BBB Serving the South Plains of WestTexas
3333 66thStreet Lubbock, TX 79413
806.763.0459 southplains.bbb.org firstname.lastname@example.org
Beware of Deed Processing NoticesHitting the Area
7/11/13 The Better Business Bureau of the South Plains is warning area residents concerning a“Deed Processing Notice” out of Wilmington, Delaware and/or Washington DC.
The BBB’s Greg Linder says that a business calling itself Property Transfer Service, that may be using multiple addresses, has caused concerns across the country by contacting homeowners and soliciting a payment of $83 to obtain a copy of property deeds. The mailing implies that homeowners must comply within a specified period of time. While the mailing does state that it is not a bill, and that homeowners are not obligated to pay the fee, some consumers have found the mailing confusing and have issued complaints to the BBB office where the company is headquartered.
“It’s hard to reconcile this sort of mailing, whether it is sent to a business or home,”Linder notes. “On one hand, the banner print and inset boxes on the note give so-called Compliance Response Dates,which seem to demand attention and action, but the small print at the bottom of the notice says it’s not necessary to pay. The bold print and much of the language used in the solicitation suggest that there’s an immediacy to comply and send money, but the “need” to respond is pretty dubious.”
At least one Plainview realty company issued a notice to its recent clients, citing an example and the errors contained in the solicitation. The company told its clients that copies of such deeds can be obtained at no charge. Even if other offices charge a nominal fee for copies of deeds, it’s likely that they would not charge anything close to the amount requested by the solicitation.
Like services that offer to obtain a Social Security number on behalf of new parents when they could obtain one for their children at no charge, there are services marketed online or during hallmark occasions that can easily be handled first-hand for less money -- sometimes no money at all.
“Transactions like a transfer of home ownership are part of the public record and easily available online,” Linder adds. “As is the case for many records, there are businesses that review those public lists and have come up with ways to market services that may be impractical for most people. There’s nothing necessarily illegal or wrong with what they’re doing, but also nothing to indicate you need to take advantage of the services.”
Confused by a billing from an unknown source? Call your BBB.