SCRANTON -- Two months after he bought a house on Bryn Mawr Street in Scranton, Mike Gerrity opened what he calls an official looking letter from a company called Property Transfer Service.
Gerrity read the letter out loud: "Property Transfer Service recommends that all PA homeowners obtain a copy of their current grant deed."
The company offered to get him a copy of his deed, for $83.
"It got me scared at first, because I wasn`t sure," said Gerrity. "I thought it was official, and it just made me nervous."
Mike Gerrity took the letter to the Lackawanna County Recorder of Deeds office. He learned he didn`t need to pay at all to get his deed.
"I feel like this was a scam, it was deceitful," he said.
Technically, this is not a scam, it`s a business that`s legal. But it wants to charge you $83 bucks for a service you can get for free.
"If it was illegal, I would go after them," said Evie McNulty, the Lackawanna County Recorder of Deeds.
McNulty says people can go on line, find their deed, and print it out for free.
For an extra $2 the Recorder's Office can certify it.
McNulty believes the company is trying to make its mailer look official so homeowners would pay more than $80 for an inexpensive service.
"I just don`t get how people can try to make a buck on an innocent individual," McNulty says. "It just is poor moral character."
Mike Gerrity believes he is one of those innocent individuals.
Like most new home buyers, he signed several documents to close the deal
"And you get something like this here, and you probably think, well its just another bill that came along with the house in the beginning. And pay it," said Gerrity.
Action 16 Investigates called several Recorder of Deeds offices in our area and found a copy for a deed costs anywhere from nothing to five dollars.
We've also called Property Transfer services in Washington DC, but company executives did not call us back.