Dear Ethics Talk:
I work for a roofing contractor. Recently, my boss began inspecting roofs for realtors. Along with his inspection reports, he attaches bids for the recommended repair work.
Would-be home-buyers usually require sellers to give our company the work, even if they received lower bids from elsewhere. Our business grows, but I worry about conflicts of interest.
Can you ease my mind?
Signed: Unclear Conscience
Dear Unclear Conscience:
Billionaire Maurice “Hank” Greenberg once famously said, "All I want in life is an unfair advantage." Your boss has realized Greenberg’s dream, albeit with fewer zeros at the end.
This “unfair advantage” arises in your case because one party (the buyer) orders the repairs, but another party (the seller) pays for them. Co-sign a teenager’s credit card, and you’ll see how fast this kind of set-up spawns waste...[click here for full article]