Dodgy diagnostic report

We bought our current house in 2016 and we paid for the diagnostic report to be undertaken then (yes I realise that’s not typical)
We are now selling and decided to use the same chap. Unfortunately we forwarded the report to the immobilier before checking it through properly and were a bit shocked to discover he has used some of the photos from over 4 years ago in the new report and referred to the faults shown in them. Some of these issues were rectified within weeks of the report. The photos are obviously not recent and fortunately the buyers could see that they didn’t match up to the photos and videos they’d taken themselves.
I emailed the chap and he asked for which photos but stood by his report. We have sent him screenshots of the relevant pics along with a current pic and haven’t heard back from him yet.
We’ve spent a few days very worried that the sellers would withdraw their offer, but they’re still happy to go ahead fortunately (they’ve just called us)
I’ve not yet paid the diagnostics facture and wonder whether I actually need to as we will need to get someone out to actually undertake the report?
Is there anyone I can report this breech of professionalism to?

Bit confused, did the diagnostic guy visit the house again or has he just -re-hashed the old report?

He did visit, but rehashed old report.

but do the photos still represent the current situation despite them being old photos?
I think you are on dodgy ground refusing to pay personally.

Karen claimed that the report refers to faults now rectified - does rather suggest that the diagnostics guy did not do his job properly.

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There are several parts to the diagnostic report most of which are time limited, did you notice any changes at all or is his report exactly the same?

but are those issues still reflected in the photos?
If so, the practitioner should be invited to correct his report rather than just refusing to pay his bill.
You need to see this from the perspective of the court (as that may be where it ends up if you refuse to pay). In effect, it could be argued that you supplied the practitioner with photos you wanted published and he did no more than comply with your wishes. His counter argument could be why else did you provide them… All is not fair in love and courts :wink: His job is to discredit you, simply that.

No, the photos are of issues no longer present. They’re obviously old photos and not representative.

He took the original photos in jan 2016 before we bought it.
The estate agent and our buyers were here when he came round and stated he took no new photos!
His report claims a ceiling is at risk of collapse, which was the case in 2016, but we had the roof repaired and fixed the ceiling.
He states the shower is leaking and is causing damp in the toilet with an original photo showing the old toilet from 2016 and not the one we replaced.
He states there is no earth wire as it was cut by the municipal when they installed the lamppost, this was also rectified in 2016!
He has obviously not completed the report we employed him to prepare, so would we really need to pay both him and the firm we will need to employ to properly do the report?

He definitely hasn’t done his job properly!

You should seek the services of a lawyer before refusing to pay and or committing to another report in my view.
I don’t think a forum like this - whilst useful to gather information - is the correct place on which to base a reliable legal decision.
I’m really only playing devil’s advocate.



It sounds as if you have fairly relaxed buyers who are committed to the purchase. So seems unnecessary to make a big drama over a bit of shoddy work, or indeed even consider about taking proceedings against this person for a few hundred € - that would cost you a lot more.

Write formally setting out the errors, using registered post, asking him to rectify them and resubmit the report within x days. Then hand on to your buyers, complete the sale and move on…

If that doesn’t happen, then think again.


I wish I could refer with such insouciance to ‘a few hundred €’ :slightly_smiling_face:

It seems to me that, pace the sound comment by Graham Lees, if you assemble the facts of the matter meticulously, the surveyor is in a position where his performance has been inadequate and does not merit his charges and you would be in a very strong position to refuse to pay them.

The only surveyors I have ever had any respect for are marine surveyors. I saw quite a few in my time as the proprietor of a boatyard. All were professional, skilled, thorough and honest, as befits a survey upon which lives might be at stake. UK building surveyors - quite the opposite.

Not insouciance, but the reality that involving other professionals and taking action against people is rarely worth it for sums under 500€, and possibly more. It ends up costing you more, adds stress and drags things out.

I always try to resolve matters myself, by being clear what redress I am seeking and doing it very formally whilst signalling I won’t let it go. With most people this works as they are basically trying things on to start with, but when they realise I/we are serious and have made a reasonable and fair proposition they do the right thing.


I’m not familiar with the French system but The Small Claims Court in UK is, in my not infrequent experience, an efficient and inexpensive way to recover 'a few hundred… '. In a small business, or indeed in domestic life, a trickle of instances of ‘a few hundred …’ adds up. The key, I found was meticulous preparation.

Is there an equivalent to the SCC in FR?

I agree with your 2nd para entirely. Persistance and a polite approach works.

In April I bought an acoustic guitar. On opening the box I found the top of the instrument was so bowed upwards as to make it unplayable. The shop [UK] agreed to collect it [from Spain] and - in the first instance , on the phone - replace or refund. Standard Sale of Goods Act stuff.

They then said that humidity damage was not covered under warranty. I’d had it less than 24 hrs, in Spain. It had been made and probably warehoused, in Indonesia. Then sent to and held in stock in York, a mild and rainy sort of place and an area known for flooding …

After 3 months in a ‘humidity room’ they announced it was being sent back to me. I told them that if this thing was to any degree less than one would expect of a perfect, brand new example, they should not send it to me because it would come straight back and a claim made to recover my money - <£300. ‘Fit for purpose for a reasonable time’ S.o.G.A overrode their disclaimer for damage by humidity.

They got the message. For a business with £120 million turnover and ‘virtual’ branches in a dozen european countries, a cogent customer who can quote the Sale of Goods Act is not worth the hassle. A brand new guitar was duly sent - just as they’d told me three months earlier.

Hummm reminds me of a customer who purchased one of our software programs for the Acorn platform. He claimed it didn’t work.
We couldn’t replicate the problem he described so put it down to user error (aka incompetence) and refused to give him his money back (he was a PITA!).
He sued us in the SCC and we (I) defended the action - he just expected us to roll over but moi? NFC!!
In court, he made a right nuisance of himself with the Lady Judge. Wouldn’t follow procedure and - true to form was a real PIA to her as well.
Well, it came to him delivering his evidence-in-chief and he confirmed to the judge that he was making his claim under the SOGA. He went on to explain that he needed the program to assist him in his professional rôle as an accountant (or some such other). In cross examination, I kept my cool and asked him to confirm that he was indeed relying on the SOGA to make his case which he duly confirmed. I kept stum. I provided my defence and when summing up I mentioned that the plaintiff had relied on the SOGA to make his case but that he admitted in his evidence and on cross examination that he was using the program professionally. I reminded the Court that the SOGA is only applicable to private individuals and not professionals. The Judges eyes lit up and I’m certain I detected a momentary upwards curl in her lips forming a slight smile.
Case dismissed at which point the plaintiff exploded causing the Judge to warn him that if he didn’t simmer down he would be forcibly removed from the Court!
It was my birthday too… best present ever :grin:


Well done Graham. Matey had not obeyed the First to Ninth Commandment of the S.C.C. "Thou shalt be meticulously prepared". In his case the SOGA was a non-starter. The Tenth is “Thou shallest keepeth thy coolth

It’s rather good when these things turn out well for one. I had one where the opposition continually ignored or rejected everything, racking up costs every time I served another notice or applied for another hearing. We never met in court.

In the end, the bailliffs went to his place and a cheque turned up for all and everything. I would have loved to have been there but my one meeting with him proved he was not averse to ‘discussion by other means’.

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There is no such thing (that it exists is a widely held misconception).

There is a small claims track in the civil courts which is a cut-down process for compensation claims up to £10,000 or personal injury claims up to £1000 but no separate court before which to present such claims (there is also the “fast track” for claims between £10k and £25k).