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December 30, 2011

Notary pushed off stairs PART 2

For those that remember my last blog about the notary that was brutally pushed off the steps of a disgruntled borrower by the borrower himself. I have an exciting update.

Click on the link below to see the original story part 1
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1097

A few weeks ago,  I got a call from our notary that had been pushed from the stairs with some pretty great news. First off, she is healing well and is in good spirits. Our notary went on to thank me for writing her story because some good had actually come from me telling her story. After reading my blog  about her ordeal she decided to send it to the  the signing company that had treated her so poorly.  To her surprise the owner got hold of it and upon reading the blog she received a call from him. He told her that he knew nothing  whatsoever of what had happened to her. He stated that he had not been informed by his employees at the time of the actual attack but only after receiving  a copy of my blog had he became aware of the incident. He stated he was shocked. (To refresh your memory the girls in the office treated her as if she was lying about being pushed off the stairs and in essence accused her of making excuses for why the closing hadn’t been completed.)  He offered his apologies and asked her had she revealed the signing service to 123 or anyone else for that matter and she assured him that she had not. He asked her to please continue not to reveal his company in the future because he was ashamed of his company employees behavior. He then went on surprizingly to offer her 500.00 toward her medical bills.  ( I told her it sounded like hush money to me :))  She said that she kindly excepted his offer but held off sharing it with me because she wanted the money in hand and in the bank. Cant blame her on that one.

She then went on to tell me that per the DA who was handling the case of the borrower that had viscously pushed her had him  formally charged with several counts such as assault with intent to do bodily harm, (and a couple of more serious charges that escape me) and that the borrowers  employer had somehow found out about all of this and had suspended him from work pending the outcome of the trial. So,  it looks like he has major trouble to deal with which he rightfully deserves IMO. I hope this will teach him a lesson he will never forget. Unfortunately for him it looks like he is about to lose everything because I am guessing not only is he about to lose his job he is about to loose his freedom as well.

In closing remember to be safe and watch your circumstances. Although this is not an usual occurrence we now know it is a possibility.

Until next time… be safe.

You might also like:

Notary pushed off stairs part 1
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1097

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November 29, 2011

Can a notary perform a wedding or marriage?

Can a notary perform weddings?  Can a notary perform a marriage?
 
There are only three states that allow notaries to perform weddings.  If you are a Florida Notary Public, Maine Notary Public, or a South Carolina Notary Public, you can solemnize a marriage or officiate at a wedding. However, you might need some extra qualifications and authorizations from your state, so please ask your state notary division what you need to do to be able to officiate at weddings.
 
Can an Arizona notary perform a wedding?
No, an Arizona notary may not perform a wedding.
 
Can a California notary perform a wedding?
Sorry, that is not possible. Please find a specialist who is authorized to perform a wedding such as a priest, rabbi, clergy member, magistrate, marriage commissioner, or ask your local county clerk’s office, etc.
 
Can a Florida notary perform a wedding?
Some Florida notaries have the paperwork necessary (and the skill / specialty) to perform marriages.  123notary.com has a handful of Florida notaries who perform marriages as their primary vocation.
 
Can a Maine Notary perform a wedding?
Maine notaries can get licensed to perform marriages.  There are a handful of Maine notaries who perform marriages on a regular basis, and you can find them on the internet.
 
Can  a Maryland Notary perform a wedding?
No, a Maryland Notary may not officiate at a wedding.
 
Can a New Jersey Notary perform a wedding.
No, a New Jersey Notary may not perform a wedding
 
Can a New York Notary perform a wedding?
No, a New York Notary Public may not officiate at a wedding.
 
Can a Pennsylvania Notary perform a wedding?
No, a Pennsylvania notary can not perform a wedding ceremony.
 
Can a South Carolina notary perform a wedding.
With special authorization from the state, a South Carolina notary public may perform marriages.
 
Can a Texas notary peform a wedding?
Sorry, that is not allowed. Please consult a priest, rabbi, clergy member, or your local county clerk’s office.
 
Don’t see your state mentioned?  If you are not in FL, ME, or SC, a notary may not officiate at your wedding!

