); the Pennsylvania Realtors
(PAR); and National Association of Realtors (NAR).
As you may be aware, PHIC has lead the charge towards establishing and
implementing professional standards and certification for home inspectors
so our industry can be properly recognized as professional and served by
competent and qualified inspectors. Programs such as the preferred vendor
programs serve to thwart the efforts of PHIC and others to promote a
vibrant, independent and professional industry where all home inspectors
have equal opportunities to serve the general public.
PHIC requests that home inspectors not participate in preferred vendor
programs as described; but rather, value the professional status afforded
them under the state Act, abide by the express, if not implicit, intent
under the Act, and recognize the ethical standards imposed by PHIC and its
sister organizations all of which preclude home inspectors from
participating in "pay to play" schemes.