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Homeowner on hook for what's under yard

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer under Buyer beware, Complaint sagas Updated: January 12, 2010 - 10:58 AM

A homeowner wrote to Whistleblower out of frustration over a local sprinkler company. The company put in an underground sprinkler system last summer. Gopher State One Call made sure any utility lines that might be in the way were marked before excavation began. But that state-mandated service isn't designed to detect smaller lines such as a gas pipe serving an outdoor grill and an electric conduit to an outdoor light. In this woman's case, both were damaged by the sprinkler installation and cost her more than $1,300 to fix. When she complained, the company cited its contract with her, that said the sprinkler company "will attempt to locate these lines, but is not responsible for any damages to them."

"I am a retired widow on a limited income and shouldn't have had this extra expense," she said.

Of course we all need to read the fine print. But is it too much to expect from a professional to avoid this type of damage? How much of an expert should a homeowner be about his or her property?

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