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January 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!
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.

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



  1. I had a deal in Texas where first the Business Broker was a scam artist and then the seller who was a Notary was a Scam artist. He signed documents and then Notaized his own name. I hear from Hope A Sec of State for Texas that is an OK practice. I might go to the FBI with this matter since it started as a federal Crime. BTW he works for 123 Notary in the Greater Dallas area and his Initals are H E T and uses the aliad TREY Want to know more Joeinbost 2 aol.com

    Comment by Joe Downey — November 26, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

  2. N3 Notary is a sleazy agency from Portland OR that steals business from San Francisco notaries for low ball simple one notarization jobs. They disallow you to hand out your business card to “their” clients. I did a blog article on them, that’s how much they disgusted me. They kept calling me for these one notarization jobs when clients should have called me direct as a local mobile notary.

    Comment by CM — November 27, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  3. I’d like to add Notaries Express in Walnut Creek, CA has a problem paying notaries in a timely fashion. They make excuses they pay with Bill Pay and have no control over how late payments can be. They took 3 months to pay me and put me through the run around a while, first claiming they didn’t get a W0, but I had an email I had sent it. I never got the check and it had to be reissued, taking another monnth. They have a long pattern of this kind of thing with their notaries.

    They also have a policy if the loan doesn’t fund, the notary doesn’t get paid and advertise this “benefit” to their clients as such.

    Comment by CM — November 27, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

  4. Another questionable agency is Notaries Direct (not Nation’s Direct”) that has communication issues. They misrepresented a job to me and I called and sent an email not accepting the confirmation they sent. They wanted to pay $40 in what they claimed was a one notarization job with a drop off to FED EX. Because it was only a couple blocks away I accepted it. I read the confirmation and it also added “check to make sure all the signatures in the package and initials are there” which would have made me liable for the borrower’s mistakes.

    They think they can walk the borrower through signing the package over the phone and then make the loan signing agent their reviewer to pay low.

    They contacted me the next day wanting to know if the signing occurred and I did the same thing again. The borrower still hadn’t been contacted about the cancellation. Then they blamed me for “whining” about my fee and I kept telling them I never accepted their assignment because they misrepresented the terms on the phone.

    Comment by CM — November 27, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

  5. Really appreciate this blog post Jeremy, thank you. This service you provide at 123Notary, alerting notaries to bad agencies is outstanding and a key part of assisting notaries in saving them hundreds of dollars in non-payment situations.

    Comment by CM — November 27, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

  6. FYI – People with little time might assume all these agencies listed on this page are bad without reading the details. I certainly did, then I saw a few of these agencies are highly rated and I went whoa! These good agencies would probably appreciate being listed under a different title so not to pop up in Google under bad agency key words. I don’t understand why good agencies were placed on this page with such a problematic heading. At least place the good agencies under a separate sub heading from the bad agencies, otherwise we with little time scan over the titles of agencies assuming they are all bad.

    Comment by CM — November 27, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  7. R&R Group filed for bankrupcy got notice yesterday.

    Comment by Mary Irene McComb — November 29, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  8. I take issue with Vital Signing. While, yes, they consistently pay. I was told by them that I am a great agent, but too expensive so they won’t call me. They offer ridiculously low fees for the rural area that I work and the travel required. We don’t set gas prices and we cannot do a job at a loss. We deserve to be compensated for travel and time as well as our own resources. I don’t charge Vital anymore than I charge any other company. I am extremely fair whether it is a signing service or a title company. I was very disappointed when I was told they thought I was great, but I am at the bottom of their list because I am expensive. They obviously know nothing about demographics and continually diminish the serious reputation of professional document signing agents by scouring for those that have no idea they should or could be making more. How can they advertise they are hiring experienced agents when they fully admitted price is what dictates who they hire?

    Comment by Janel Lee — November 29, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  9. I like the format as is.

    Comment by Joe Hulsey — November 30, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  10. Don’t do work for Safir Signing Agency unless you want to spend more time trying to collect payment than doing the signing. After 3 months I received payment for 2 jobs completed but the check amount was $25 less than what was owed. After multiple calls and resubmitting my bills I haven’t been paid the balance owed yet. Its now 5 months after jobs were completed.

