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March 31, 2011

Things that get notaries complaints

Things that get notaries complaints
Complaints are taken seriously at 123notary.com.  None of the notaries on board have voiced an opinion supporting our review system which allows browsers to post legitimate complaints about notaries.  Many notaries on board feel that they have a license to cause trouble, and that I have no right to ask questions or do anything about it since they pay us for advertising. Many notaries want the right to harm others without being held accountable.  My point of view is that if you cause misconduct while on our site, ITS MY BUSINESS, and you will be held accountable. 
I want to take a positive approach to this problem and let the notaries know what the common things that go wrong are, so that you can avoid getting a complaint in the first place.   I’m going to list types of complaints in order of how frequently they come up.
(1) Rudeness
Of all the complaints we have gotten, the largest category was rudeness which includes using bad words, hostility, hanging up on people, rude tones of voice, antagonism, harrassment, and threats.  If a signing company doesn’t treat you the way you like, DON’T WORK FOR THEM.  Don’t threaten to use their fedex account.  Don’t threaten to put a lien on the borrowers house if you don’t get paid.  Don’t withold a borrower’s documents until you get paid.  Have a policy for what you accept from others.  If others violate your terms, then stop dealing with them.  Period!
(2) No Show no call
It amazes me that notaries think they can completely blow off a signing without even calling. Then, the excuses notaries give remind me of being a substitute teacher in eighth grade. The excuses are clevely worded so that you will feel guilty for asking them any more questions.  Heartbreaking stories, grueling conditions, family crisises, and earthshaking emergencies.  Many of these excuses are true, but there is no way to verify, because not once have I ever been offered a scan of a document that proves someone’s argument one way or the other.  If you are offered a signing and you can’t make it, call at least two hours in advance.  If you are having a family emergency, in a snow storm, in WW3, in a flood, or are almost dead, you better call otherwise you will get a complaint, and I am not too interested in the excuses.
(3) Notary Mistakes
Many notaries make mistakes. The good notaries triple check their work and are willing to go back if they made even one small mistake.  But, not all notaries are good notaries. Many will be unwilling to go back to an appointment a second time to fix what they did wrong.   If you make a mistake, fix it whether you get paid to or not, otherwise you will lose clients and get complaints.
(4) Failure to return calls or emails after a signing
This is another type of problem that people have every conceivable type of excuse for.  Personally, when I’m on vacation, I answer emails.  I had a vacation where I slept in my car, slept in a tent, and couldn’t find an internet cafe for half a day. I kept looking until I found it and answered as many emails as I could.  Signing agents will go on vacation, or say they did, and use that as an excuse not to return phone calls or emails.  I won’t accept this as an excuse.  You have to be available up to 48 hours after a job is done in case there is a problem, and the problem could very well be the fault of the title company, but you still have to be available.  No excuses.

 (5) Slandering or sabotaging companies you work for
One notary said that the terms of the loan were not good.  Another tried to sell the borrower a modification right at the signing.  A third threatened to use the lender’s Fedex account # because she said she didn’t get paid enough.  Another one sent porno spam to us and others. 
(6) Other types of misconduct.
Some notaries just cause a lot of various types of trouble.  Others are unwilling to fix mistakes they made.  Once in a while a signer will outsource jobs to another signer and then not pay them.  Last minute cancellations are completely unacceptable unless there is a documented health emergency or other type of uncontrollable circumstances.  One notary has a habit of double booking appointments and then trying to reschedule them at the last minute.  Two notaries walked out of an appointment.  One had a family emergency and flaked.  He forgot to even tell the borrowers who were in the other room that he was going to the hospital.
The moral of the story is to avoid all of these problems by being very careful to go to all your appointments, be polite even if others are not polite to you, and do a good follow up after the job is done.  I’m personally tired of all the complaints, excuses, the dramas, and irresponsibility.  We want good notaries on 123notary, and for the most part, the notaries on board are excellent. We do not want a few bad apples to cause a bad reputation for the others.

(1) Many notaries feel that since they pay us for advertising, we’ve no right to post bad reviews on their profile.
(2) Many notaries are rude to signing companies who manipulate them. Don’t be rude! Just don’t work for them.
(3) Many notaries just don’t answer their phone or email after a signing which can cause a nightmare.

You might also like:

Florida Notaries with complaints

A list of things that rude notaries do

Bad notary reviews and the law on the internet

13 ways to get sued as a notary



  1. You’ve got to be kidding. Are people really this petty. It is just as easy to do it right as do it wrong, maybe easier

    Comment by Ina — April 1, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

  2. I agree there are bad notaries out there who continually do the atrocities mentioned above. However I am amazed that these notaries still get jobs and companies are still willing to hire them because they can pay them less. Worse yet I am aggravated by companies who pull the 164 page doc at a low price and refuse to pay more for the added time and cost to the notary. In other words you get what you pay for. I cannot do a signing for nothing. I can’t drive 60 miles to my destination for $100 it just doesn’t work and I can’t do 164 page doc without reasonable compensation.

