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N.J. Assemblywoman is friend in deed to seniors

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Hundreds of New Jersey residents being ripped off by a predatory practice of some deed companies may soon get protection.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman says many senior citizens are being taken in by mailings telling them they need to pay more than $69 for a certified copy of the deed for their home.

“The information that they’re sending out, apparently, is in this sort of government-looking envelope,” said Coleman. ” It gives one the impression that this is an important solicitation. It gave people the impression that they had to do something they didn’t have to do.”

Coleman is proposing legislation that would require deed solicitors to inform residents about a much less costly option at their county clerk’s office. The companies would also have to register with the state Consumer Affairs Division.

Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello says the deed companies are targeting senior citizens.

“Seniors who see this think that they have to have a certified deed when in fact you do not have to have a certified deed,” said Covello. “They’re telling them that they have to have one and they need to pay $69.50 for it. We will do a certified deed for you for $10 and $1.50 per page.”

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