Bad Signing Experience! Please Advise

I had what turned out to be a bad experience with a title company and signing service. I am doing my best to consider it “lessons learned”, but would love to hear anybody’s wisdom on this.

The Prelude
Although the signings my wife and I did for buying/refi/selling our homes in the past had lots of initials, the signings I have done in my 11 months as a NSA (an NSA?) have almost never had initials required, but my signing a week ago had several which got my attention…“oooo, initials!”

The Offer
I was offered a signing on Saturday April 23 for a married couple (through Snapdocs). I live east of the Seattle area, so get a lot of signings up in the town in the Cascade mountains and tend to drive a lot. Negotiated $100 for the signing. On being assigned, I saw that the docs needed to be dropped at the Title Company on Monday morning, making it 100 miles of total driving. I initially said to reassign it, then backed off and took the signing.

The Signing
I printed the docs. Guess what, it had initials required in a few places also, which piqued my attention. One of the docs had initials on the page that had the signature as well; the husband initialed, the wife missed it, and I caught it on review. (pats self on back). However…they were practically touching, almost like 1 big initial…I didn’t do anything about that.
Scanbacks were not required. I considered scanning anyway, just to be helpful (I was dropping them at an office closer to me, rather than the more distant office that handled the deal), but didn’t…but I wish I had.

The Aftermath
Yesterday (Tuesday April 26) I received an email that I had made a mistake, one of the docs wasn’t initialed by both signers. I’m pretty sure that the supposedly uninitialed doc was the one I caught. Perhaps it looked like one set of initials because they touched? Wish I had scanned…
Also, the 4506-C was signed by both the husband and the wife signed in the line for Spouse. Title wanted it without her signing there. This seemed odd, because they filed jointly, and didn’t have a separate 4506-C for the wife. They said I had made a mistake there too, yet there were no instructions to not have the spouse sign.
Oh: there were also 6 additional docs that were dated April 18 and April 22, and hadn’t been included in the original set of docs.

I want to always make good, so said I could do it in the evening.
Calling the signers I found out that they had all come down with COVID (and were probably quite contagious when I was there on Saturday).

I asked about the additional trip fee, and both Title and Signing service said it was my fault so suck it up…another 100 miles of driving, and COVID.

I eventually printed and started driving, after having texted that I would fix my mistakes (which I’m not convinced were mistakes, but hey I know I’m not perfect…wish I had scanned), but that they should let the notary they engage to sign the additional 6 documents know that the signers have COVID.

The phone rings. Signing service lady tells me I’m being unprofessional, even after I quote the Terms of Payment that her service posted on the Snapdocs order that additional trips would be paid for. She does a bit of gaslighting, telling me that the 4 or 5 docs were probably required due to delays in funding BECAUSE OF MY MISTAKE. As I was driving I couldn’t look at them to confirm. She said that I was already authorized “The Max” so she couldn’t pay me any more for the additional 3 pages. I told her to let the other notary know about COVID, and hung up on her in front of my daughter. Not my proudest moment.

She called back and offered $20 more. If I had had more fight, and had remembered the additional docs dates (dated prior to the original signing) I would have held out for a 2nd fee rather than a nudged up fee. But, I took it. Pushover.

Everything got done. The signers were really great, wearing masks to come get the docs I set out on their recycling bin. They have a bunch of different chickens, and gave me a dozen fresh eggs of different colors.

So, what should I have done?

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Said ‘No, thank you’, the first time. $100 for 100 miles, gas & time…everything else was free.


I’m gonna have to reply to this later!

(CA) Arichter is so right.

Let’s look at this. . .
$100 for 100 miles roundtrip? Gas alone ate your profits. What, two hours each way? Nah, fugettaboutit.

Initials and signatures? You’ll see this a lot. Get them both and move on.