You might also like:

Links to websites that have information about who can do weddings

How much should a notary charge for swearing in a witness?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2447

Did you know? Random interesting notary facts
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2818

How to get a Birth Certificate with no ID
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3474

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November 26, 2011

Notary Certificates, Notary Wording & Notary Verbiage

Notary Certificates,  Notary Verbiage & Notary Wording

Notary terminology is sometimes confusing, so there are a few things to remember.  There are different types of common notarizations.  Acknowledgments and Jurats require certificate wording (notary wording), and Oaths and Affirmations could be purely verbal.  A Jurat requires that an Oath or Affirmation accompany the signing and certificate wording (notary wording, notary verbiage).  An Acknowledgment is purely paperwork in most cases, however, I have seen even an Acknowledged signature have an accompanying Oath.  80% of notarizations are Acknowledged signatures, while roughly 19% are Jurats, and the remaining 1% would be a mixture of other types of less common notary acts.
 
Acknowledged Signatures
The 2011 & 2012 notary certificate for an acknowledged signature includes a venue (documentation of county & state), the name of the notary, the name of the signer, the fact that the signer appeared before the notary and acknowledged signing a particular document.  The current notary verbiage on this form should include the date of the signing, and the signature and official seal of the notary as well.  The actual notary verbiage differs from state to state.  California notary verbiage is a bit different than Ohio notary verbiage.  Also, Ohio has different types of acknowledgments such as corporate acknowledgments and an attorney in fact acknowledgment.  You should ideally research your state’s notary verbiage to see what it is.  If you visit our find a notary page, there are links to states, and on the state pages, you can find a lot of information about acknowledgments and jurats in those states.  We have detailed information for Florida, Illinois, Michigan, California, Arizona, Ohio, and a few other states as well.
 
Jurat Signatures
The notary certificate for a jurat signature / oath has changed in many states. It is/was normal to have a venue, and then say, “Subscribed and sworn to before me (name of notary) by (name of signer) on (date).”  Then there would be a signature of the notary, and a place for the official notary seal.  Jurat verbiage also can differ from state to state so please look it up on google. 
 
Certificate forms.
Notary certificates can be notary wording / notary verbiage that is embedded on the last page of a document, or sometimes within a document if there are intermediary signatures.  If the notarial wording is NOT included, you must add a loose certificate and attach it to the document (by stapling). 
 
Filling out the forms.
Many notaries don’t understand how to fill out notary wording on certificate forms.  Let’s say a guy named Paul Solomon is the signer.  If the form says,
 
(note: this is not real Florida notary wording — I am making it up for educational purposes)
In real life, the Florida notary certificate is much simpler than this, but in other states there are cross outs that the notary needs to make. 
 
State of Florida
County of Brevard
On 8-11-2010 before me John Doe, notary public, the foregoing document was acknowledged before me by Paul Solomon, who acknowledges signing the document in his/her/their capacity(ies).
 
(notary seal)
 
In this example, it is the notary’s job to cross out the “her” and “their”, and the “ies” in capacities.  More than half of notarizations that I have seen were done by notaries who omitted to do the cross-outs.

You might also like:

What information is in the body of an acknowledgment (March Phoninar)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4390

Notary boiler plate wording
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2432

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November 22, 2011

Bounced Checks, Collection Agencies, FBI reports: Learn which companies are involved!

Bounced Checks, Collection Agencies, FBI reports…

For some of you, this is old information that you have already been following. However, many notaries do not have time to read everything that goes on on the forum, and this news about signing companies will be of interest and a convenience to them!  It is hard for me to keep up with what is going on on the forums on a daily basis, but I have noticed that a lot of bad things happened in September 2011.  There were a few loan signing companies that had a reasonable reputation that suddenly stopped paying notaries.  One or more companies was reported to be out of business.  I am going to summarize the more important events of the last month or two here. I will only mention the more noteworthy signing companies here.
 
All Service Notary & Signings
Sept 16 – A notary gives up on trying to collect their bill and hands it over to a collection agency. Additionally, this notary reports the signing company to a credit bureau!  Another notary reports trouble getting paid from this company.  A third notary says, that after a long time, they finally received their check — but, that was in early August. The situation looks like it has deteriorated since then.
 
CRES Closers
One notary says that they are the BEST to work for!  Another says they met his fee and that they were great to work for. A third notary claims that they sent payment super fast!  Wow, it is nice to hear good things about a signing company these days!
 
