I spent some time with Carmen reading through complaints about Notaries. For years, the NNA, 123notary and others spent a lot of emphasis on educating people about loan documents. However, the complaints we get about Notaries are never about loan documents. Then, we learned that most Notaries listed with us do not understand the basics of how to be a Notary Public. However, we rarely get complaints about people’s Notary work. So, what type of complaints are we getting?
1. Leaving the customer high and dry.
Did you finish a signing and then turn your phone off? Did you not answer your emails because you did not have any notary jobs that week? Did you go on a camping trip where phones don’t work? Or did you get angry with a vendor and just decide not to answer calls. After a signing is over, you are responsible for being available for 72-96 business hours. If the Lender or Title company doesn’t get their documents back and needs a Fedex # and you conveniently are unavailable, what are they supposed to do other than write a negative review about you? If you made a Notary mistake but are not available to fix it what to do? If there is some reason they need you to go back, but can’t reach you then what can they do? If you are not going to be available for four days after you finish a signing, warn people so they know ahead of time.
2. Being rude
I realize from all the Notaries I talk to that many Notaries are just down right rude. And those are the people who call me rude. I am impatient, but not normally rude. I get upset when people either won’t answer a question or give stupid answers or when people don’t care about doing a good job. I learned to combat my own impatience by writing people up who are rude or uncooperative. That way I gain some critical information on the person being rude and often remove them from my database as they are a detriment to society and dangerous to hire despite their claims that, “I’ve been doin’ this for 20 years and therefor know what I’m doin’.” even though they scored 20% on my easy quiz.
3. Not following directions
Many Notaries who I quiz do even worse following directions than they do on loan document questions. If you don’t do what is asked of you, you will get in trouble. So READ instructions, call when you don’t understand something and obey the law and those who hire you in that order. Beginners tend to have a much more difficult time following directions than old timers by the way, and beginners make outrageous notary mistakes a lot more too as they haven’t been scolded (much) yet.
4. Notary mistakes
In the old days we had more complaints about Notary mistakes. Although our notaries typically do not know what they are doing, their mistakes and knowledge omissions don’t seem to get them CAUGHT which is the main thing. If you seal over wording you get caught. If you use your stamp wherever you see the word “seal” in a context where seal means signature, you will get repremanded. If your stamp is smudgy your local county recorder will get you in trouble. But, if you are unable to explain the difference between a Jurat and an Acknowledgment, or forget to do your Oath, then I am the only one who will catch you — and you can bank on the fact that I will, so study up!
So, the bottom line here is that it is good to do a good job as a Notary and even better to know how to distinguish between the various documents in a loan. However, being nice, cooperative, following directions and getting back to people in a timely manner count more than being a good Notary. As a directory owner, I am weeding my directory and weeding out the worst Notaries. The rude ones get weeded out much more quickly than people who are bad Notaries with good attitudes. Someone with a good attitude can learn, but an uncooperative jerk will never learn. So, be advised.>