What happens when you buy a place and a few months later you discoved the oil tank meter is off by 1/2 q tank?

Asked by Sandra Beardsley, Rochester, NY Sat Dec 27, 2008

I bought a mobile home in Sep 2008 at that time the oil tank read 5/8 full. I paid $646.00 for the oil in the tank only to discover the tank meter was broken. Today it said I had 1/2 a tank of oil left only to discover we ran out of oil! I would think the previous owner would be responsible to pay me back for the oil I paid for that is not in the tank. What do you think?? Can anyone help me here.

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Dp2’s answer
Dp2, , Virginia
Fri Jan 2, 2009
I'm also sorry to hear about your dilemma; however, Joshua IS correct that this issue (if it were outstanding in September 2008) should have been caught during your inspection period, before you waived your inspection and appraisal contingencies. John is also correct that a normal buyer's inspection (and appraisal for that matter) would not have caught this issue; however, you should have contacted (or asked the seller to contact) the seller's (or another) oil service provider to inspect the tank, and to validate the meter reading.

You'd need to speak with an attorney to seek any legal remedies, but you'll most likely end up spending more in legal costs than you'd get back from the seller. Unless you could definitively prove your position on this issue, then you might want to first weight your options to see if it's worth pursuing this matter further.
1 vote
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sun Jan 11, 2009
Sandra,

Get documantation the meter was faulty and provide this information to your afent. See if they can help you out
0 votes
., , Los Angeles, CA
Sat Jan 10, 2009
Is this a saftey issue and consumer complaint. You seek a remedy and best bet at this point is to ?
Don't really knonw.
0 votes
John, , Rochester, NY
Fri Jan 2, 2009
Sorry to hear about your problem. I was very disturbed to see that a Realtor from Florida suggested that your home inspector should/could have caught this problem. There is no way for the inspector to test the meter on an oil tank. It is not something that is covered in a home inspection (by any of the applicable inspections standards, in any state). To suggest that it was the inspector's error is just plain unprofessional and shows a lack of knowledge with respect to what really occurs during an inspection. Or maybe they just don't have oil tanks in Florida. First, I would check with the company that has been filling the tank (they probably own the tank too) to see if they have a record of the faulty meter. They may since it should have been noticed by the person filling/servicing the tank. If aware, the previous owner should have disclosed this during predisclosure, given it impacted the closing costs. Since the tank is outside, the owner may not have even been aware of the problem. Assuming you can prove it was defective at the time of the sale, I'd call the past owner and ask them to send you a check to avoid you having to "seek legal alternatives". . Also, Mr. Kirby's advice (below) is very sound. You might try contacting the company that has been filling/servicing the tank and see if they will help out.
0 votes
The Florida…, Agent, Spring Hill, FL
Sat Dec 27, 2008
Preface this by saying it's not legal advice and if you are interested in pursuing the matter you should seek the appropriate counsel...

I would guess that you are pretty much out of luck. The faulty gauge should have been caught by you or your home inspector prior to closing otherwise there's no way for you to prove that it was broken before you purchased the home (i.e. how can you prove that it didn't break between September 2008 and today?)

In either case, while I realize $646 is a lot of money - ultimately in the sale of a home it's a negligible amount (not worth the effort or expense to hire a lawyer to work it out).

Just my .02 - but again, I would recommend that if you wish to pursue the matter you speak to legal counsel (generally speaking, sooner = better).

Best of luck!

-Josh
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sat Dec 27, 2008
Sandra you should have your buyer broer write up a letter to gove to the selling agent. Include proof that that guage was broken and a request for a refund of the money. Good luck with working things out
Web Reference:  http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes
Bob Kirby, Agent, Rochester, NY
Sat Dec 27, 2008
Sandra, The tank could have had 5/8 full when you closed, and the gage is hung up at 1/2 now and empty. We have had a very cold fall and cold far below normal since you closed. If the tank had 5/8 and lasted to now it would seem you did pretty good. A oil company could use a heating day index to calculate approximatly how many oil you would have used since then. I always encourage the sellers to fill the tank to the top with the oil companys invoice stating that and have buyers pay for full tank. If in late spring or summer buyers sometimes don't want the extra cost at closing. You could have had the seller call the oil company and pumped the tank out at a small charge. ob Kirby RE/MAX First
0 votes
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