Home warranty mailers urging homeowners to call are not from the county recorder
MILLCREEK, Utah — If an urgent notice showed up in the mail from your local county claiming a home warranty is about to expire, you would take notice. Well, a Millcreek woman took notice of the awfully official looking letter she received. Turns out, it was not official at all.
When Judy Barnett checked her mail last week, she was greeted by an urgent looking mailer.
“I thought it was from Salt Lake County,” she said.
And why wouldn’t she?
It says “COUNTY DEED RECORDS” in all caps at the top. And it includes some legalese: Final Notice it warns. Barnett is hereby “advised” to call an 888 number “before it’s too late” and her “expiration date expires.”
“So, there’s a deadline there. And then, it’s got my, what’s the other one — uninterrupted protection? I mean, I just think mechanical systems,” she said as showed me the letter. “Oh yeah, seems very official.”
But “official” it is not.
The KSL Investigators took Barnett’s letter to Salt Lake County recorder Rashelle Hobbs.
“I can see, Matt, how this can be misleading because it does look official,” Hobbs said.
“Did this come from you?” I asked.
“No,” she responded. “This is in no way associated with the county recorder’s office.”
So, who did it come from? The mailer does not say. I called the number to find out.
“My name is Matt Gephardt. I’m a reporter at KSL-TV in Salt Lake City.”
The man who answered says they sell home warranties.
“By putting county deed records at the top in big bold letters?” I asked. “Are you trying to trick people into calling thinking this is an important notice?”
“No, obviously we don’t trick anybody, sir,” he answered.
In the conversation, I was told the reason it says “County Deed Records” is because that is the public database where they get people’s information to send out the mailers.
“How often do people call your company thinking that they’re calling the county recorder?” I asked.
“Sir, how can I? How can I really help you?” he responded.
“By answering my questions is how you can help me. I’m asking how many times…”
“I don’t need to answer your questions, sir.”
“Well, I’m asking you to,” I repeated.
“The notice that you called in regard to is not for you, so in all actuality, I’m not required to answer any of your questions or continue the conversation.”
“I felt it was threatening,” Barnett said of the mailer.
She never called the company, but she did call a few friends — other seniors — who she says also got the notice.
“They were confused,” she said. “Some of them have called the number, so I reached out.”
Before hanging up on me, the company told me they do not “dupe anybody,” “scam anybody” or “trick anybody.” And allegations otherwise are “baseless and fact less.” They also stated that nobody ever calls in thinking they are calling their county recorder.
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