Equifax Settlement Services
One notary got paid, but says the company says that they will take THREE MONTHS to pay for jobs in the future because they have to wait until the loans fund.  Another notary discusses the letter they sent to the BBB about this company. A third notary discusses the difference in what this company offers different notaries for the same work.  One gets $85, while another is offered $125!
 
FASS – First American Signature Services
Notaries are complaining, but not about payment issues.  One notary was taken off the list because FASS found a less expensive notary.  Back in 2010, FASS took over service for a big Title company and dropped the notary who had been servicing the signings for that Title company.  Another notary feels that they were treated rudely after some sort of argument about “quality issues”.  Although there is a lot of complaining going on here, I don’t see any wrongdoing on the part of FASS. They are just shopping around to find the best notaries for them — and trying to get high quality service as well. America is a free country and nobody is obligated to keep the same notary for life.
 
Final Link
Three notaries have complained that this company doesn’t do a good job of getting back to people. Not returning calls, etc.
 
First Preference Signing
Four notaries all claim in unison that this is the best company that they have ever worked for. 
 
Harvard Abstract
Three notaries are claiming that this company is easy to work for and that they pay quickly.
 
HVR Notaries
Two notaries claim that this is a good company to work for.  One says, “They met my fee”, which is a very good sign these days with all the low balling.
 
Insured Closings
Notaries claim that there have been several reports of BOUNCED CHECKS from this company.  Watch out!
 
National Loan Closers
This company is reported to be asking for $25 to keep notaries on their list. This is causing a lot of disturbance in the notary world.  Notaries feel that companies should be paying them, and not vice versa. 
 
Nations Direct
We have gotten many complaints about low-balling and micromanagement. One notary’s signing was interrupted by a phone call, where she was asked if she was using a blue pen.  On the other hand, it is prudent for a signing company who uses many newer notaries to call and check up on people. Obviously, many of the notaries they hired screwed up and ruined many loans which is the reason for all of the babysitting.  Please try to look at things from the signing company’s perspective. They are trying to get the job done.  Also see: Nations Direct has been around for more than a decade!
 
Nowclosings.com
Many notaries are claiming that this is one of the BEST signing companies they have ever worked for.

N3 Notary
A few notaries are complaining that company has badgered them too much during their signings. 

Pacific Document Services
Checks that they sent out have allegedly gotten LOST in the mail. One notary has filed an official complaint with the FBI to try to get this company shut down. Another notary received a check that BOUNCED.  This is one of the most serious cases I have seen all year!  The opinions expressed here are the opinions of particular notaries and not of 123notary.com.
  
Safir Signing Agents
Multiple notaries are complaining about no-pay and SLOW-PAY.
 
Service Link
This company has lowered their fees, and we have had many complaints from notaries about LOW-BALLING from this company.
 
Superior Closings
The people that run this company have been functioning under four different business names over the course of time.  They are reported to be out of business now.
 
The Notary Biz
Many notaries are discussing whether or not this company is still in business.  One notary had a discussion with the owner who claimed that they were no longer in business.
 
The R&R Group
Several notaries are complaining about non-payment, and one is owed $375 by this company
 
Trans State Services
Many notaries are really happy with this company.  Good working conditions and timely pay!
 
Vital Signings
This company has a good payment record, but many notaries are complaining that there are too many steps involved in the signing process and a lot of babysitting.

Tweets:
(1) Here is a list of companies that bounced checks, had FBI reports, or were notorious late payers to notaries!

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November 13, 2011

Can a notary witness a will or notarize one?

Can a notary act as a witness to a will — Can a notary notarize a will?
 
This is a very difficult topic to write about because notary law differs from state to state, and notary laws change over time as well in particular states.  As a general rule, a notary public is discouraged from notarizing signatures on any will.  If you are a New York Notary Public, you should probably avoid notarizing signatures on Wills under any circumstance since standards for what constitutes unauthorized practice of law in New York State for a New York Notary Public are more stringent than many other states.  I heard that notarizing a Will as a New York Notary might be considered practicing law. However, in many states, a notary can notarize signatures on a will — even though it would be meaningless.  Utah notaries are encouraged to notarize signatures on Wills if asked to since it is illegal to turn down any lawful request for a notarization. But, what about acting as a witness?
 
