Milwaukee, Wis. — The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers not to be duped by a company that is selling homeowners their property deeds for an exorbitant price – almost 30 times the price if they bought it themselves.
The company, Deed Retrieval Services (which also does business as Record Retrieval Department), has been sending Wisconsin homeowners letters that appear to be a bill for $87 from the U.S. government for a property deed. However, despite the fact that it looks official, it's not a bill nor is it from the U.S. government. The letter says, “Why do we believe you need a copy of your current Grant Deed and Property Profile? State Record Regulation Department recommends that all U.S. homeowners obtain a copy of their current Grant Deed.“ At the bottom, the letter states that the “product or service is not endorsed by any government agency”, but the Wisconsin BBB believes that consumers may overlook this fine print.
“Most likely, you already have a copy of your deed, because it was provided at the time you purchased your home,” says Ran Hoth, Wisconsin BBB president/CEO. “And if you don’t have a copy, don’t pay $87 to this firm. You can get one for about $3 at your local county clerk or register of deed’s office, and it’s a very simple process.”
The Deed Retrieval Services letters list two addresses; a Milwaukee address and a Madison address, both of which are UPS stores and the “suite numbers” are really rented boxes. Likely, mail sent to those boxes is forwarded out of state. The company has an F rating with the BBB.
“Do yourself a favor; save your money and do not respond to this offer,” says Hoth. “In fact, any time someone wants you to pay for information that is easily available, don’t do it.”