Three steps that can set you up to be sued:
1. Agents: Tell your clients they are required to order a CLUE report
2. Agents: Order a CLUE report for your client on their behalf
3. Agents: Make your client pay for the CLUE report
WHY could I be sued?
1. The CLUE report is NOT required by law – ANY law.
2. Agents are not recognized legal fiduciaries of a seller with regard to ordering a CLUE report
3. The CLUE report is FREE
What’s wrong with CLUE? (Based on the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse)
Real Estate agents should be aware that many states have passed laws addressing consumer concerns about CLUE reports. These laws prohibit use of inquiries that do not result in a claim.
Problems that a lack of knowledge about CLUE reports can create for you:
1. Inaccurate information can be included in the report.
2. The report requires the Agent or Client to examine the CLUE report carefully for errors and incomplete entries, but the party may not have the expertise to do this.
3. The Agent or Consumer then assumes the burden of proving the data wrong.
4. The report imposes on the Agent or Client to dispute inaccuracies in writing. Just imagine asking your client to dispute errors on a report YOU ordered that NOT REQUIRED!
5. The report may contain information other than claims data to rate you as a risk – even if the company doesn’t pay a claim.
6. The report may contain information about another person or a different property.
7. Your phone calls to inquire about a possible claim may be reported.
8. Even when repairs are made and the property is restored to the original condition, the CLUE report can still include information about the claim.
9. An identity thief could file a fraudulent claim that could cause the homeowners premiums to rise or policy to be cancelled.
FREE CLUE REPORTS. If seller insists on getting a report, where they should go to get their free CLUE report?
Your client (or any homeowner) has the right to receive a free annual report under the FACT Act. For more on your right to CLUE and other specialty reports, see PRC Fact Sheet 6b, The Other Consumer Reports: What You Should Know about Specialty Reports, www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs6b-SpecReports.htm.
For information on how to get your free claims history or CLUE report from LexisNexis, see www.lexisnexis.com/risk/factact/ or call (866) 312-8076.
For information on how to order your free A-Plus Report from ISO, see www.iso.com/products/2500/prod2562.html or call (800) 627-3487.
The bottom line:
Say “no Thanks” to the NHD providers or others that profit on selling you a CLUE report or similar. Real estate agents complain about having to fill up more forms and papers so why then add a report a NOT REQUIRED BY LAW? Your comments are important for our readers so they may learn from you and your experiences.