Macon County Register of Deeds Todd Raby warns citizens to beware of a “Deed Processing Notice” being sent to local homeowners from a company with a Washington, DC address called Secured Document.
“We are appalled that a company would try to collect such exorbitant fees from our citizens,” says Raby. “The notice looks official and contains public information about the property. In the instances seen across the state, the notice stated that 11/30/2012 is the Compliance Response Date and lists a ‘Regulatory Document Number.’ It instructed the homeowner to respond by 11/23/2012 and if a reply was received after the requested date, an additional fee of $35 would be required before processing. For this fee, the company would provide to the homeowner a copy of ‘their current Grant Deed’ and ‘Property Profile.’ We have yet to see any instance of this in Macon County; however we want to see the public being on alert before the problem presents itself in our area.
“From what we can tell, it appears that the information this company is offering to sell for $83 (plus $35 if requested after the compliance response date) contains public information that is available for free through our Register of Deeds website,” said Raby. “If a citizen prefers to receive an unofficial paper copy of their deed, they can request it in writing by mail at 5 West Main Street Franklin, NC 28734, or in person at our office located at the Macon County Courthouse in Franklin for $0.25 per page. To receive a certified copy of a deed, the cost would be $5 for the first page and $2 for each additional page pursuant to G.S. 161- 10, which is a uniform fee for all Register of Deeds offices in North Carolina.
“This company does not appear to be doing anything illegally since it is offering to provide a service for a fee and the notice is a solicitation in which the recipient is under no obligation to pay the amount stated, unless they accept the offer. However, we are concerned that the public, especially our older citizens, may not understand this is not a notice from the Macon County Register of Deeds office and this company is not associated with our office,” said Raby. “Our office is the official depository of land record recordings in Macon County and is the only office in North Carolina that can provide certified copies of official records of conveyance for Macon County property.
“Anyone with concerns or questions can stop by the office or give us a call at (828)349-2095 and we will be happy to help you," said Raby