Q: I’m a single mom and just bought my first home. Part of the purchase agreement was that the seller would pump out the septic tank.
Two months after I moved in, the septic backed up in my basement sink.
I contacted the septic vendor and was told that the seller had been informed that there were 2 tanks but that he, the vendor, was told to only pump 1 tank. Because of this, I incurred $680 in repairs.
My septic vendor found the second tank easily, within 10 minutes of arrival. Now the original vendor is refusing to admit he told me this and has “sided” with the seller by saying his company had no knowledge of the second tank.
I’ve sent them a certified letter with copies of the bills and a letter from my vendor. They hired an attorney and are refusing to pay. I can’t afford to hire an attorney for $680 in damages. Do I have legal recourse here?
A: You have a couple of options. You could sue the seller in small claims court, which would be time consuming, but inexpensive. The mere threat of the suit may be sufficient to encourage the seller to pay for his misrepresentation. Of course, your case would be much easier to win if you had something in writing from the seller indicating that he would pump the septic system.
Perhaps the seller will simply see the error of his ways and agree to at least split the cost.
By the way, you made another mistake as well. You should have hired your own septic vendor during the inspection contingency to make sure that the septic system was pumped before you closed. That way, you would have known that the problem was cleared up or not, and if not, you could have withheld funds at closing to remedy the problem.
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