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Deed company is fleecing property owners

As Lawrence County Recorder, I want to caution property owners that letters are being mailed out by a company called National Deed Service Inc.

This company is offering to provide a certified copy of a deed for the price of $59.50.

In the state of Ohio, the County Recorder’s office is the ONLY source for providing certified copies of deeds and the fee, set by the Ohio Revised Code, is $2.00 per page plus $1.00 for certification. The average deed is two to four pages.

The National Deed Service Inc. is a private company and is not affiliated with any governmental agency.

Apparently their service requests a certified copy from recorders’ offices and the correct fee is submitted for payment. They in turn are charging $59.50 for the same copy, thus making a profit of $54.50, less postage, for a two page deed.

The National Deed Service’s letter states that property owners should have an official or certified copy of their deed and to obtain this, complete the order form and send with a payment of $59.50 by check, money order or credit card. They do have a disclaimer on their letter that states, “Many government records are available free or at a nominal cost from government agencies”.

Their website states clients prefer to use their services to obtain copies as it saves time and administrative effort that would be required to directly obtain these documents for themselves.

While this service may not be illegal, I find it very disturbing that property owners are being asked to pay such an outrageous fee for the same service that my staff and I provide at a small fraction of the cost.

My staff is very efficient and when correct information is given, a copy will be provided in only a few minutes. Many who use our office, on a regular basis, prefer to make their own copies at a cost of only .10 cents per page.

Also my Web site, www.lawrencecountyohiorecorder.org is very user friendly and many copies may be made from your home or office. A certified copy is usually unnecessary unless it involves a court proceeding.

After doing research, I discovered many other states have been targeted as well, including West Virginia.

I urge every property owner, who is interested in purchasing a copy of their deed, to contact my office before making a commitment to do otherwise.

Our phone number is 740-533-4314 or you may e-mail me directly at recorder@cloh.com.

Sharon Gossett Hager is the Lawrence County Recorder.