Florida Title Pros of Brandon and Docu-File Title and Escrow of Tulsa Did Not Correct Their Errors and Omissions
We feel we have established that Florida Title Pros and Docu-File USA “totally screwed up our closing,” to use a colloquial term. We believe we have demonstrated that these title, escrow and closing agent firms, through their sloppy and deliberate inaction and inattention, have exhibited gross negligence, committed willful breach, and evinced utter incompetence. Florida Title Pros’ mistakes caused us $1050 in damages in the form of uncollected and undisbursed monies, namely advance rents, prepaid rents, and security deposits.
We feel we have further established that Patti Dulaney at Florida Title Pros had actual notice and/or affirmative knowledge of the existence of a lease on the condominium, and of the existence of advance and prepaid rents, and security deposits. We have also established that the Brandon, Florida branch of Docu-File Title and Escrow of Tulsa was paid for and responsible for (through the specific escrow instructions contained in the purchase and sale contract) collecting and disbursing escrow monies, including the aforementioned deposits and rents.
Subsequent to the closing on April 20, 2012, we have been in frequent telephone and email contact with Florida Title Pros of Brandon. We have taken the following actions in an effort to mitigate our damages and to attempt to settle our complaint:
- Communicated the exact errors and omissions that occurred, namely the failure to collect security deposit and prepaid/advance rents from Seller and to disburse same to Buyer (us).
- Contacted the Seller, to request that she pay what is owed. The seller is in violation of Florida Statute 83.49(7), which requires a seller to turn over all security deposits and prepaid/advance rents when a property is transferred to a new owner. We also reserve our right to bring legal action against the seller to collect these monies and enforce the law.
- Pointed out the contract’s explicit escrow instructions that closing agent Patti Dulaney ignored, and requested that Florida Title Pros use its authority as specified in the error correction documents.
- Clarified to Florida Title Pros that the HUD-1 is not a final settlement statement, and it is allowable and, in fact expected, that errors discovered in the HUD-1 after closing be identified and corrected.
- Offered to mediate the dispute.
- Filed complaints with First American Title and the Florida Department of Financial Services.
- Filed complaints with the BBB Better Business Bureau in Tulsa Oklahoma and Tampa West Florida.
Our reasonable and appropriate efforts have been resisted by the closing agent, Patti Dulaney. But, a few weeks ago, Florida Title Pros of Brandon agreed in writing to settle the complaint and pay the monies owed. However, shortly thereafter, their parent company, namely Robert (Bob) Monett, President of Docu-File Title and Escrow Services, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reneged on that promise and refused to deal with the problem. Instead, he chose to argue at length with us, insisting that because they did not collect the money from the seller in the first place, they had no responsibility to address or fix the problem for us. Monnet further threatened to file a lawsuit against us for tortious interference with his business.
Our response to Monnet’s ridiculous argument is, you think that by continuing to do things wrong, eventually that will make matters right? It’s OK for Florida Title Pros of Brandon and DocuFile Title and Escrow of Tulsa to refuse to fix the problem that they themselves caused?
It’s as if Bob Monnet, President of Docu-File, is saying, in his haughtiest of voices:
“Hey, it’s not our problem, even though it was us, Docu-File and Florida Title Pros, who screwed this up in the first place. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t follow instructions and we didn’t deliver the closing agent/title and escrow services you paid for. You really must excuse our gross negligence and willful breach of contract — because, unbeknownst to you, and without your approval, we did a “courtesy closing.” And because you didn’t notice or call us on all of our mistakes, that makes it your fault, not ours. Furthermore:
- It’s not our fault that we did not collect the monies from the Seller, and
- We aren’t going to admit our mistakes, and
- We aren’t going to make any effort to retroactively make things right, and
- We aren’t going to pay you anything, and
- We dare you to sue us. “
Hey, Bob Monnet, that makes you sound like such a swell guy!
But, seriously, don’t you understand — that most ethical companies will admit their mistakes and try to fix them? This is because denying mistakes and deflecting blame, that just makes the problem worse. Sometimes, it even results in angry customers posting websites, reviews, complaints, and ratings information on the Internet, describing in great detail their complaints, problems, and issues with firms like Florida Title Pros of Brandon and Docu-File Title and Escrow Services of Tulsa. Information that will be available forever, leaving a permanent record for all to see.
But Florida Title Pros of Brandon and Docu-File Title and Escrow Services of Tulsa, well, they just don’t seem to get it. Seemingly, these businesses do not subscribe to the normal code of ethics. Far from it — based on our experience, they will happily take your money, service you with negligence and incompetence, and then run the other way when confronted with errors and omissions.
Ask yourself — does these firms’ behavior seem proper, reasonable, and ethical to you? Is this the type of title, escrow and closing agent services you want to contract, pay for, and trust with your important real estate documents and transactions? Is it worth the risk and aggravation? Don’t you think you deserve and can do better?
In closing, allow us to relate an anecdotal telephone conversation we had with a representative of the Oklahoma Land Title Association, which would be Docu-File Title and Escrow Services of Tulsa’s trade association (if they had the professional interest and consumer commitment to be a member), who told us (paraphrased):
I’m not surprised that Docu-File Title and Escrow of Tulsa refuses to work things out with you. They think you won’t sue them because the amount of money involved is too small. They expect you to just walk away, to accept your loss and their bad performance. It is too bad that Oklahoma does not regulate closing agents, because I have seen many instances where those companies should be fixing and/or paying for mistakes, but they refuse to do so. I wish you luck.
Our advice, if you haven’t picked your title company yet, is: don’t rely on luck. Do your research. There are many title, escrow and closing agencies from which to choose. Find one with excellent customer service, good attention to detail, strong ethics, and a “get-it-right” attitude. If you find our arguments persuasive, you might be wise to select a firm other than Florida Title Pros of Brandon and Docu-File Title and Escrow Services of Tulsa.
We invite you to learn from our experience with Florida Title Pros and Docu-File. We would be happy to respond to inquiries and to offer advice as to how to avoid a bad experience.