More and more often I have been speaking to potential clients who were immediately contacted by dozens of third-party surplus recovery companies. I call them vultures because they watch the different county foreclosure sales online while they are happening. As soon as they see a sale go through that they know was for far more than what was owed on the property, they jump in and start calling the former owner or their heirs, sometimes within minutes of the auction’s completion. These auctions are done largely online, they are open to the public, and you can watch the bidding as it is taking place.
But then how do these third-party recovery companies get away with calling someone out of the blue like this? Honestly, they get away with it because they are not regulated. Florida Statute 45.033 only gives some guidelines as to how they are to file their requests for Florida Foreclosure Surplus Funds, but they are no longer regulated as to exactly how much they can charge someone for their “services”. The statutes on Tax Deed Surplus are just as lax. They have no regulations as to whether or not they can contact someone, and most people’s information is online through different companies that gather phone numbers and addresses on just about anyone. Sometimes a Guardian ad Litem has been appointed in the original foreclosure case and heirs have been found and named. They can go onto social media or lots of other resources, and they do.
As soon as they smell the possibility of someone having Florida Foreclosure Surplus or Tax Deed Sale Surplus Funds, they swoop in like vultures to pick people clean. I have seen them reach out to someone literally minutes right after the auction on the property has completed, coerce the person into signing over their rights to the third-party recovery company for an unethical amount, call up an attorney and have them file a motion for the Surplus Funds within hour. The poor person who has now lost their home is distraught and probably in shock from everything that has happened, and many times doesn’t know they’ve just signed away almost half of the Florida Foreclosure Surplus or Tax Deed Sale Surplus Funds they had coming to them.
They don’t always disclose to the potential party how much they are really charging. I have seen them charge a 33% consultation fee in addition to the [formerly regulated] 12% they were able to get for providing their “services”. That is a total of 45% of the Florida Foreclosure Surplus or Tax Deed Sale Surplus Funds. I represent one such client and the 33% consultation fee was not disclosed to the court. This is a violation of Florida Statute 45.033(3)(a)(3), that states the agreement provided to the court must specify “all forms of consideration paid for the rights to the property or the assignment of the rights to any surplus funds.” I also have another client where a third-party recovery company is representing a person in the same case who is not entitled to any of the Florida Foreclosure Surplus or Tax Deed Sale Surplus Funds at all. They only seem to care whether or not they can dupe these people and the judicial system out of money. And none of these people have ever spoken to or met the attorney that is working on behalf of the third-party recovery company.
You won’t see an attorney contact you letting you know you may have Florida Foreclosure Surplus or Tax Deed Sale Surplus Funds available to you because based on the Rules of Ethics laid down by the Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court, an attorney is not allowed to directly solicit a client. I can send you an advertisement telling you what I do, but I cannot call you directly and tell you how much Florida Foreclosure Surplus or Tax Deed Sale Surplus Funds you might have coming to you. You have to call me. It is imperative that you do your research on this. Don’t trust these companies because they are not in this to help you. They are only out for themselves.
If you have been contacted by a third-party surplus recovery company who says they can get those Florida Foreclosure Sale Surplus or Tax Deed Sale Surplus Funds, don’t sign anything and give me a call. The consultation with me is always free. I will give you an honest assessment of what you can recover and if you choose to hire me, I will do everything I can to make sure you get the maximum Florida Foreclosure Surplus or Tax Deed Surplus funds you have coming to you. And remember, I work for you. You don’t sign over your rights. And I only get paid if I recover funds for you.