Scanning? If you feel you have to scan to protect yourself, you’d be better off investing the time ensuring that you do a better job. Scanning is a pain but sometimes necessary. Why just today I got an instruction to scan which says, “We are requiring faxbacks [scans] on this closing due to current shipping delays.” [Baloney] I live in Southern California and I’m unaware of any shipping delays in this area, but, oh well, maybe it happens somewhere.

4506-C? Don’t make any judgments on your own. Give them what they want, nothing more, nothing less.

I wouldn’t worry too much about dates other than the actual signing date. You don’t know why the dates are what they are. BUT, If there are questions about the accuracy/validity of any date, call escrow or title and get it cleared up. Always ask for a text or email confirmation of their decision. You’re entitled to that in my opinion.

Additional trip fee? It seems to me that the SS would never pay and additional trip fee if you’ve made errors you have to go back to fix. Why would they cover that cost?

Hanging up on the SS? Not me, brother, never. Oh, I might write them a note and explain my position but I never hang up on anyone, ever. You just never know when that may come back around and bite you. Be professional at all times.

You’re not a “pushover”. You’re new and learning and sometimes there is a price to be paid for being a rookie. Pay it and move on. A year from now you’ll be writing advice like I am now. And listen to Arichter, VIPnotaryCO, donaldsonsp, cNSA and the other sage veterans on this site. You’ll learn a lot.


@Bobby4913… lol… im only a vetran in the life of hard knocks im afraid.

I agree with everything @Bobby4913 said but i understand your reason and your reaction. The only time i ever have spouse sign in that area is if the name is printed with the signature if not just the person referenced at the top is required. If it is an error it is thier error not yours. We live and we learn in this business. We have all had that one or two signings that we wish we had never accepted and had to suck it up and chuck it up to a lesson learned the next time.

The thing is especially when dealing with SS on SnapDocs they may or may not share the experience they had with you on your profile that only them and other SS will see. So no matter what happens you always have to remember to do your best and keep it professional.


as far as the 4506-C I’m baffled. I looked at my NNA Loan Documents Sourcebook and it says not to have spouse sign unless their name is on the upper name line. When I called the NNA Hotline, they said it should be signed by the spouse if they file jointly. Talking to the signers, they file jointly.
The Snapdocs order have no after-hours phone numbers for this signing…of course, they rarely answer when I have called in the past…


It was indeed tuition…

You have learned an important lesson that many of us have experienced…. The NNA is not always correct


Concur :100: percent @donaldsonnp In previous posts, I’ve conveyed this multiple times over the years. Unfortunately, most don’t utilize the Search Function on Notary Cafe to review wisdom already immediately available.

Also, most don’t realize the NNA is based in CA and their “advice” is based on CA law.

Of course, this is NOT good for most states in the US. When I was new & sought out their advice along with the advice of the owners of the training programs I successfully completed, their input was incorrect nearly without exception. The NNA is NOT an ally of Notaries/Professional Loan Signing Agents.

Many have posed these valid queries (and many more) over the years:
“Why doesn’t the NNA work to get our Notary Fees increased?”
“Why doesn’t the NNA fight against Remote Online Notarization [RON]?”
“Why does the NNA charge such HIGH PRICES for their services & supplies?”
“Why did the NNA Hotline give me incorrect information?”

The term “association” within their name is a misnomer.

You can see multiple examples about errant data provided by the NNA in this post:

I always provide guidance to do your own due diligence and seek out the most informed, professional source of insights/wisdom/experience when new to a business sector.



First, $100 for 100 miles? I rarely do $100 for a refinance in my home town. Most importantly, once the signers had COVID, that was your out, PERIOD. If the SS insisted that you still go and risk your life then you should have recorded them saying this, or got it in writing. What type of transaction is worth dying or spreading COVID?

If they said an error was made, I think it is fair to ask them to scan and send the page showing the error.

