There were a couple of red flags in this letter. First, it explained that my deed was recorded by the Polk County Register's Office. In the bit of research I did yesterday, combined with having dealt extensively with county government agencies when I was a reporter, I don't find evidence of there being an office of that name in Polk County government.
The other red flag was this note near the bottom of the letter: "Florida Certified Deed Services is not affiliated with the 'State of Florida.' MANY GOVERNMENT RECORDS ARE AVAILABLE FREE OR AT A NOMINAL COST FROM GOVERNMENT AGENCIES." (This is a direct quote, capitalization included)
I'm sure that this company is required by law to include that disclaimer.
Out of curiousity, I called the Clerk of Courts yesterday and asked what it would cost to get a certified copy of my deed. The answer: $1 per page, and $1.50 per page to certify it. Most deeds aren't more than 3 pages.
How about if I wanted a non-certified copy? Oh, that's free. Just go to the Clerk of Courts Web site and print it off.
I called this shady company this morning and told them what I had learned. I asked them why anyone would use their service, when they can do it themselves for a fraction of the cost? This is what the lady told me:
"We’re a service company. Let’s say you don’t have the time to go down to the courthouse. We go for you. You never have to break your routine or make an annoying trip."
I think that's bull. I think this company is banking on people not being knowledgeable enough to know better than to spend 90 freaking dollars on something they can get themselves for less than $10.
Just before I tossed the letter in the recycling bin, I noticed a glorious site: a postage paid envelope. An idea was born. Recently someone left a comment on my blog about annoying junk mail and offered a BRILLIANT way to get back that those creeps.
I've been saving some boxes, just for the right opportunity to strike, and dear readers, today is the day! I've packed this box:
Full of crap like this:
And I'm mailing it to Florida Certified Deed Services today. They are getting one nice gift among all the crap- a signed copy of Southeastern University President Mark Rutland's book, Nevertheless. I already have a copy, and these people need some Jesus in their lives.