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December 24, 2012

I make mistakes too!

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Notary Mistakes — Tags: , — admin @ 6:57 am

The most dreaded thing happened to me after all these years. I get a call from one of my regulars of many years now asking me when I can come through. She has a fee notarizations for herself and her husband. The own an architect firm. We set up a time for the following day. I arrive about 10 minutes early which is what I always try to do. She pleasantly sits me down in our usual conference room, excuses herself and leaves briefly to get the documents. She comes back into the room and hands me one document in particular from a stack that immediately looks familiar. It was a document that I had previously notarized the week before. She goes on (while handing it to me stating that the county clerk had rejected it. I am thinking WHAT!?!?! Are you serious??…cant be so. But unfortunately is was so. It seems in my haste I had forgotten to put the ‘notary public’ after my name. (For those of you in other states this is now a mandatory requirement for all California notaries.) And of course the county clerk had rejected it. They had attached a nice little note with instructions for me to fix it. Which of course I did.

I was thinking ( and I told my client ) ‘I am so sorry, I cant imagine what was going on in my head’ to forget to do this, I assure her that after all that I certainly know better”. ‘But I am human’ as she told me. “We all make mistakes”. But this mistake in my eyes was unacceptable and now I have inconvenienced the client. They have to go back to the county clerk. So to make amends I adjusted my fee. I would have liked (at no charge) to offer to take it to the courthouse for them…but didn’t think of it until later in the day.

So remember to check your work. ALWAYS! Try not to let outside influences distract you. This can easily happen but It can cost you jobs and regular clients. I am sure they will call me back. But I really felt bad about my error. I know better but for me this was a wake up call. I was careless and did not check my work. And ultimately, I could have paid for it by losing a valuable client Or even worse yet it could have been a time sensitive document and because of my error they could have lost their valuable client and/or they could have missed a deadline and I could have gotten sued…god forbid. So don’t forget to check BEFORE you leave them. Doesn’t matter if it is one document or 20. make sure you have done your job. We can’t afford mistakes!

Until the next time, be safe!

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  1. Carmen,
    Mistakes are everywhere. And they are made by both humans AND machines! They are unavoidable, but can be minimized. Notary work is low on the totem pole of consequences. Surgeons who amputate the wrong leg are higher up! Yes, we all try to eliminate them – but are doomed to failure.

    Comment by Kenneth A Edelstein — December 24, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

  2. Carmen,

    The point you presented “try not to let outside influences distract you” is a profound one. Let this be a lesson to Notaries who feel it is okay to answer the telephone during a signing so that they don’t miss out on another closing. If it can happen to Notaries who give their all–well enough said.

    In New Hampshire, the law is very strict in that your information must be complete and accurate in your acknowledgments, oaths, jurats, etc. I have been training and mentoring Notaries locally and nationwide for fifteen years to pay attention to this aspect as well as ensure that the information they have provided in their notary section is also complete.

    For example, Quicken Loans has two documents which require notarization but do not include any place for a notary on the document. Unfortunately, many notaries are unaware that these documents DO need to be notarized for them to be legal. God forbid something should happen later down the road where a borrower sues the lender. This can have an adverse effect on the Notary which may include them in more legal action. Without these docs being notarized, they hold no clout in the eyes of the court.

    As notaries, we have accepted a huge responsibility and we need to recognize and know when a document needs to be notarized and apply the exact verbiage according to each specific document in order to legally validate and witness the borrower’s signature. A great way to spot these documents is to watch for words like Affidavit or Oath.

    Everyone makes mistakes but some can be avoided. Always, check your work for accuracy.

    Comment by Debi Langlais — December 30, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

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