A notary can act as a witness, but in their capacity as an individual.
Unless your state prohibits a notary from being a witness (  have never heard of such a restriction, but it could exist), a notary can be a witness.  A Delaware Notary Public can act as a witness as an official Delaware notary act and charge a prescribed maximum notary fee.  However, in other states, a notary public may act as a witness, but in their capacity as an individual — or at least it would not be done as an official notary act recognized by their state.  On the other hand, the notary acting as a witness can also indicate that they are a commissioned notary in their state which adds credibility.  Notaries are screened before being commissioned in their respective state which makes them perhaps more credible than an average citizen (you would think).
 
Unauthorized practice of law — what does this mean?
I am not an attorney, and can not give any meaningful tutorials on what unauthorized practice of law constitutes.  As a non-attorney notary, you should avoid giving any type of advice about what type of notarization to get, what type of legal paperwork to get, or how to fill it out.  You should not draft legal documents in any state (documents to be used in court or submitted to a judge or used in conjunction with any court case).  You might be able to assist in drafting non-legal documents in many states that are to be notarized such as simple affidavits, etc.  A Florida notary public is strongly advised against helping drafting any type of documents since laws in their state are more strict about what type of advice a notary may give.  In short, each state has a different idea of what “UPL” means.  To play it safe, please read up on what your state notary laws are, and don’t draft legal documents, and don’t give advice on legal matters.
 
How many witnesses do you need for a Will?
It is standard in California, New York, Ohio, Arizona,  and  most other states for a Will to require two witness signatures. I read on findlaw.com that Vermont requires three witnesses to sign a Will.  Witnesses must be 18 years of age or older in any state.  A notary can be one of those witnesses.
 
How do you document witnesses?
It is not a crime for a notary public to notarize the signatures of witnesses on a will, although it is improper to notarize the signature of the principal. It is always helpful for the witnesses to print their name, give their address and a phone number as documentation. You never know when they might need to be contacted.  By having witnesses’ signatures notarized, the notary has a record of the identification of the witnesses, and a prudent notary would also record their adress and maybe even their contact information.
 
What is it like to act as a witness to a will?
I have done this many times.  It is a very boring, but traditional formal proceeding. It is common to have an attorney present, a few neighbors or friends, and perhaps even a bottle of wine (for after the signing).  Everyone commonly gathers around the dining room table. Once everyone is there, then the attorney might give a quick speech, and then the principal signer signs, and then the witnesses sign in their appointed places.  Afterwards, there is lots of chatting generally. Or, you might meet in the conference room of a law office and do it there (less fun).  Many people consider a notary to be a better quality witness since they deal with signing documents as a profession and they take signatures more seriously, so I got many gigs as a witness.  I took it very seriously and watched very intently every time a signer signed!
 
You might also like:
 
Information about Credible Witnesses
 
Can a notary be a witness?
 
New York Notary search results

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October 22, 2011

Can a notary be a witness?

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Q&A for notary witness questions

Many people come to our blog to learn more about witness rules and credible witness requirements in various states.   We can not speak for all 50 states, but we will try to provide some good leads that can help you get your questions answered.
This blog entry will serve as a quick Q&A for some of the more common nationwide and state-specific notary witness questions.

 
How many credible witnesses are necessary?
Roughly 90% of states allow credible witnesses.  Please read:  http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4047.  This forum post to learn the credible witness requirements for your state.  In California and Florida, if the notary knows the witness, then only one is necessary.  However if the notary does not know the credible identifying witness, then two would be necessary. In either case, the credible witness must provide identification, and swear under oath to the identify of the signer. In many cases, the credible identifying witness only knows the signer by some informal name and knows them as a neighbor or co-worker on a very informal basis.

Can a notary act as a witness?  Can a notary be a witness?
Unless your state law indicates otherwise, then yes, a notary can act as a witness. Please keep in mind that certain notary acts require the notary to witness the signature of the signer (jurats), while other notary acts do not (such as acknowledgements).  A notary can act as a witness for a signature that they notarized, or for a signature that they did not notarize. It is an official notary act to be a witness in Delaware and Washington State as well.  It is common for people to ask a notary to witness signatures, since notaries are trusted state officials who would be a good impartial and responsible witness.
 
