ABC News did a program last year that provided consumers with tips on how best to protect themselves from phoney mold inspectors. This program was basically a televised sting operation on these ‘inspectors’ where they were called to inspect a house by a costumer who thought there might be a mold infestation. The program called seven mold inspectors to carry out the inspection – only 4 of these gave honest assessments and reported that the house did not have a mold problem. The remaining 3 took the bait and gave exaggerated reports where they completely fabricated the truth and reported varying degrees of mold infestation to the homeowner and even followed up with quotes on how much remediation would cost!
Long story short, ABC had the following advice for its viewers when they are seeking out a mold inspector:
- Do thorough research.
- Don’t be hasty.
- Tests aren’t 100% complete in giving answers.
- Don’t be rash.
Was this advice sufficient?
While this advice was definitely meant with the best intentions at heart, industry experts aren’t completely satisfied with it. MI&T (Mold Inspection and Test) is a leader in the field of mold inspection and has given their opinion about the show that aired on ABC. According to them, ABC’s efforts are definitely laudable since they have exposed some serious problems in the mold inspection/remediation industry – but the tips they offered could definitely have been better.
Better advice would have been:
While they did a good job establishing the fact that there are a lot of phoney inspectors out there who want nothing more than to make a quick buck at the unwary homeowner’s expense, they forgot to underline a trait which was common to all of them – the fact that they all tried to pitch a mold removal job once they were done with their inspection. Therefore, the best tip for homeowners when choosing a mold inspector should be to pick one that does not have a conflict of interest – in other words, if you choose a company that does both inspection and remediation, what good would a negative result be for them? In order to have an unbiased inspection / testing done, the homeowner should be careful in picking out a company that focuses on inspection rather than remediation. Texas and Florida, in the US, have even passed laws which prohibit companies from handling both inspection and restoration at the same time. A business owner in Orlando was arrested and tried for fraud when he disobeyed these laws.
A great approach would be to hire a dedicated mold inspector to give you an unbiased report on the mold status of your home and then acquire the services of a normal mold inspection/remediation company of good repute. If the latter is indeed as honest and reliable as it claims, their inspection will match that of the unbiased inspector’s, and you can then hire them to take care of the mold problem. It may cost you a bit more, but it will definitely be better than getting ripped off by a fraudulent firm.