Many companies want each signer to fill out a 4506T. even if they are married and file a joint return. If there are no instructions and no names preprinted on the form(s), and I have a couple that files jointly then I ask that they sign three of them, two separately and one requesting tax transcripts as a joint return. How many 4506Ts were in the package? If there were two 4506Ts then…

I agree that hanging up is not professional. However, it’s way more professional that cussing somebody out so you may have made the right decision to hang up.

In summary, what you should have done was know your value.


I agree with Arichter


Concurred 100%…………….

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Yes – the National Notary Association is a business, first and foremost.


100 miles total drive for $100? Problem would have been solved with a “No Thank You”

Initials: Pay attention to the docs. Only the name/names on the docs need to initial.
For multiple signers: I would ask them to separate their initials with a slash “ / “
For example two signers: 1st signer: Sue Ruth Jones, 2nd signer: Mark Frank Jones
Initials: SRJ/MFJ on same line
or separate

4506-C: Pay attention to the top of the page. Only the name and SSN# listed at the top will sign and date at the bottom. I always ask the signer to verify name, SSN# and address before sign and date. If lenders want both names they will list both names and Social Security# at the top on the same doc, of course you will have both signers sign and date at the bottom. Most 4506-C out there created for one person and SSN only so even if they are married and file jointly they still have to sign their own separate 4506-C. Sometimes the lenders will list both names and SSN on the same 4506-C but that’s rare.
And make sure the signer check off that box at the bottom before sign. Never leave that box blank, sometimes the lender pre-filled the box with “X” already, just need to sign and date.

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Concur :100: percent. Solely a FOR-PROFIT business => no interest or goal in supporting/advocating for Notaries Public/Professional Signing Agents.


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Sorry you had a bad signing experience. But even bad experiences are opportunities to learn. Charging too little is a lesson we can all appreciate. Been there, done that! The good news is that you are better prepared for the next time.

Jay, I am also in Washington. By any chance was the document that wasn’t initialed by the wife the new Uniform Residential Loan Application? I have a video that shows a couple different examples about signing/initialing the new URLA forms NSA 101: Reviewing the 2021 updated URLA form - YouTube --if it helps you.

As for the 4506, if only the husband’s was listed at the top and the wife’s was not on it, I would have just had the husband sign as indicated. Sometimes they will send two 4506 forms for each to sign. Or there will be a single 4506 form with BOTH names listed, so then I would have both sign it. It’s a feels like crap shoot sometimes, but if we are ever uncertain about what is expected with a loan doc, we can always contact the hiring company to confirm our understanding before we head out the door to the signing. Or call from the signing table.

The main thing is to remain professional if you can, no matter what. But I too would have been concerned about the COVID diagnosis.

Welcome to Notary Cafe. Please spend some time reading through these threads for other helpful advice. Lots of info here.

Good luck!


The uninitialed document was the Note. I’m pretty sure it was initialed by both, and that it was the doc I caught needing 2nd initials, but that they were touching and the title folks couldn’t tell. However, nobody’s perfect and I exemplify that, so it may have been missed (my inner grouch wants to say “but IT WASN’T, LET ME TELL YOU…”, but I won’t).

As far as the 4506 it only had the husband’s name, but they filed jointly and there was no separate 4506 for the wife so that confused me. Nevertheless I will own that one too.


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I’ve seen your repeated messages about doing searches on the forum when discussing printers, scanners etc., but had never thought about using the forum search as a resource for specific document questions, thanks for pointing that out.

Since I was introduced to this job when we sold a rental house, and the notary recommended NNA as a starting point, I hadn’t really thought about NNA as just a biz at first, and probably invested them with more trust that I should have. Great wisdom there too; thanks again.

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I will watch your video!

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Ahh ok I see what you’re saying. This has happened to me before as well. When they give only a single line to put two sets of initials, I instruct the first signer to put a slash after their initials to clearly differentiate from the second set of initials so it looks more like
INITIALS: xxx / xxx

Of course it would be better if the hiring company simply created two separate spaces in their docs for each signer’s initials if that’s what they require.