Ethics, What Ethics?


One of my gorgeous wife’s friends is looking to buy a house. 

After a lot of searching, she found one she liked. Like all good homeowners, she did her research. She had the conveyancer review the contract of sale/section 32 and she also had a property inspection.

For those that don’t know, a property inspection is where a qualified inspector comes and does a detailed inspection of the house and reports back to you important information about it. It is a valuable report that can prevent you from buying a house loaded with potential disasters. As with all transactions, the report is the property of the person who paid for it.

The day before the auction, my friend received a call from the person who did the inspection advising her that the real estate agent had contacted them and asked for a copy of the report so they could display it as part of the auction documentation.


The inspector did the ethical thing and said it was not their call to make and the owner of the report (our friend) was the only one who could make that decision. The agent then advised they would contact my friend – which they never did. I suspect that they knew after paying hundreds of dollars for a report, our friend would not be willing to give it away to her competing bidders.

Here is the outcome of poor business ethics:

  • A formal complaint can be made against you to your industry body (as will happen in this case)
  • You will never get work from this potential customer again
  • Your reputation will be sullied in the market place
  • Your whole industry will be drawn into disrepute
  • You won’t sleep well at night 

What about you?

How important are ethics to you and your business? How often are they discussed in your team meetings? What can you do to be sure that everyone on your team acts ethically even when no one is watching?