How to notarize a document when you have credible witnesses?
The credible witness(es) must sign the notary journal (rules vary state by state), and must produce identification as well.  The credible identifying witnesses must swear under oath as to the identity of the document signer.The credible witnesses do not actually sign any documents, they just sign the journal and help to identify the signers.

 Can a notary notarize with no ID and 2 credible witnesses?
Yes, if the notarization takes place in California, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, or Tennessee.
 
Nevada credible witnesses – is there a special form?
Nevada requires a special acknowledgment form for credible witnesses.
 
Can a notary be a witness to a Will?  Can a notary witness a Will?
Yes, a notary can be a witness to a will.  Some states allow witnessing as an official notary act as well. If it is not an official act, then the notary can charge any fee they like to serve as a witness.  Please keep in mind that notaries are discouraged from notarizing signatures on Wills without written instructions from an attorney.
 
Can a notary sign as a witness in Maryland? Can a notary be a witness in Maryland?
A notary can sign as a witness in Maryland, but it is not an official notary act in that state. 
 
Can a notary sign as a witness in Utah? Can a notary be a witness in Utah?
Yes, a notary can be a witness in Utah.
 
Can a notary be a witness in Texas?
Yes, a notary can be a witness in Texas.
 
Can a notary be a witness in New Jersey?
Yes, a notary can be a witness in New Jersey.
 
Can a notary be a witness in Pennsylvania?
Yes, a notary can be a witness in Pennsylvania, although it is not an official notary act.
 
What are credible witness statutes?
Credible witness statutes and rules vary from state to state. We have a forum post that covers many states rules about how many credible witnesses you need.
 
Doesn’t a notary have to witness you signing in person?
This depends on the type of notary act.  For Jurats — yes… for Acknowledgments — no.  In either case, the signer must sign the notary journal or notary record book if that is required in your state.
 
If you live on the border of 2 states, are you permitted to witness signings in both states?
Since witnessing is not an official notary act except in Delaware and in New Hampshire (as far as we know), a notary can be a witness anywhere, in any state or country.
 
Can a notary charge for a witness signature?  Can a notary charge to be a witness?
Since this activity is not an official notary act except in Delaware, the notary can charge whatever the client will agree to pay.  No state government regulates how much a witness can charge.

Can I be a notary and a witness?
Sure!
 
What is a notary credible witness acknowledgment?
To the best of our knowledge, only Nevada requires a special acknolwedgment for credible witnesses.  However, credible witnesses may be used in most states to identify a signer for an acknolwedged signature.
 
What is a subscribing witness?
A subscribing witness could be someone who witnesses a principal sign in a proof of execution — OR, it could be a person who witnesses an elderly person do a signature by X signing.

You might also like:

Power of Attorney information

Can a notary witness a will or notarize one?

California Credible Witness Requirements

Oath of two credible witnesses

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September 20, 2011

Notary is pushed off stairs by borrower!

Well, I thought I had heard it all.  I hear a lot of wonderful, interesting tales here at 123 from our members. Some are entertaining and funny while others are very sad and depressing. This, unfortunately is one of these stories and unfortunately it is the worst to date. It is nothing short of horrendous and shameful. Although I have her permission to tell her story, I promised her I would not reveal her or the area she lives in. So, here we go…

This particular notary public who is female took a signing from a signing company, she confirmed her appointment, prepared her docs and met her borrower at the the specified time. As she went through the documents, he saw that his interest rate was 1/2 percent more than he had been told. He then became enraged. He requested (using vulgarity) that she leave his home immediately. She packed up her things up and prepared to leave the premises.  As she proceeded to the door the  borrower followed, continuing to rant and rave using foul language incessantly. He was VERY angry with this 1/2 of a percent increase that nobody had bothered to inform him of (sadly, a  story we all are familiar with and have heard many times)  and, to top it to make matters even worse off, the loan officer had not been in contact with him and had been unreachable for several days.

