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February 2, 2015

Trip + Notary fee = Payment

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,NSA Pricing, Fees & Income — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:05 am

I have never, repeat never; had a dispute over my notary fees. The key is to make sure in each assignment that the notary fee is fully disclosed when agreeing to perform the service. I write this looking at a check, handed to me for not doing any notarizations. But, that is near the end of my story. Time to back up and present what happened in chronological order.

The caller is an admin assist for a company in midtown needing a notary. Caller does not know the details of what is required, just that a notary is needed. They might need one notarization or several hundred. I quote a fee of $xx for “the trip”, plus the NY State fee of $2 per signature notarized. If five people sign, and there is one notary statement naming them all; to my way of thinking I have done five notarizations with my single signature. I do have to ID check and oath all five of them. For that reason I always use the term “per signature notarized” in any fee agreement. We agree, I leave for the assignment.

Arriving ten minutes early, the receptionist tells me that the work has been already done. They had apparently scheduled a few of us; and to them “the notary race” was on! The ever-present smile behind the counter says “sorry to have troubled you”, “we have no need for your services”. I explained that the issue is not having troubled me, but that I require my fee. The office manager is called. In a calm, polite voice and manner I explain how I perceive the situation. Your admin assist made a verbal contract with me. I was required to arrive prior to a specific time, which I did; for a specific fee of $xx. It was further agreed that I would receive $2 per signature notarized. There was a clear distinction between the trip and notary fees. To earn the trip fee I had to be on time. I was on time.

The office manager initially leaned towards a “you did nothing” rejection. I noticed some signs on the wall. It was time to fire some “big guns”. I repeated there was a fee due, and if not paid I would complain to the Division of Licensing Service, and the Consumer Protection Bureau of NYC. I could tell the office manager did not want that. Two straws broke the last vestiges of resistance. I noticed you have an A+ Better Business Bureau certification. It is my intent to send a very detailed complaint to the BBB as well. Lastly, I intend to file a lawsuit against the President of your firm in Small Claims court. It will include my fee, court costs, and other expenses. We are both aware you will require an attorney to represent your corporation; I on the other hand am retired and have lots of free time to spend in a courtroom.

“Mr. Edelstein, please have a seat, it will only take five minutes to cut you a check”. The check was for the $xx trip fee and in the memo section said “transportation reimbursement”. Did I over react? I don’t think so. We had a very clearly defined two part verbal contract. The fact that, for whatever reason, they had no work for me; ONLY negates paying me the $2 per. Filing complaints and initiating lawsuits might seem extreme, but not to me. It took me a full hour in dense NYC midtown traffic to get to their office. Write it off for “good will” and hope they call me next time? Not realistic considering their tactic of playing “multiple notary race”. Actually, I would have also posted the exact truth on social media, Yelp, etc. If in your heart you feel they don’t have a “shred of a valid point” on their side; do what it takes to receive your rightful pay.

“But, you did nothing” the client replied after the notary wanted a travel fee for a cancelled job.


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  1. I totally agree with you. You spent your time, gas and energy to get there on time and you should be compensated.

    Comment by Pamela Roberson — February 25, 2015 @ 7:11 pm

  2. If I have to get in the car and go to the site, whether a law office or a signor’s location, and when I get there they don’t need me, my time and travel are still due. I also think if I have to print edocs and the job is cancelled, I should be reimbursed for my printing costs.

    Comment by Elise Dee Beraru — February 26, 2015 @ 1:26 am

  3. Sorry Pamela & Elise – No Cigar (politically correct offer of cigar prize to any gender). Rather than wish, hope, and beg for your justly earned money… The correct situation is to be offering a fair, partial Refund of what they should have already paid. Order anything by phone or internet, you pay prior to delivery of service or product. Why are so many notaries accepting the \pay later\ scenario?

    Comment by Kenneth Edelstein — May 18, 2015 @ 1:29 am

  4. “you did nothing” really burns me!! We schedule our time, reject competing offers of signings and structure that day and the preparation towards a signing that is cancelled when you arrive?
    Everybody who comes to your house to fix something, or is hired for a scheduled service EXPECTS to be paid. I have argued with companies that I no longer accept jobs from this very thing. It isn’t worth it for any of us to agree to do all of the printing, list of notary documents/package and drive to a location, especially if the drive is over an hour one way, and THEN be told that our time is worthless.
    Heads up, READ the fine print on your work order!! Be cautious when it says, “you will receive your documents at least 2 hours prior to your signing” or quotes a “travel fee.” That means that you are being taken to the cleaners and THIS company doesn’t deserve your services.
    There are plenty of companies who are very grateful when you answer their email for the job immediately, and asap contact the signers, then let them know it has been confirmed.
    I have done 2 jobs/this month bc a local guy didn’t follow up. That is our competition. When jobs are plenty and NSA’s are scarce, be picky. Read about the companies on the forum that have screwed over the NSA’s here. It’s better than binging Netflix.

    Comment by betty — April 20, 2020 @ 8:21 pm

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