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Contractor's website offering DIYer help

John R. Hall
John R. Hall Member Posts: 2,246
I was surfing the web recently and came across a very nicely-designed HVAC contractor website. The company sells, installs, and services HVAC equipment and also sells parts and tools through its website, too. I also noticed that it has a feature which gives installation tips to DIYers, with the following disclaimer at the end:

"...cannot be held liable for damages, consequential or inconsequential, resulting from the installation or operation of equipment. This equipment is intended to be installed by someone with the proper expertise, background and certification. Do-it-yourselfers accept all risk for both installation and equipment selection. We strongly encourage an on-site inspection by a certified professional."

How do Wallies feel about this? Is this a good way to keep in touch with potential customers? Does it send the wrong, mixed message? Is it a way to open up new revenue streams to future business? Or is it no big deal at all?

Just curious.


  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
    The best disclaimer

    will not stop a lawsuit... idiots are granted immunity.

    Being a Libertarian it is my perspective that Darwinism is the great equalizer. :)

    If they screw up they pay the price or call in a pro to fix things at your price.

    My $0.02
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,656
    Offering advice

    It would seem that offering professional advice or the means to repair by a DIY could result in serious injury or damage to the appliance or home. Who's liable?

    This website is somewhat of an example: advice is given all the time to homeowners. They can choose to hire a pro or try it themselves. Does that make Dan H. liable, as the sponsor of the website? Or the person giving the advice? Or the DIY who attempts the repair?

    Charging a fee for the advice is rather difficult. Since the Internet is "free" it is usually presumed that advice should be free. If income cannot be derived from sharing a professional's experience, does this make good business sense? On the other hand, consumers are often at a loss to get good advice, as there is a lack of 'professional' HW/Steam heating techs. Where should these people go for help? In many cases, homeowners often know more about their system than the heating tech that they hire. In some ways, this is a good thing.

    Would it be fair to assume that if a homeowner is injured or property damage incurred from advice obtained from a website, a lawsuit would include all who were in the chain?

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,525
    In all these years,

    I have never had a problem with this, and nor has anyone who posts here had any problems with this. We're living in the
    Information Age.

    No one has ever given me a problem over my books or articles either.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Josh_10
    Josh_10 Member Posts: 787

    Good point Dan. I know a local contractor here in the Northwest that offers Wirsbo panels to DIYers. I think Paul knows who I am talking about. They have had good success with it. First they make a profit off of the panel and then they get paid to come out and figure out why it doesn't work.

    I can't imagine however the phone calls for technical support. I would definatly have to charge for that.

    There are really smart homeowners out there though. I am amazed sometimes. What has taken me years to figure out has taken some homeowners days.
  • Tom R.
    Tom R. Member Posts: 139
    When you want answers...

    to tough problems, try asking someone who knows nothing about it. They are not encumbered by considering all the possibilities - they just see the obvious.
  • S Ebels
    S Ebels Member Posts: 2,322

    "What has taken me years to figure out has taken some homeowners days."

    I think I know why. You, and most other folks in the biz, approach a problem or a design with a "background" of information and past methods. This sometimes leads to a lot of angst and gnashing of teeth when we are confronted with something new such as a control strategy or a different style of equipment. (Just think of the problems with condensing boilers because guys assumed they hooked up the same way as the iron they had been installing)

    The newbie DIY type however, has a clean slate, no frame of reference so the more enterprising individuals slurp up any and all info they can regarding the product of choice.

    I keep myself out a rut by trying to learn something new every week and by approaching each new job as if I had never done anything like it in the past. It works.
This discussion has been closed.