DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) — Iowa Attorney General Miller Tom Miller has reached an agreement with an Illinois business owner to cease the marketing of deeds and other government records to Iowans.
Barry Isaacson, the principal owner of National Record Service Inc. and National Deed Service Inc., both based in Northbrook, Ill., allegedly solicited Iowans through mailings designed to appear as if they had an official or governmental function or connection.
The mailings allegedly charged $59.50 for certified copies of property deeds. Under Iowa law, however, Isaacson had to retrieve the documents from the appropriate county recorder’s office, the same source as any other citizen or property owner. Certified copies of property deeds are provided by the county recorder’s office for $5, while uncertified copies cost less. Many counties provide uncertified copies free of charge through their official websites.
“This is another case where Iowans forwarded these official-looking sales pitches to our Consumer Protection Division, and we felt that the misleading letters violate our state’s consumer fraud laws,” Miller said. “These letters may confuse homeowners, and some Iowans may feel compelled to pay exorbitant prices for something they can get for a lot less money through their county recorder. And it’s a document that they might not need to begin with.”
Isaacson agreed to an assurance of voluntary compliance with Miller’s Consumer Protection Division that takes effect immediately.
Miller signed a similar agreement last month with the California-based “State Record Retrieval Board.” The company agreed to stop “deed retrieval services” for Iowans under terms of that agreement.