Notary Public Florida: a complaint story
Here is a complaint from soneone who used a particular Florida notary:
This is the first time we have used this Florida notary public for a closing. The Notary made a mistake on the documents where she had the borrower date everything 5/7/2011 instead of 7/5/2011 which was a notary mistake that ended up costing the broker $1000.00. Two weeks after the closing the notary called the title company directly demanding her payment of the full signing fee because she had bills to pay. She threatened to sue everyone involved with the transaction even though we were the company that hired her. This Notary was very unprofessional. The Notary was paid at 30 days by our company.
The notary claims that the borrower signed the dates incorrectly and that she asked the borrowers to put the correct date, but they refused. Then, the Florida notary claimed that the borrower wouldn’t sign where it said borrower, because she considered herself to be the co-borrower. Additionally, the notary claims that the borrower was very rude and condescending to her. The notary claims that she spent two hours at the signing and that the borrower couldn’t read the small print and wouldn’t cooperate. It is hard to know who is right or wrong here. Was this a notary mistake or just the borrower acting crazy — or both?
The bigger issue is that the notary threatened to sue everyone before her payment was even late. It is professional to allow people 45 days to make payment before you start making legal threats. Also, suing someone for $60 doesn’t really make sense in the real world.
Another Florida notary public wrote a complaint about 123notary.
The notary was late confirming her listing, and I called the notary to see if she was still alive and in business. We have notaries move, quit, and end up in the hospital, and die all the time without even informing us. If I ever die, I will have the consideration to inform everyone within (5) business days. In any case, I called this Florida notary’s phone, and her message stated that she was no longer doing loan signings. I assumed from this message that she was out of business as a mobile notary — boy was I wrong. Rather than contacting me and politely informing me that she was still in business, she started slandering us on forums telling the world about the horrible crime that we had commited by temporarily removing her listing. She created all types of drama over nothing. I think that her MISLEADING phone message should have stated that she is still doing mobile notary work, but not doing loan signings. That way, anyone calling her about work would have a clear impression that she was still in business. I hate being blamed for other people’s bad communication skills. People need to take responsibility for their own incompetent actions. In any case, her listing went right back on the minute she asked me to reinstate her. Unfortunately for her, I documented her zany behavior in the review section. I stated that she committed no acts of misconduct, but created an unnecessary drama over nothing! This case was a business mistake on her part, not a notary mistake, but it is still ridiculous!
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California notaries with complaints
I make mistakes too
Notary Journal Thumbprints
How adamant are you about taking journal thumbprints? As a California notary public, you are required to take notary journal thumbprints for deeds effecting real property and power of attorney documents. Notary thumbprint taking is a serious business and can keep you out of court.
Taking precautions as a notary
I have written other blog posts about precautions that notaries can take. Notaries can use an inkless embosser in addition to an inked seal. They can emboss every page of every document they ever notarize as a precaution against page switching which is a common crime that takes place after multi-page documents have been notarized. Taking a precaution of taking journal thumbprints is smart also, and can keep you out of court.
Suspicion of identity fraud
Let’s say that you notarized a signature on a document and that someone involved in the transaction suspects identity fraud. The first thing they will do is to track down the notary who notarized the signature on the document and start asking questions about the signer. You will not remember the signer well, unless you took notes in your journal about what they looked like, how they acted, how old they were, etc. But, if you have a thumbprint, that is absolute proof of the signer’s identity. No two thumbprints are identical, and you can’t fake a thumbprint (forge a thumbprint) in front of a notary.
The investigation ended once I produced a thumbprint
If someone questions you about a particular notarization, and you say you have a journal thumbprint, the investigation might just end right there. It happened to me as a California notary public during my first four year term. I saved myself from a potentially long visit to court. I got a phone call from someone investigating fraud. Someone had cheated some elderly people whom I had notarized. One of the documents used to allegedly cheat them had been notarized by myself in my capacity as a California notary public. Since I had a journal thumbprint, the identity of the signers was no longer in question. The person said they had no further questions the minute I told them I had a thumbprint. They didn’t even want a copy of the journal entry with the thumbprint.
Weak thumbprints with the elderly
The flaw of thumbprints are that elderly people often lose the tread on their fingers. I am talking about really old people, perhaps in their eighties or nineties. There is nothing you can do in that case, but at least you have a print, no matter how featureless it is. Personally, with signers over eighty, I recommend a retinal scan, which is not possible for a notary to take in 2011, but maybe in 2015… we can always hope.
Regardless of your state of commission
Whether you are a Florida notary public, a California notary, or notary in another state, if you are notarizing signatures on a power of attorney or real estate deeds, get a journal thumbprint whether it is required by law or not. That thumbprint could save your neck. It is not a bad idea to require signers to give thumbprints for all documents and even oaths or affirmations. It keeps them honest. The minute they start making excuses why they shouldn’t have to be thumbprinted, that is suspicious behavior, and you might want to refuse service to them.
Don’t forget to bring wet naps or wipes of some sort. It is polite to have something for the signer to wipe their hands off with. Even with the NNA’s inkless thumbprinter which is a product I always had several backups in stock of, you should offer a wipe. I strongly recommend having at least one inkless thumbprinter in your notary carry all bag!
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