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Beware letters asking you to buy something or a service

September 27, 2019
By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Mr. Feichthaler,

I purchased a property in Cape Coral earlier this year, which was handled through a local law firm. After the closing, we received a copy of the recorded deed and title policy from the firm about four weeks later.

Today, in the mail, I received a letter from "County Records Office, LLC," that referenced the address of the property, when I bought it, and the property ID number. It says that, to obtain a copy of the recorded deed, I need to send them $89. Is this something I need to do?

- Mary E.

Dear Mary,

Thanks for bringing this to my and our readers' attention, as this is a question I receive frequently. As you note, you were provided a copy of the deed and title policy at your closing. So, what is "County Records Office, LLC" offering, exactly? A photocopy of the deed you already have, for $89. Now, I am not going to call this an outright fraud, because you may be inclined to pay $89 for one piece of paper you already have. They will provide that "service" upon request. However, if for some reason you have misplaced your copy, your deed is in the public records for you to see and print at www.leeclerk.org. Unlike the company posing as a county records office, the clerk's website will give this to you for free!

My clients receive a variety of official-looking letters trying to get them to send their hard-earned money for paperwork they do not need. Given the number of businesses that send these "offers," I suspect they are often successful. The company you reference has been in business almost three years now, and runs the business out of an expensive residential property in Tampa, and their mailing address is a P.O. Box.

Except for property taxes (coming next month), you will not be receiving anything asking for money from the Lee County government. My advice is to ignore these types of solicitations and, if you are ever unsure, talk to your family members, friends or your attorney to confirm whether the letter is legitimate.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for over 30 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continues his service to the community through the Cape Coral Caring Center, Cape Coral Historical Museum, and Cape Coral Kiwanis. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for over 18 years, and they have four children together. He earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professional ethics and legal ability, and is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

Mr. Feichthaler can be reached at eric@capecoralattorney.com, or (239) 542-4733.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.

 
 
 

 

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