So, as she walked out of the door onto his front porch. There were 4 steps to go down to the walkway that would lead to her car… But, before she could take that first step — with the force of both of his hands on her shoulders he pushed her down and off the porch. She went flying off the porch, and by the grace of God she somehow pivoted her body onto the grass instead of his cemented walkway  that was directly in front of her but unfortunately in trying to break her fall she broke her left wrist. In disbelief and shock she just laid there. The borrower went back into the house and shut and locked his door.  However, fortunately for her, the borrower’s neighbor who was mowing his lawn at the time witnessed the whole thing. He called out to his wife to call the police and the paramedics and he came to her aid and sat with her until they arrived. (A knight in shining armor). The paramedics attended to her and after the police got the story from both the notary and the neighbor one of the officers went to the door of the borrower , rang the bell and the borrower did not answer. At that point the officer yelled out to him to open the door or else. He did eventually open the door, and then was immediately  handcuffed and  placed under arrest and was put in the back of the police car.

Now folks get this — as the paramedics worked on our notary public to prepare her for the trip to the hospital and the police filled out their report the borrower (hand cuffed in the back seat of the police car) was still ranting  and raving non stop with vulgarities that they (the police and paramedics) needed to get this you know what off his grass and property. One of the police officers obviously fed up with this behavior as well as the noise went over to the borrower and told him that he needed to shut up and slammed the car door. He then asked the neighbor if this  behavior was characteristic  of this man. The neighbor and the wife just looked at each other and nodded yes… I just cant believe this man and his behavior, I am still in awe of all of it.

The paramedics said that if she had fallen  onto the concrete instead of the grass she would have broken both wrists and god knows what else in the process. All things  considered she was lucky-it could have been way worse.

She ended up staying in the hospital of 4-5 days instead of the day and half  she was originally told due to an infection she developed in her wrist.

Now it is 1 month later and she is finally back to work. She is healing well I asked her how she felt about her career now (she is a full time  signing agent) and if she felt like giving it up…and she said no way. She says she loves her job and knew this was just something that happened. Kudos to her! She and DA have filed charges and he has 3 counts against him and there will be a civil suit as well. I hope he gets ALL that is coming to him….I say throw the book at him.

Now, of course the signing service that gave her the assignment wants to know why the loan wasn’t closed. Well get this; When she called in to tell them  what had happened from the hospital — the person on the other end of the line laughed and said “you could have come up with a better excuse than that”. So, in order to clear her name she had to send in the police report, hospital records etc….( and yes she did manage to call the day of the signing)

So, all of this leaves me with a few thoughts. I really feel that this could have been avoided if the loan officer had done his job. This is so often the case where the loan officer knows exactly what the numbers are way ahead of time but avoids sharing this information with the borrowers and we go out at the final hour when they know these borrowers are desperate and for the most part are stuck and cant turn back now, and they regrettably just sign. And we get stuck in middle — and in this case — pushed down a flight of stairs. Now some of you will disagree and put up a fuss but this is why when I call and confirm with the borrowers I ask them has the loan officer been in touch and have they gone over the figures with them. If the answer is yes then I ask them what are the numbers supposed to be. This way if the number con-inside with what I see, we are good. If not, I can alert the hiring party that we have a problem before I waste the borrowers time or MINE.  I can avoid problems at the table-situations like the one I just described to you here. (aLthough it is rare and the first time I have heard such of a thing happing it is now a reality that it is possible). This technique does not always work but it is sure worth a try. And it might save you some trouble. I have been doing it for years. Now I know some of you will chew my head off about this technique of mine but this is my business and I run it as I see fit-just as you will run yours as you see fit. But, remember this is for the most part why are economy is shot…to many lies and games being played in the refinance word, and we are usually abandoned and stuck in the middle.

Now, most of you know I preach about your worth and the fees that you charge — this story just reinforces my feeling that you need to be paid what you are worth. I know this is an extreme case but we stick out necks out every time we take an assignment. We NEVER know where our notary public assignments will take us or what we will have to deal with when we get there. We deal with bad attitudes, late documents, traffic, bad neighborhoods, filthy homes, terrible smells, pets, incompetence, etc., and sometimes bad people. So my point is you need to be paid what you are worth. If you continue accepting these low fees that they are offering nowadays not only do you hurt yourself you hurt all of us: the notary community as a whole…..Now in this case a higher fee would not have stopped his unthinkable behavior but I feel that because we deal with so much adversity in this business we need to have our pay more in line with our efforts and the things that we are subjected too. For me, without fair compensation this profession is just not worth the effort or trouble.

