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To file a complaint
•If you doubts about a mailing offering a government-provided service, contact the entity directly to confirm the solicitation’s legitimacy. If you have received a notice or paid for this service, you can file a complaint with the attorney general’s office by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com or requesting a complaint form be mailed to you by calling 1-800-382-5516.
Source: Indiana Attorney
General’s Office

State acts to upend ‘deceptive’ deed firm

Mailings mimic US notices

An Illinois company and its president are the target of an Allen Superior Court lawsuit filed Monday by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

Illinois Deed Provider Inc. also does business as National Record Service Inc. and National Deed Service Inc. Its president is Barry Isaacson, according to court documents.

Zoeller accuses Isaacson and his companies of violating Indiana’s Deceptive Commercial Solicitation Act and Deception Consumer Sales Act since at least 2011. The state also seeks a preliminary injunction to prevent the companies from engaging in similar behaviors while the case progresses.

National Record Service mails homeowners letters urging them to pay $59.50 for a certified copy of the deed to the property, and $20 for a second deed, according to court documents.

“The solicitations mimic government legal documents which mislead consumers into believing they need a copy of their property deed,” Zoeller said in a written statement. “Homeowners are not required to have copies even when they go to sell a property, and they can obtain these documents from their county recorder’s office at little or no cost.”

The companies sent letters bearing the words “National Record Service” at the top of the document that said the U.S. government recommends property owners have a certified copy of their deeds. The letter also asserts that, because of the large number of transactions, the letter would serve as the homeowner’s “only notice of this service.”

The company sent the letters knowing they could be reasonably interpreted as government compliance notices, court records allege.

The company also failed to provide the documents purchased in a timely fashion, court documents say.

The attorney general’s office seeks civil penalties and restitution, according to court documents.

Since 2009, Allen County Recorder John McGauley has been warning area residents about such practices, which involve an official-looking letter urging the payment of money for a document that can be obtained free at the recorder’s office.

“Hoosiers have enough to consider when they purchase a home. In the midst of a flurry of paperwork and expensive decisions, this official-sounding solicitation arrives, seeming like yet another thing a buyer is required to do,” McGauley said in a statement from Zoeller’s office. “Recorders across Indiana have long felt the National Deed Service offer is exorbitant and misleading. We thank Attorney General Zoeller for the opportunity to settle the question once and for all.”

A message left at National Record Service was not returned Monday afternoon. But the outgoing message on the company’s voicemail seemed to address some of the allegations.

“Please allow us to explain,” a company official said in the message. “We are not affiliated (with any government).”

rgreen@jg.net

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