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February 15, 2015

Signing Stream makes notaries sign a contract that they won’t write anything on forums

Signing Stream is a signing company that is written about from time to time on our forum. On our list of signing companies, the reviews of this company are more negative than they are positive. But, what is unusual is that this company has a contract that forbids the notaries from writing anything electronically about their company. As you know, many notaries enjoy posting on our forum as well as on Notary Rotary’s forum. Posting on forums is how notaries learn critical information about signing companies as well as how they share information with other notaries. It seems like this company wants to tie the notary’s hands and put them in a bind.

One notary told me that they don’t always get documents in time from Signing Stream and don’t always get paid on time. But, she also said that she knows other notaries who are always paid on time by them. So, it looks as if you need to be popular or lucky to get paid on time on a regular basis. I also heard that they don’t want to hear about payment inquiries until the payment is at least sixty days due. I can understand that they don’t want to be badgered and hounded by a bunch of broke notaries, but sixty days? I think that forty-five days is more reasonable. After all, notaries have a legitimate right to know if they will have any food on the table.

My question is: should notaries be willing to work for any company that prohibits them from publishing their opinion on a forum? Such terms seem very unreasonable and very questionable. I think this would be a good Facebook discussion!


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  1. from: https://www.aclu.org/free-speech/your-right-free-expression


    The First Amendment guarantees our right to free expression and free association, which means that the government does not have the right to forbid us from saying what we like and writing what we like; we can form clubs and organizations, and take part in demonstrations and rallies.

    I kinda like my Constitutional and Bill of Rights freedoms. I would not “sign them away”, and wonder if doing so would be enforcable. I can understand “non-disclosure” of trade secrets, and similar. But, there is NO WAY I would have anything to do with a firm that asks me to sign a document that would prohibit me from (in any manner) voicing my opinions.

    Comment by Kenneth Edelstein — February 15, 2015 @ 5:23 am

  2. What are you guys doing getting involved with any organisation that seeks to exercise control over your independence and freedom anyway? This is something that we would (rightly) shy away from over here (UK). The notary function is one that – not unlike the judicial role – requires distance and separation from the individuals involved and focus on the job that has to be done. How else are we to be regarded as independent and reliable witnesses to the acts that are performed in front of us, or to give certifications that can be relied on by others without further question? The moment you let some sort of perceived commercial imperative (i.e. linking up with work providers) become the driving force, you have lost your absolutely necessary independence and distance. Freedom of speech is necessarily a circumscribed freedom, so there will always be some proper limitations on it, but you should certainly stand against this sort of attempt at control.
    I speak only for myself here.

    Comment by Hugh Stephens — February 26, 2015 @ 7:44 pm

  3. Agreed….nobody should work for a company that limits your freedom of speech.

    Comment by Michael Swain — February 28, 2015 @ 3:39 am

  4. Bad companies with bad business practices and shady reputations should be weeded out of this industry. Of course they want us to agree not to share our experiences – if they were on the up and up they wouldn’t have to worry about it. I did a couple of signings for them and had payment problems and didn’t get paid. Was partly my fault as I didn’t invoice them on time. I believe in the Golden Rule – always treat others as you would like to be treated. I don’t believe Signing Stream embraces that concept.

    Comment by Jeff Hebert — February 28, 2015 @ 3:59 am

  5. One of the few companies that I have asked to NEVER call me. The never offer a reasonable fee and just waste my time.

    Comment by Michael A. Gelman — February 28, 2015 @ 4:11 am

  6. This is an absolute red flag that they will do something that causes you to post a negative remark. Run, don’t walk away from this company

    Comment by Sera A James — February 28, 2015 @ 5:11 am

  7. As a retired US Army officer who took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States for 20 years, that includes the whole Constitution. I’ve been in parts of the world where if you did not like how things were done, you kept your mouth closed. As result I am very touchy on this subject about freedom of speech. Signing Stream can not require any one to waive their rights. If you were an employee, you might me required to sign a non disclosure agreement. If Signing Stream doesn’t like what I am saying about them, I have a standing offer to meet them in any court room any where in this country.

    Comment by John Atkinson — February 28, 2015 @ 10:07 am

  8. The First Amendment does protect freedom of speech, however contract law can and does change the law when you agree and sign it. When you sign the contract, you make that your law and it will be held in court. Sometimes a corporate boiler plate contract, one that is not negotiable, can be viewed by the court as an adhesion contract. When that is the case, an adjudicator may strike some provision as unfair. If the signing company does not pay in a timely fashion (per the terms of the contract), that could be considered a breach of a material term of the contract becomes void and the aggrieved party is not obligated by the terms of the contract.

    Comment by Elizabeth Croteau — February 28, 2015 @ 2:42 pm

  9. I think it’s time for a Union.

    Comment by Signing Agent — February 28, 2015 @ 3:02 pm

  10. Looks to me like one could line out that item in the contract, initial it, and if they don’t like it, they’ll take you off the list. Were I to do that out here in SD, the hard choice for them would be whether to take the risk of what I might write, were I to post something, or do they do without being able to serve the NE corner of this state via me.

