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Author: millerpim Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 127226  
Subject: Re: poor circuitry--any recourse? Date: 8/3/2001 2:58 PM
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The words "caveat emptor" come to mind; however, some states have passed legislation that require sellers to sign disclosure statements. Did you get a disclosure statement from the seller? These usually contain questions that the seller must answer. Among the choices are "yes," "no," and "I dunno." If you did, read it and see if there is a question along the lines of "Are there any problems in the house."

Then you could write a letter to the seller (cc: seller's agent & your agent & file) asking for an explanation and help in getting the problem resolved. Don't be accusatory or say "you must have had knowledge . . . " But imply it.

See what they say.

Also, your contract might have a clause that says any disagreements must be settled by arbitration. If it does, you can file for arbitration. The fees for this depend on the amount of money you are requesting, but it probably won't be more than $200. Arbitration involves a hearing between you, the agents, the seller and a third party(ies) who will try to settle the matter. Whatever the arbitrator decides is binding and there is no appeal process.

If your contract doesn't contain a clause for arbitration, you can file in Small Claims court or Municipal. Small claims is easier and the rules for judgments are more lenient, in my opinion.

But before you jump to filing a law suit, you will need to obtain an estimate, perhaps several, to determine the amount of money you will need to fix the problem. You might also ask your neighbors if the sellers ever discussed any electrical problems.

Bear in mind that the sellers might say they never used a/c or the microwave and, therefore, had no prior knowledge of any malfunctions.

Another thought: did your contract contain any provision that read: all electrical, plumbing, heating and mechanical apparatus to be operable at close? If so, you might be able to pursue an action based on that disclaimer from the sellers.

The real estate agents involved might be willing to help you settle this just to avoid going to court.

However, the bottom line is how much will it cost to correct the wiring and is this amount, coupled with your time and energy, worth fighting over in court?

It sounds like you need to run the microwave on another wire to your electrical box. Ditto for a/c. That shouldn't take more than a couple hours for a licensed electrician to fix. If it were me, I'd just fix it and hope I didn't find anything else wrong. Then I'd submit the invoice to the seller and cross my fingers. I might put a little pressure on the agents, but I wouldn't spend a lot of time pursuing it. Some things are just better being left alone and learning from.

elizabeth
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