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Local News

Legislation to prevent private companies from fleecing citizens by charging exorbitant fees for copies of deeds that are available from their county Register of Deeds for  $1 a page was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder April 21.

 

Barry County Register of Deeds Barb Hurless strongly endorses the new law, saying the companies charge as much as $83 for a copy of a deed.

 

Not a week goes by without someone in the county calling or coming into the office questioning a mailing they have received from one of those companies, she said.

 

If a Barry County resident gets a mailing from a company offering to sell deeds, Hurless asks them to bring it, or send it, to her office so she can report it to the attorney general’s office to bring action against the company.

 

"This law is long overdue," said Amy Bissell, President of the Michigan Association of Register of Deeds. "For years citizens have been solicited by private companies charging as much as $80 for their own deed when they are able to obtain copies of the same deed from their local register of deeds office for as little as $1."

 

Under the new law, the attorney general can bring action against anyone who knowingly violates the law. The court can order the person to refund all of the money paid by the victims of the scam and the company may be ordered to pay a fine of $100 for the first violation of the act followed by $200 for a subsequent violation. 

Fines collected under this section will go to public libraries.

 

 

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