    Comment by jim — December 1, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

  11. Safir – They are lousy payers. And try to get hold of them is trying to pull teeth, never answer your call. Very disappointed in the way they run there business.

    Comment by Dorothy Vetere — December 1, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  12. After many years in this business,I have discovered that trying to collect is an effort in futility…Know your good companies, trust those companies and stay with them. I have lost a lot of money and no one has been able to help. Live and learn.

    Comment by Carol Kempton — December 4, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

  13. DO NOT bother working for USA Title an Escrow or PDQ Notary, they stiffed me for $125 since June of 2010. After 200 calls for collection they have either closed down, or simoply gone away.

    Comment by Diez — December 11, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  14. I feel a signing comepany has the right to get whom every they want. However if we as notaries do not exceot their order until a reasonal fee is paid. I do not think you should accept any order for less then $85.00 base rate. If we all said that, then there would not a problem.

    Comment by Howard W. Harts — December 11, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

  15. Why don’t Title companies wake up and smell the coffee? I would much rather work directly for a Title company. The pay is much better and they pay quickly. Wouldn’t they be better off hiring a person, in house, to manage their Notaries? The whole signing agency thing is simply a crock of ‘middle-manning’ baloney if you ask me! I wish they would all go out of business and we could work directly for banks and title companies. It is sad when they have to rely on a bunch of crooks to get their signings done.

    Comment by Linda Frechin — December 11, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

  16. Just a comment on FASS (First American): I have done over 250 closings for them, and I think they are a pleasure to work with. Payment is prompt, and without complaint. They may not pay as well as some out there, but is it better to be promised an additional $25.00, or know that your check will be in the mail by the next week, without fail? I like making the bigger fees as well as the next guy, but if I have to hound and threaten to be payed for what is owed me, thanks, but I’ll take the sure thing. I would rather not have to think about remembering to call accounts payable to get my money, when I can devote the time to completing another closing…

    Comment by David Love — December 11, 2011 @ 10:41 pm

  17. R & R Group owes me for several signings. Anyone know where they filed for bankruptcy and how to file a claim?

    Comment by Debbi Ross — December 12, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

  18. Superior Closings IS ONE OF THE COMPANIES THAT OWES ME FOR A SIGNING THAT I DID for them in 2009. I have given them many calls and they still will not pay up

    Comment by Tensie Evans — December 13, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

  19. Re: Safir: After trying for several months to get paid, I finally went through the BBB and got a check 3 days later. If ANY company is listed with the BBB and you have trouble getting paid, go through the BBB and I bet you’ll get paid faster.

    Comment by Catherine M — December 14, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  20. I was contacted by Notary Pro to do debt settlement signings. I did one and it went well enough but the next two fell through. I had to print the docs at work because they took so long to send them. I spent 2 hours in the middle of the day to drive across town and talk to the signer. Apparently they don’t do a very good sales job because he told me that he was told he would just be meeting with someone to discuss it and wouldn’t be signing anything. Their doc packages are over 60 pages.The third one cancelled after I had printed all the docs but thankfully I hadn’t met her yet.I told them that I wouldn’t do them anymore. And I am still waiting for my last check and it’s been over a month.

    Comment by Liz Gualtier — December 14, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  21. I am irritated by companies that try to loball notaries. I just accepted a signing for tonight, where the offered Fee, and the final, Agreed Fee, were $55 apart. The company is Final Link. Don’t accept their first offer. They are just trying to whittle you down. You have to wait for call-backs, and sometimes you don’t get the job, but set a Base Fee for your services, and stick to it. The “good” companies, if you do good work, will start calling you, and paying your Fee, without even having to negotiate with them again.