    Comment by Claudia — April 1, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

  3. Amen!

    Comment by Violet OBrien — April 5, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  4. imho, these complaining companies have received the kind of service they paid for. Just for your own education, the next time you receive a complaint similar to the ones detailed above, ask the company how much they paid or intended to pay the Notary. I’d be willing to bet that every one is an extreme low-baller who hired the cheapest person they could find.

    Comment by Lee-AR — April 9, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  5. Having a person sell you lien items which is a felony in Texas He sings his name he notarizes the documents, lies when he is asked to produce his Notary log and the texas Sec of State is OK with it. Why do we have Notaries anyway. if you wnat the Notary’s name email me I will tell you at Joeinbost@aol.com

    Comment by Joe Downey — April 15, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

  6. I guess I’m from the old school, I’ve never pulled a “no show” for an appointment. I believe strongly in good customer service and care. I put the client first. Even though I check my work, you never know when Murphy’s law will hit. I always look for a positive resolution and if that means I have to return to the client to get that mistake handled, I’ll do that.

    Comment by Catmama47 — April 15, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

  7. I cannot believe some of what you posted! How outrageous and unbussinesslike. I would NEVER do any of those things.

    Comment by Cathy Landrre — August 3, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

  8. I have never been inclined to respond to anything posted until now. You are referring to “Notaries”! A Licensed Escrow officer, like myself, would never treat people that way. That is why we are professionals. You want a Notary, hire a Notary. You want the job done correctly, hire an Escrow Officer / Title Closer, and be willing to pay for the difference!

    Comment by Teresa Love — September 19, 2011 @ 3:49 am

  9. I too am appalled by the atrocious behavior of some notaries. I have also, on more than one occasion, been called upon to correct the mistakes of another notary, even having to contact a bank on the other side of the country because their notary made a grievous error on an acknowledgment.

    I have done this both as an assistant Escrow Officer AND as an independent notary public and loan signing agent.

    While I believe my escrow experience gives me an advantage because I have first-hand experience of the ramifications of mistakes (sloppy seals, for example), it’s unfair to assume just because someone is not an escrow officer that they are somehow incompetent. I have actually run across some pretty rude, incompetent escrow officers too, but I hold each individual accountable for their OWN actions and try not to lump anyone into a pile.

    Some people got their commission to make easy money, but professionals provide a valuable service to others.

    Thanks for the post! Definitely a “what not to do” for new notaries, and a validation for those of us who are getting it right!

    Comment by Elizabeth Hewes — October 27, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

  10. Yes, I too was shocked at this list of bad notary behavior and practices. Some of us have been in business and been business owners, experienced in customer service and while I am often offended by the list of “do’s and don’ts” that come with notary instructions, I understand that it was borne of previous bad experiences a hiring company may have had repeaatdely. It is difficult to know what a notary will be like from reading some cursory info on a site or pulling a name off of a list. We need to police our own ranks and drum out all the bad ones or train them. I have seen first hand how other notaries fail to do a good job by the many go backs and re dos that I am asked to go and correct. Certs not filled out correctly or at all, initials that are not consistent with signatures etc, sloppy work. It embarasses me.

    Comment by dannotary — November 11, 2011 @ 7:10 am

  11. it’s true, triple check your documents so you don’t miss any mistakes, 5 minutes of their time is worth having to drive back and inconvenience clients and your own work schedule. Some companies do try to low ball the amount of work that is put into a closing, such as fax backs and then placing the documements back in the proper order. It is all time consuming, I have had one representative rude to me on the phone because his client was asking too many questions about his loan, Right in the beginning I tell them I am not an attorney and I cannot legally advise them on any of their documents, I am there to witness their signatures. and to please call their representative that they have been working with to answer any questions.

    Comment by Gloria — March 8, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  12. I can’t believe a notary tried to upsell his client while notarizing documents. That is absurd. Some people truly just do not understand business and the trust we receive as notaries.

    Comment by Casey — March 13, 2012 @ 12:57 am

  13. Ditto 3 times Ms. Hewes. This is absolutely appalling, it makes me want to jump out of my skin. I can’t believe it, I can’t believe these notaries. Please get out of the profession because you are giving others a very bad reputaion. I love what I do and the people that I meet.

    Comment by Ty's Notary — May 22, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  14. Communication is most important. No show is going to be by far the biggest reason for complaints and the easiest to prevent. If you can’t make it notify the client.

    Comment by Notary — June 14, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  15. What I find interesting is that some title companies never allow you the opportunity to fix a mistake and then hold it against you!

    Comment by John — July 3, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  16. As a newbie with one whole notarization under my belt, I thank you for sharing. I am trying to offset some of the lack of professionalism discussed above. As an ex-mortgage broker I know the importance of good customer service and professionalism quite well. There will always be bad apples, but the professionals must maintain their levels of competence to get the call backs WITHOUT low balling fees.

