One of the most ridiculous things I have ever read came in the mail today.
Some outfit called National Deed Services, Inc., which surprisingly claims to be based in Washington, DC as opposed to Nigeria, wrote me this official looking letter telling me that the U.S. Government Federal Citizen Information Center “recommends that property owners should have a certified copy of their deed.” These kind folks offer to get me one for only $69.50.
Where to start…
First of all, a Google search for the “U.S. Government Federal Citizen Information Center” leads to a lot of pages citing that esteemed web site, but no web site with that exact name. I suspect the reference is intended to be or appear to be a reference to FirstGov.Gov, the “U.S Government’s official web portal.” I searched for all the likely terms on that page and couldn’t find anything advising me to get a certified copy of my deed. So while it may be a good idea, I don’t think the U.S. government is screaming for me to pay these folks $69.50 to get me a certified copy of my deed…
Especially when I can easily get it myself for $62.50 less than these folks want to charge me. That’s right, you can get a certified copy of your deed from the local clerk’s office. In Harris County, the charge is $5.00 for the certification plus $1.00 per page. I have a 2 page deed so it would be $5.00 + $2.00 = $7.00.
I’m not the only person who has a problem with this so called service.
As noted in the article above, it’s not illegal to charge someone a high price to do something that can otherwise be done cheaply, so there’s nothing illegal about this offer. Plus, there is the language at the bottom that as much as tells you that you are being wildly overcharged (I suspect that some attorney general somewhere required them to add that language). Nevertheless, it’s wrong to scare people into thinking this is something they should do to protect themselves and then charge them almost 10 times the cost to do it.