Until next time!! BE SAFE!!

Written by Carmen Towles

You might also like:

Part 2 of Notary is pushed of stairs – the sequel!

Power of Attorney at a nursing home

Notarizing a child who was abducted

Why notaries don’t last

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August 29, 2011

Two notaries assigned the same job?

Two notaries assigned the same job?
 
There I was, a California notary public in Tustin, CA. I had driven down from Los Angeles to sign a loan for a nice couple in Orange County, California. We were signing away, when lo and behold:  The notary showed up.  He asked, “Who are you?”.  I then proclaimed, “I am the notary”.  Then, he said, “That’s impossible, I’m the notary!”.  “No you’re not!”.  “Yes I am”.  “Am NOT!”. “AM TOO!…”  Okay, let’s be honest, the “am not am too” part never happened.  I’m embelleshing this signing agent dialogue. The couple was just staring in confusion.  The wife was displaying the exact same mannerisms as a cat watching a dangling string.  He head rotated to the left and looked at me, then head rotated to the right and looked at the other notary, then back at me, and back at him…. Hmmm.  What is going on?
 
The Signing company hired two notaries?
How could they! After all of my hard work, they would have the gaul to… Oh… wait a minute, let me call them and straighten the whole thing out. 
 
Ring Ring…..
 
Me – Hello, may I speak to Mary please, this is Jeremy your California notary for the Anderson Signing in Tustin. 
Mary – Hi, this is Mary! 
Me – Hi, Mary, it seems that you hired two notaries for the same job. 
Mary – What? We would never do that
Me – Odd, because as we speak, there is another notary here.  Or, should I say, “A Notarial Triangle”
Mary – Hmmm… Let me call the Title company.
………… ten minutes later
Mary – I found out what happened
Me – Please do tell?
Mary – The title company hired two signing companies to handle this California notary job, and the OTHER signing company sent that OTHER California notary out.
Me – Mmmm.  So, which signing company was SUPPOSED to be responsible for the job.
Mary – We are.  The title company cancelled with the other signing company, but apparantly, they didn’t cancel with the notary.
Me – Oh, no they didn’t!!!
Mary – Oh, yes they did.
Me – This has never happened in my career to date.  And I hope it never happens again. Just make sure that I’m the one who gets paid, although the other one should get a travel fee, don’t you agree?
Mary – Thats between him and the OTHER signing company.
Me – I KNEW there had to be another signing company. I could just tell from the way he was looking at me.
 
So, jokes aside, the other notary left, we finished the signing.  Into the UPS box it went, and off I went on my merry way out of what we affectionally call, “The OC”, and back up the 5 Freeway, or is it the 405 — its been so long I can’t even remember, through Anaheim, Downey, Commerce, and back to Los Angeles where I logged in my transaction and faxed a bill to the signing company.
 
The End!

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July 6, 2011

Good companies gone bad

Unfortunately, over the last few years, it has been hard to find decent companies to work for.  Personally, if I were still a notary public, I would only work for about 20% of the signing companies out there and watch them like a hawk for payment.  I would keep a database on each one to see what their average wait time was and of any problems.  I would have the best data collection system in the industry.  But, the problem is that companies that we have known and trusted for years, sometimes go bad.  In this industry, everyone seems to go bad.  Signing companies are like milk.  If you keep the refridgerated, they still go bad — it just takes longer. There still are a few decent companies around, but you can count them on two or three hands only. 
 
I started noticing this trend in 2006
Companies with a solid payment record would suddenly become very slow payers.  Perhaps they were experiencing financial problems.  Personally, I think that if you are in a signing business, you should save your money, so you can pay your expenses on time. Any type of business involves cash flow, and keeping on top of cash flow means saving money.  I heard rumors that many of these signing company owners would drive the best SUV vehicles, have swanky homes, but not have money to pay the notaries.  Their priorities were their short term objects, and not maintaining their business.  The bottom line is that 95% of those companies that behaved like this no longer have businesses — and karmically that makes perfect sense to me.  Back in 2006, this trend began.  companies who always paid on time started slipping.  This trend continued, and is still continuing to this day five years leater.
 