    Comment by Steve C — August 1, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

  17. All I can say is that the people you referenced truly do not take their duty nor obligation very seriously nor honorably. Having been a Notary in excess of 25 years, and in three different states, I take being a Notary quite seriously. In Maine, as I Notary I could have even married people, but I couldn’t come to terms with such a time-honored tradition. Also having been a Legal Assistant/Paralegal for again 25 to 30 years, doing the best job I can and going the extra mile if necessary is always the best way and most self-rewarding.gra

    Comment by Linda E Brown — August 12, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  18. I just read the bad notary list and was surprised. I have been a notary for the last 5 years and could not ever no matter what I am being paid. Not fixing something missed. Its my job to triple check my work but yes murphy’s law can hit and you miss something and my average drive is 30 to 40 miles to a customer but that does not mean I do not get it fixed. Thats my job. Thanks for the post and I think it just shows what type person you are to what you consider your responsibility.

    Comment by Pauline — September 6, 2012 @ 3:26 am

  19. I agree with this post 100%. And to the poster that said you get what you pay for, that is just horrible business ethics. Do not take the job if you do not like the pay. I know you feel you should get more, but tell me one corporation you can work for and get paid more than 50% of the gross income….NONE. So while this is what most notaries wish I think it is a bit too much to request. Bottom line if you take a job please do it with pride. Now at the same time some of thes signing companies need to go away. They try running companies and conducting closing as well, so they drive the cost down more because they are not managing the notaries. Finally there needs to be a site that puts the notaries on blast just the same as they put the companies on blast. But neither should be done without verifying the information .

    Comment by Jo — September 12, 2012 @ 1:42 am

  20. I spoke with a notary that I asked: where would I be able to get a ‘certificate of authority’ for the seal you will be affixing to my instrument?(my choice to adhere my records with this document) He said: Well in thirteen yrs. I have never been asked for this and my seal is sufficient blah, blah, blah. Why would he take that personally? I just matter of fact reasoned that he would have knowledge of this info. I did not intend to offend him and apologized for doing so. I was sincere have no regrets. How else do I find out?

    Comment by Sandi — October 12, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

  21. Ty’s Notary, you’re right… I meet some of the nicest people doing what I do! Why do it if you don’t enjoy it?

    Sandi, I once notarized some documents that were for official business in China and the client needed to authenticate me due to the requirements of the Chinese government. I was not offended at all! From what I understand from him he simply had to go to the County Clerk’s office where my bond was filed, in my case Los Angeles County California.

    There is too much fraud in this world to be offended when a person, corporation or government is simply taking precautions. After all, isn’t that why WE have jobs?

    Comment by Elizabeth Hewes — October 31, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

  22. Well I agree that some of these things are pretty outrageous. Here is my question, sorry for my ignorance, where does this information come from? Are these comments from notaries or signing companies? The reason I ask this is I believe that when someone is allowed to make comments that are hidden, say the singing company, it is one sided and from the behavior I’ve seen I’m not sure I would completely trust what I read. I’m not saying of this behavior by a notary is acceptable but I do know we aren’t all 100% honest. By us I mean humans. Understand I don’t agree with bad behavior but there are always 2 sides. Did I misunderstand?

    I would prefer if a company had an issue with me they addressed it with me like a mature, professional adult.

    Comment by Anne — January 19, 2013 @ 4:12 am

  23. FYI I was under the impression that the blog was for notaries to help each other. However, someone is reading the complaints to signing companies and giving out he name of the notary that wrote it. I was told this by a signing company that quoted a blog to me. YIKES! I’ll never post again. So much for helping each other. Be careful!

    Comment by Anne — January 19, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

  24. I am new to 123Notary and must say, I am appalled at what was described! It would never occur to me to be so rude as to not show up or to be rude to someone else’s client especially when that someone else is payign my fee! In my 11 years as a real estate broker, I always attended every closing, regardless of when or where it was held. I never experienced any behavior like that described so it never even occurred to me this would come up. I will certainly do my best to uphold the integrity of the title!

    Comment by Melinda — March 23, 2013 @ 11:34 pm

  25. I can’t believe that you even had to write this. Are people really that inconsiderate? If they are, they have no business being a notary. I guess I am just naivel. I just can’t fathom that any notary would act like that. Where’s the integrity?

    Comment by Sharon VanAtta — October 1, 2015 @ 10:29 pm

  26. Can a notary notarize a Deed Trust that states it was created on May 11th but the borrower actually signs it the day before on May 10th which is literally a day before the Deed of Trust actually existed? And He spelled my name two different ways on the contract. Does this make the contract invalid? Should he have stamped his seal on these docs?

    Comment by Raquelle Jackson — April 13, 2018 @ 7:35 am

  27. I just want to be a good Notary. I currently seeking a good company to do signings with.
    I’m a new notary, I did make a mistake. But, I went back and fixed it with willingness to do so.
    This is someone’s home or business. Why would you refuse to fix something? That blows me away.
    I also know things come up. That’s life. But, you must do your best to notify whom ever needs to be notified. Weather being your employer or the client. Being new, I have been late due to traffic issues. But, as long as you communicate. Usually issues can be resolved.
    Again I’m seeking signings.

    Comment by Amber Stone — November 16, 2019 @ 5:45 pm

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