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January 4, 2011

How to handle rude clients

As notaries, your job is to make sure that documents get signed and returned to the correct party in a timely fashion. Getting documents signed is easy. It is dealing with difficult clients that is the hard part. So, what do you do when a client is rude?

You can politely apologize about whatever they are complaining about. You can try to refer them to the Lender or Title company if there is a problem with certain documents as well. The main thing is to assure them that you are “just the notary” and your job is to make sure the documents get signed. If there is a problem with the documents, please take that up with the party who is responsible for the error.

Or othertimes the rudeness will be completely unrelated to the documents. The borrowers might have a rude dog that goes yap yap yap, and growls at you right around your toes. This can be very disconcerting for those of us who are cat people and not dog people. Dog lovers don’t normally respect the fact that not everybody likes dogs. They can become very rude right away if you voice any dislike of their dog’s hostile behavior. I personally think that people who have viscious dogs were antagonistic dogs in their past lives and don’t realize how unpleasant dog behavior can be.

It is common for borrowers to be rude to other family members and to just make rude conversation to the notary. It is best to ignore this behavior. It is best to respond to rudeness with politeness.

The biggest mistake that notaries make is to reciprocate rudeness. This is where they get complaints. The borrower can be rude to them and get away with it, but if the notary is rude back, they get in trouble. It is the same with me. My clients are often rude to me and regard that is their inalienable right. But, if I throw it back in their face, then I am the bad guy! Then, there are notaries who are rude when writing commentary about signing companies on social media. Be careful — people are watching. There are a lot of signing companies who are fed up with rude notaries and will use any excuse to blacklist you!

Be a good Christian and turn the other cheek
If you are not Christian, then do as good Christians would do, and turn the other cheek
If the situation gets out of hand, it might be time to walk out on the signing and contact the signing company. We all have limits.
In short — turn the other cheek, but don’t get cruscified, otherwise people will say, “That Joe the Notary… he SIGNED for our sins: yes he did, yes he did, yes he did!


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  1. Medical conditions can cause rude behavior. After the cheek is turned and not worked, firmness can get the job done.

    Comment by Rod McGarrie — November 18, 2015 @ 5:14 am

  2. Usually signers are extremely polite and welcoming when I go to their homes. Recently, however, I went to one home where a couple refused to clear off their dining table so we could use it. I had to physically remove items and sit myself down with paperwork. They signed standing up. I looked around for candid camera. They did not see me to the door when I exited the house, either. Very strange and rude behavior. All I could do was shrug and wonder who raised them.

    Comment by Katherine Cabrera — December 12, 2015 @ 2:55 am

  3. Easy way to reduce the dog problem. I carry dog cookies (from the bulk bins). This will usually calm them down so you can get your job done.

    Comment by Ina — August 31, 2016 @ 8:55 pm

  4. It is more commont o encounter a rude signer/borrower than you might think. HOWEVER, my DD’s, who worked retail for many of their early years (all 3 DD’s starting working at 16yo), believe that Everybody should work retail at Christmas and learn to deal with rude. You are spot on about NOT giving back rude. Many times I have left the signing of a rude individual and we are on friendly terms. WE are the face they see when their experience has been a bad one. Just like the paperwork which looks “Greek” to them and the lines to sign and date which seem impossible to see on their own, we NSA’s need to communicate and walk people through the process. I have seen a good dozen refi’s that were scheduled with the people who had a signed a refi in front of me before. Those second signings go very easily because I have already trained them how to sign. The second time around signers pay attention to how their name is printed on the line, they PRINT their initials, capitals, no periods, and they pay attention to any paperwork electronically or hard copy sent to them and actually read them prior to the signing. They also understand when I remove a questionable document and put it in the back of the document pile, in the case that they have to ask their lender about more than one. Regarding a troublesome dog, I have only had one incident with a dog that was a problem. The woman signer, who had never owned a dog before took one a severely abused dog. We did’t walk past the dog’s crate, but she let the dog out right before I was leaving. I refused to be polite, and told her that I would sue if her dog bit me. I am a BIG, BIG dog lover. At one signing with no room but a couch I sat next to a huge a very friendly German Shepherd. I got lots of kisses from him, but he ended up chewing both his chew toy and my briefcase corner during the signing! I only had to explain all of the “strange dog smell” on my clothes to MY dog when I got home. Generally, if you say nice things to someone’s dogs, DON’T reach out to touch them, and then ignore them, they will settle in. Most of the time dogs end up sitting by MY feet and being quiet during the signing.

    Comment by betty dedman — September 16, 2016 @ 8:35 pm

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