Settling the score in 2008
This was the year when more signing companies went out of business than any other year.  2007 was the year when America started experiencing a financial disaster, but in 2008, that was the year that the bottom fell out, and companies folded.  Good companies started stringing their trusting notaries along for payment.  What I learned is that you can’t even trust companies with good payment records, because the minute they experience financial issues, the notary is the one who gets paid last. I have no idea why signing companies are almost all like this.  Is there a common gene that all signing companies have that causes this?  Maybe we should do some gene mapping to find the no-pay gene.
 
The depth of the crisis in 2011
By 2008, roughly 80% of signing companies that were around in 2005 had folded (educated guess).  But, by late 2010, the numbers had escalated to about 93%.  I know this because very few of our 400 signing companies on file are being gossiped about by the notaries.  There are a few new companies sprouting up in the doldrums to my surprise though.
 
A few companies that went from good reviews to bad
Here are a few companies that used to have good reviews or at least passable, that started getting a lot of really bad reviews lately. Please keep in mind that reviews are based on notary feedback and are NOT based on the opinions of 123notary or the people who work here.
 
American Freedom Assurance
Chase Title
Dynamic Field Solutions
Genuine Title
Greenbelt
Insured Closings
Notaries Express
The Notary Biz
Pacific Document Services

Tweets:
(1) Signing companies are like milk, even if you keep them refrigerated, they still eventually go bad!
(2) Many signing companies started out paying people on time, but these ones eventually started paying late!
(3) It is common for signing companies to pay on time, but then start paying late the minute they have financial problems.

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July 2, 2011

Threatening for payment?

Taking the job
I dont like to do a job and then have to threaten folks to get paid. It goes against my general fiber and overall nature. I excel at what I do and expect to paid accordingly.  I took a job toward the end of the month (May). It was a settlement company. You know the ones that broker the rich and famous insurance polices that are worth 4 or 5 million and they pay out  a fraction of what they are worth, and then wait for them to  die so they can collect the full value of the policy. This is similar to JG Wentworth’s policies.

Agreeing on a fee
Well, we agree on a handsome fee of 150.00. I successfully complete the assignment.  Nothing eventful and everything went well. I was even early..:)  After the completion of the assignment, I completed a W-9 and submitted an invoice and patiently waited. After about 2 weeks I emailed my contact on a Monday and was told that I would have payment toward the  end of the following week.  My eyebrows cautiously started to rise, but, I understand company billing policies, so I let it go. By the following week on Thursday there was no check. I emailed once again, and the reply I got was that they had missed the cut off and I would receive a check at least by the next Friday.

Contacting the signing company’s client for payment?
Now, I am becoming VERY angry. So I wrote back that this sounds very much like the run around to me and it is unacceptable . I also let them know that if forced I will have to take matters into my own hands meaning that if I don’t receive payment ASAP I will be contacting their client for payment. With correspondence sent I waited. The following afternoon I receive a brief response. and I quote  “Carmen, accounting pushed your check and it’s in the mail” And I thought to myself. Great BUT why did I have to be strung along and lied to in the first place. Why didn’t you just cut the check and be done with it.  It has been a month already. Why did I have to threaten you and worse  yet  now our relationship has been strained and severed. I am confident they will never call me again Nor do I want them to. I don’t want to have to put up a fight to get paid. If I perform a job without incident and give it 100% with no error on my part I except to get paid. PERIOD. I have every right to expect this. We have every right to expect this!!!

It is a shame that we have to resort to all sorts of threats, trickery, letters/emails phone calls, etc just to get our money. This is a job in itself and It is very time consuming to keep up with these slow or no pay companies.

In closing, I know the task itself is hard but you have got to stay on top of it. As one of our notaries expressed to me…the longer you wait to try an collect the more likely you never will see a dime…..and this is the sad truth. PLEASE Check out these companies when you can BEFOREHAND.  It is not entirely foolproof but it can help weed out some of the bad ones before it costs you in time and money! Be on top of your billing, comply with all their billing request, such as W-9’s and start the collection process early.

Until next time….(now lets play the waiting game and see if the check actually shows up…lol)

Tweets:
(1) Their excuse was that they missed the cut-off and would pay up next Friday!
(2) She threatened to go to the client if they didn’t pay ASAP & then they paid promptly!

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