Better Business Bureau warns of Deed Processing NoticePublished 10:24am Friday, December 20, 2013
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The Better Business Bureau of Mississippi sent out a warning Wednesday to all residents of the state of Mississippi concerning a “Deed Processing Notice” out of Sioux Falls, S.D.
The business, Property Transfer Service, has been contacting homeowners and soliciting a payment of $83 to obtain a copy of their property deeds. The inquiry has caused concerns across the state, according to the BBB warning.
While the mailing does mention that you can get a copy of your deed from your county clerk, and that homeowners are not obligated to pay the fee, some consumers have found the mailing confusing and have contacted the BBB office.
Lincoln County Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop said Wednesday was the first time he had heard of the “Deed Processing Notice.”
“For someone to tell you it costs $83 to view their deed is ridiculous,” said Bishop.
He said Lincoln County landowners can access a copy of their deed any time at the Lincoln County Chancery Clerk’s office. In most cases a deed is four to five sheets of paper, which would cost 25 cents per page at his office.
Bishop said property deeds are public record and can be copied or viewed by the general public.
John O’Hara CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Mississippi said he received such a letter in the mail himself and had to read it twice.
“We stress to consumers every day to know what you are signing up for,” said O’Hara.
Bishop said all of Lincoln County’s deeds are now scanned on the computer.
“People in the office can help with it,” He added. “Or they can view it on a computer screen. If the timing is right, they can view it in the book.”
Another thing Lincoln Countians can do to view their deed is to request approval from the clerk to view it from a home computer.
“What matters most is what is filed at the courthouse,” said Bishop. “If it’s not filed, the transaction never took place.”
O’Hara stressed that there was actually nothing wrong with the mailings.
“There’s nothing necessarily illegal or wrong with what they’re doing, but consumers should have all the facts before making a decision to use these services,” he explained.
Bishop urged landowners to call their local county chancery clerk’s office if they have questions about their deeds.
“Any chancery clerk in the 82 counties of the state of Mississippi are bound to provide landowners with copies of their deeds,” said Bishop. “Anyone can get a copy of any deed, it’s public record.”
Bishop urged Lincoln County property owners who might receive the mailing and had questions, to please call his office at 601-835-3413 or 601-835-3416 to inquire about paperwork.
Contact BBB serving Mississippi if you suspect fraud or for additional tips and alerts at 601-398-1700 or 800-987-8280. Also visit the website at ms.bbb.org for additional information.