Deed rip-off hitting local mailboxes - KMOV.com

Deed rip-off hitting local mailboxes

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Would you pay nearly $60 for something you could buy for $5? You’re thinking no way that’s crazy talk.

But if everyone thought it was nuts - the company sending out a questionable letter wouldn’t be in business.

It’s an offer that states for $59.50 homeowners can get a certified copy of their deed.

It’s from National Record service Inc and even our producer got one at his home in Crestwood.

St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Sharon Quigley Carpenter’s office even posted a website warning. Her office typically charges between $5 and $15 for certified deed copies. Not only is $59.50 way overpriced - it’s not even necessary. 

“It implies that someone could challenge your ownership based on the fact that you did not have a copy of the deed and that is not the case at all,” she said.

So News 4 called the guy in charge of National Record Service, Barry Issacson.

When we asked him if he understood how some people saw this as a ripoff, he was rather candid.

“Oh yeah absolutely.”

Well, at least he’s honest. Issacson points out his company is simply offering a service to those who don’t want to waste time getting copies themselves.

He says he’s just like a barber - or a lawn guy - offering to do a job people could technically do on their own, but not might want to.  He also points out he’s not forcing anyone to send him money.

“If somebody doesn’t want to use it they throw the letter out. A lot of people do,” he said. “More people throw out the letter than place orders- it’s not even close.”

Issacson says he’s talked to states attorneys general, and some states require specific language in his letter.

Like a bold print statement about many government records are available free or at a nominal cost.

He wouldn’t say how many customers he has, but says it’s all his business does. He also takes issue with all the government offices that post warnings about his business model.

“I feel sometimes these county clerks just to put out a scam alert because they want their name in the paper, and feel they are helping out their citizens,” he said.  

“I would warn anyone to avoid paying a third party any amount of money for records kept by the government,” countered Quigley Carpenter.

The St. Louis County Recorder just sent out a letter today warning residents against overpaying for records that are available for just a few bucks.

Issacson also points out he’s not a scam because when people pay him $59 he does exactly what he promises to do.

If you want me to check out a rip-off or government waste, let me know about on my KMOV Facebook page or send me a message on twitter.

 

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