March, 2006
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Focus on Ethics

KEITH OBERG

Where do we draw the line?

How does the ASHI Code of Ethics apply to our business decisions?

Part of the work of the Code of Ethics Committee is to answer Requests for Interpretation, or RFIs, from the ASHI membership. Our responses to the requests are intended to help clarify our Code of Ethics and its applicability to the real-world situations that home inspectors encounter in their professional practice.

While we make no claims of infallibility, the committee strives to respond to these RFIs in accordance with the Code as it is written and approved by the membership. Our responses are not intended to supersede the Code. A response to an RFI is not necessarily a determination that an action in question is ethical or unethical, only that we believe that it does, or does not, violate one or more principles of the Code. In the course of answering RFIs, we may come to the conclusion that modifications to our Code of Ethics might be necessary to cover omissions or to address changing circumstances. Any proposed changes to the Code would have to be formally brought to the membership for its input and approval.

In our Focus on Ethics articles, we hope to present at least one RFI and the response developed by the committee since the new Code of Ethics was approved. We hope the RFIs and the responses stimulate the reader to explore the ethical issues that face us all as we try to operate in an ethical manner within our profession. Our membership is encouraged to submit RFIs to the committee if serious questions about the intent and applicability of our Code should arise. Click here to download the necessary form.

— Keith Oberg, Chair 2006 ASHI Code of Ethics Committee



REQUEST FOR INTERPRETATION

Discount coupons-ethical or not?

Do discount coupons provided only to realty agents who meet specific requirements violate the Code of Ethics 1.C that prohibits direct or indirect compensation to realty agents?

RESPONSE

Discount coupons distributed to realty agents to be redeemed by homebuyers rather than the agents, whatever the scheme devised for distribution, do not constitute compensation and do not violate the Code of Ethics. While such coupons could be viewed as an inducement to referrals, the realty agent is not receiving compensation.