    Comment by Bob Kennicott — December 14, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

  22. This in regards to Nation Direct. I’ve worked with this signing company for 4 years and completed over 100+ signings with few problems on my part. Those few that I have made mistakes on have been corrected promptly. My issue with them is the 30-60 day wait for payment and the low-balling. Then they send me a check that is already 30 days old. This tells me they are drawing an extra 30 days of interest off MY money! As for their micromanaging, it doesn’t faze me. I know their requirements and ask up front about fax backs. I just refuse those assignments. At this point, I only take modifications from them because it is not worth the time and effort to print 2 copies of 100+ page package, drive 40 miles round trip, fax back and wait for approval to drop for $60.

    Comment by Alvin Johnson — December 16, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

  23. Timios is a good company to work for. Their e mails are explicit, their confirmations give you all the information you need, they allow you to close, have links for you to e mail back and pay the following month. They have a good e mail and pdf system that works well. I enjoy working for them, they will negotiate pay.

    Comment by Juliana M Elias — December 16, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

  24. Thank you Jeremy! I truly appreciate your interest in the notaries out there– it lets all of us know that someone is looking out!!!

    Comment by doris tucker — December 17, 2011 @ 11:06 am

  25. First off I would like to say to Joe Downey that Hope A is wrong. The law clearly states in Texas that you can not notarize your own signature. Yes, if I were you I would report it to the Secretary of State in Texas.

    Second, I would like to add National Notary Signing Services,Inc. dba Nationwide Notary Signing Services, have knowingly issued me a hot check for services I did for them in October. The bank where it was drawn off of verified that there was no money in their account or the account that is tied to it. It has been months for trying to get payment. I was told that the check was mailed to me on the 15th of November. I asked for a stop payment request and for them to reissue the check. Michelle said she would do that and what she did was pull the money out of the account. That is not a stop payment. The bank even verified there was not a stop payment placed on the check. So, with myself being in Texas and this company in CA. I have to handle things in CA. So the demand letters for “bad checks” is on the way to them. According to CA it is a 30 demand. And then you take them to small claims court. So this company will be looking at alot of expenses for this bounce check if it is not taken care of.

    Comment by Heather — December 20, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  26. I have been trying to collect from My Notary Connection and Nationwide Closing Connection for over 6 months. Put these two companies on your DO NOT ACCEPT JOBS list.

    Comment by Lisa — December 30, 2011 @ 11:50 am

  27. I have done over 2000 closings and most companies I work for are easy to work with. When I started doing closings 4 years ago the companies paid on HUD after the 3 day recession period. Cks were overnighted. I understand not over nightingale anymore but having to wait to be paid 30 days or longer, when the title Co gets paid on HUD is not right. Company’s used to pay 100 to 135 for refis now many offer only 75. Expenses go up yet fees keep going down. Most companies notary fee on the HUD is 175 yet they want the notary to accept 75.

    Comment by Debra — November 7, 2014 @ 6:17 am

  28. Jeremy, I couldn’t disagree more with your assessment of FASS. Yes, they do have the right to shop around. And, yes, if their business model is designed to hire cheap notaries and ride them, more power to them. My complaint was that they would cancel assignments for the standard reasons, fail to communicate that with me, and I would find out on the way to the signing or upon arriving at the signing. Then, they would try to find an excuse to not pay me for my time they wasted through their own lack of communication. That’s not only not good business practice, it’s disingenuous to brush that off as notary whining.

    Comment by David Krause — November 10, 2014 @ 9:33 pm

  29. Oh, one more thing about FASS. Once they’ve booked a signing with a notary and then cancel it because they found someone cheaper, that’s breach of contract. Period. Don’t try to put lipstick on that pig.

    Comment by David Krause — November 10, 2014 @ 9:36 pm

  30. Service Link is one of my best companies, never low ball and prompt pay.. In 5 years I have only been blately lied too and not paid by one company. NOTARY BIZ, she is a pro at lying and not paying.

    Comment by Kay Mullins — November 22, 2016 @ 8:18 pm

  31. The Notary Spot bounced a check to me. I called…they promised to make it right and now my calls go to voice mail with no payment for the bounced check or the two other closings they also haven’t paid. I called the State of Texas Hot Checks Division and am considering putting a lien on their home. There are at least 3 others I know of that have had the same situation.

    Comment by Lisa — November 25, 2016 @ 1:32 pm

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