Jun 9, 2015 5:08 PM
NH1 News Investigates Deed Dilemma Part 2: NH AG's office says solicitation letters okay
ROCHESTER - It could be in your mailbox.
We’re talking about a letter that offers you the option of buying a copy of the deed to your house.
Thing is, that cost is equivalent to what some might call an arm and a leg.
It’s much more than if you just went online or to City Hall.
So we went searching for answers by calling Transaction Data Services of Westlake, California.
The letter has made its way to people throughout New Hampshire, even prompting Rochester police to warn residents about what they’re calling a scam.
Transaction Data Services is a company that has come under scrutiny from at least two state Attorney Generals' offices.
We wanted to know why it costs $83 when you can go to City Hall or online and get it for a fraction of that.
“We provide the assessment profile report which is what is being paid for,” the representative told us. “We include a complimentary deed.”
But what’s an assessment profile report?
“It just gives you a wealth of information,” the representative told us.
That means like the entire history of your property, like square footage, inspection reports, and other documents.
We asked the rep if she believed the company was taking advantage of customers or potential customers. She said, “No. Not at all.”
Then we asked her if she was implying that it was an alternative of going to City Hall or online. She replied, “Absolutely.”
Joe Moriarty of Merrimack Mortgage in Manchester says he’s not only concerned about the cost but more importantly, he says, he’s worried that people could be putting themselves at risk for identity theft.
“I don't think that people should ever share information willy-nilly,” he says.
While the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office says they don't see any potential problems, pointing out that the company is clearing telling consumers or potential consumers in the letter that they're not a government agency and they can still go down to their local city hall.
Still, Moriarty's not sold on it
“If they haven't done their research, then they may be duped,” he says. But we then said the company does have disclosures on the letter to which he replied, “Do you know anyone who reads the fine print?
But New Hampshire’s Senior Attorney General James Boffetti says, “I don’t find it to be unfair and deceptive.”
When asked if this is legal, Moriarity responded, “Well, it's not illegal.
Adding, “What it means is that they're pushing the fringe of the law."
Experts say talk with your accountant, your financial planner, and even your local banker.
They say do your best to get someone else's take before making any moves on your own.
**Note - Joe Moriarity is licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department.
His NMLS (Nationwide Mortage Licensing System & Registry) number is 70384.
The NMLS number for Merrimack Mortage Inc. is 2561.