Concerned Signers Are Being "Hoodwinked"

I’ve gotten several Debt Settlement jobs from National Paralegal and Notary that I’m beginning to almost feel guilty taking. One done earlier in June had the signer end up saying he just wasn’t sure about the program. I ended up seeing him again a few months later for a HELOC loan after he canceled the debt settlement (which he said cost him money he could not recoup). I had one this week that was set up by a wife and canceled by the husband 5 min. after I got there, saying he thought they were signing for a “lump sum” type loan that he could use to pay their bills. I showed him the presentation I was supposed to have them initial and he immediately said, “absolutely not.” His wife said she had been called the day before and never heard any of these details. (One day later they had a closing package put together and a notary hired to get signatures. Pretty quick?) I have not felt comfortable in any of these signings for various reasons; mostly the signer saying they had found out about these services through “cold call” emails, phone calls, etc. I completely understand we are just there to present the docs for signing and it’s completely up to the signer as to what they are entering into. I am very careful to let them know, when questioned, that I can give no advice and they need to call the representative they have been dealing with. It’s mostly a gut feeling on my part based on instinct or what they have said. As a sidebar, NPN makes you go through testing before you can even be considered for jobs and they don’t pay until the end of the month following the month you do the job; i.e., if your signing is the beginning of November, you don’t get paid until the end of December. Quite a wait. Just curious if any of this sounds familiary to anyone else?

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Smart signers! Your experience is the reason most experienced notaries refuse these jobs.
Seems only the low/slow/no pay SS are involved.

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@jmuklewicz01 Thank you for sharing your direct experience. :white_check_mark:

In addition, there are at least 19 other threads on the topic of this business entity . . .

https://forum.notarycafe.com/search?q=National%20Paralegal%20and%20Notary

:swan:

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Yep, heard it…search here for a wealth of info about these deals and this company. Many of us won’t accept these offers or work with this company, for good reason.

BTW, the training they give you is claimed to make you a paralegal …no, you are not a paralegal

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That’s only true if we take the assignment. We can, and should, refuse entire categories of assignments if we feel certain kinds of assignments are usually a raw deal for the signer. Unless you live in a state where notaries are required to notarize when the signer meets all the requirements (physically present, ID, etc.) you can just not do notarizations that don’t smell right. Mobile notaries can always refuse in every state, because driving from home to the signing place is not a notarial duty so the state can’t force you to do it.

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I had taken a few of these signings in the beginning. After the third one I decided to not take them again. I never felt as though the signers knew what they were signing up for. I did one signing with the company on speaker phone the entire signing and I had a hard time following the details….I went with my gut…it just didn’t feel “ right”. The signer went through with the program……but I worry it was not very clear what they signed up for🫤 thank you for sharing your experience!

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My exact thoughts! Just curious, was it through NPN?

Yes! It was……and I bet I get more offers for debt settlement signings than anything else☹️I have even responded and stated “ I no longer accept debt settlement signings” but I still get the offers. It sounds like we both know better now😂

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I’ve got a few clients who’ve signed these contracts, then after-the-fact called to ask if I’d done them or recommend them. I answer ‘no’ for both questions. I have one that’s been paying on one for close to a year and still hasn’t paid off the ‘fees’. Until the fees are paid, only them will the debt consolidator start paying on the debt. Meanwhile they have lost one car to repossession and two breach of contract lawsuits. They’re considering Bankruptcy.

And from what I understand of the law, that is bass-ackward - supposedly, no fees or charges can be charged or collected until the debt is relieved. I think there is federal law regulating this

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I got tired of the whole yank around. Just like you many cancelled last minute and I wasn’t interested in not being paid and having my time stolen by organizers of these things who wanted to rush people through them. I got to the point I asked specific questions on the confirmation call, if they couldn’t answer confidently I didn’t bother proceeding. They either swore they knew what they were getting into or realized it on the phone with me and I cancelled it myself. My time and gas are not worth a 20 consolation fee.

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That depends on the debtor laws in each state. The Fees are the cost of collections and administration of the debt.

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Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts. As Public Officials, we come across various situations that may make us have an “uneasy feeling”. As long as the request for notarial services is legal, I will perform the notarial act. It’s been a few years since I accepted a debt settlement assignment. I do not recall there being any need for a notarial act, but I was being hired to act as the company’s representative. I told the hiring party that I am Notary Public. Therefore I will not read or imply being their representative, I am totally impartial in the process.

I learned my lesson from debt settlement signing companies. Never again. The company wanted me to sign and attest to a presentation that I had no knowledge about. Once I refuse they tried to say I harassed the signer because at her request to let her know the status of I informed her that they will send another notary,

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I refuse to do these too. I see them come through often & I refuse them all. After doing one years ago I became very uneasy helping innocent people go through this process. Im glad you posted your experience and feelings on this issue- thank you

Hopefully you are aware that your E&O insurance only covers Notarial Acts and NSA acts (and this isn’t one) too if you purchased that option. Several Notaries have been sued because they are acting as company representatives (I assume it hasn’t changed in the last few years that you sign a document saying you represent the company, then read them a long spiel). Debt settlement companies take advantage of desperate people deeply in debt, and offer no guarantee since many lenders/cc companies won’t deal with them.

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I work closely with an attorney and when I first showed him one of these, he said RUN away from them. Ultimately, he said I could be sued for leading the customer astray.

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I took the training for a debt settlement closing a few years ago and was expected to deliver the presenation to the signer when we met. After taking their training, I informed them that I would not do the assignment. 100% of the risk was on me not the firm performing this service. I had received the package and was quite honestly in shock abou what they were going to be doing to the client and expecting me to be the middle person if the client later had issues with the agreement relieving the company from any liability later. I told them that after the training and review of the documents I felt that these type of signings should be done btmy paralegals and I am nnot willing to ever do them.

I feel like I personally dodged a bullet by saying a strong “NO”.

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I had a similar situation a few years ago and decided to stop taking these appointments for the same reason. I once had a signer call me months after because the company wouldn’t respond to their calls. They were in no way accusing me, just trying to see if I could lead them in the right direction. All I could do was tell them to call the company until they got someone. It’s definitely a cancellation if it doesn’t feel right. Always trust your gut.

I have taken these signings and will continue to do so for the following reasons: 1) you can get 100.00-150.00 per signing once you’ve completed several. 2) The customer is free to quit the program at any time, and I think they’ll get their money back. 3) their pay cycle can be slow but you will be paid. 4) after you’ve done a few, they are very easy. Unlike other signings, they’re all exactly the same.

Quite simply, beggars cannot be choosers and in this over-saturated market it’s tough not to be a beggar. Good luck!