    Comment by Elmer Brinkman — February 28, 2015 @ 3:10 pm

  11. I agree. Never work for them. Merely crossing out and initialing makes it unilateral, or one sided and a contract needs to be bilateral where both agree. They’d have to sign it and return it to you to be enforceable. There are a number of companies out there who shouldn’t be and we have the power to do that, but it will never happen due to lack of unanimous support. We have to cherry pick our way through the companies.

    Comment by Dan Serbin — February 28, 2015 @ 5:10 pm

  12. Let me clarify that if we unite on an issue, we can make a company change or disappear, but that will probably never happen. In the past I have insisted that a contract change be signed by the company and returned to me before I will take assignments from them but it never happens which culminates in me requesting to be removed from their list. Best thing is just ask them not to call from the start and be done with them. Ultimately, we can only control our own lives and peace of mind.

    Comment by Dan Serbin — February 28, 2015 @ 5:27 pm

  13. Signing Stream is on my \do not use\ list along with several others who want us to work like a mule for chicken feed. They have huge files, well over 200 pages, demand fax backs that take an hour or more and they offer the lowest of fees, \find\ excuses to cut those fees even lower and take months to pay if they ever do. In my area at least, it seems many notaries have gotten out of the business. I’m hearing from companies I’ve not done business with before and being asked to go farther afield into areas where there just aren’t any signing agents. This or something has seemed to increase the fees offered by some companies. All the public sees is a notary arriving at their home with a briefcase full of docs to be signed. They don’t see the work before and after the signing. And while business was good, they made out ok. Now, most of the part-timers are gone. We can put the low ballers out of business if we stand together. We provide a valuable service, we should be compensated for it. P

    Comment by Dorris S. Cox — February 28, 2015 @ 10:03 pm

  14. As for me, I wouldn’t sign for a company that makes me such an agreement. It only says they have something to hide. I have gotten that if the company doesn’t pay a fee that I can work with I make sure they take me off the list. I got called on Friday for a job on Saturday in a small town in the foothills where I live. As the crow flies it is 5 miles, by road it is 20 miles, down through a step curvy canyon and back up the other side and same on the return. They offered $50 for $signing, trip, printing (2 sets) and fax backs. Of course the answer was no, and they were surprised I wouldn’t take it.

    Comment by Jeffrey A Thorne — February 28, 2015 @ 11:43 pm

  15. Well, this makes it official, these guys go on my \I don’t think so\ list. If they are that worried about neg. comments, what does that say about the company philosophy? That just tells me they know they are going to be \shady\ from the start of developing their business. No thanks, not the kind of folks I wish to do business with.

    Comment by Dave Love — March 1, 2015 @ 1:58 am

  16. Ridiculous!

    Comment by Mary Ann Schrum — February 27, 2016 @ 9:55 pm

  17. This agreement would also limit someone from saying something positive about this company. If you are afraid that there will be more negative comments than positive than maybe you should take a good look at your business practices. Any responsible business owner should be willing to listen to any feedback as that is the way we all grow. I have worked a few times with this company and not had a problem. I also don’t remember signing this form and I would not if asked to.

    Comment by Linda Russell — March 18, 2016 @ 9:08 pm

  18. I have done business with this company. Worst I have ever seen. I have six jobs I have not been paid for. Since they contact via internet usage and I don’t live in Califorina, they themselfs are comitting a felony. They have been reported to the proper authorities. I urge any new or current signing agent not to sign anything with them.

    Comment by Paul — April 28, 2016 @ 2:16 am

  19. There should be no reason for a contract if you have nothing to hide. These forums are my go to places when I need information on a specific signing company that is contacting me the first time. I can not speak for other states, but in Colorado every call I get from Signing Stream is for rates of $50 for signing with edocs and whole packet fax back. I can’t think of a reason I would ever sign for them.

    Comment by Richard Acker — October 22, 2016 @ 1:23 pm

  20. Interesting, I was trying to sign up with this company (as a notary) and then found out they require a $50 non-refundable fee for processing my notary info, so I thought I would google around and find out more info about them. NOT sending them any money! Here is their verbiage:
    Thank you for your interest in becoming a Signing Stream approved vendor. We are one of the largest signing agencies in the United States today conducting tens of thousands of loan signings for banks, mortgage lenders, and title & escrow companies.

    Our approved notaries are NNA Certified and recruited by us in the course of our business operations. In some cases, we may elect to accept a soliciting notary into our database. As you can expect, we will need to conduct our own internal review of the notary agent when deciding whether to use him/her on future assignments.

    If you are interested in becoming a signing agent for Signing Stream, please complete these simple steps:

    1. Pay a $50 non-refundable verification fee for us to process your request.

    2. Email copies of the following required documents.

    Errors & Omissions Insurance
    Notary Commission
    W9 IRS form
    Background Check (if available)
    Your complete mailing address and contact information
    Copy of your Drivers License

    3. Pass the Vendor Verification process:
    We do not usually accept soliciting notary vendors. Because you are soliciting us to be added to our notary network, we must conduct our own internal review. There is a $50 non-refundable verification fee for us to process your request. After we receive the above information from you, we will send you a PayPal invoice to pay this fee online using a credit card.

    Please allow one week for us to process your request. During this time, we may contact you to request additional information.

    Thank you,

    Comment by Nancy MacKell — February 9, 2017 @ 8:58 pm

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