Hey guys- I see all the negative posts regarding debt consolidations and structured settlements. What is different about these types of signings as opposed to the real-estate related signings we do? Is there a reason everyone avoids them like the plague? Other than the ridiculous lowball offers, I mean. I don’t start my car for less than $100. Is there something about dc/ss signings that I should know about in the unlikely event they offer an acceptable fee? I’m being ‘recruited’ by Sunshine Signing Connection and it sounds like they’ve become another garbage bottom-feeding lowball signing company since SnapDocs created a forum for lowball offers.
My experience with structured settlement signings is that the signers often flake at the last minute, wasting the time that I could have scheduled for another signing. Also, the packages may be small but the signers seem to always have questions and issues that make what should be quick signing take much longer. Or, if the company has items that I need to collect from the signers they NEVER have them ready. There’s just always SOMETHING on these signings that make them much more difficult than they are worth. I hadn’t accepted a structured settlement signing in a few years, and then about a week ago on a whim I accepted one from a company because the pay was much higher than usual and it was just a few miles away from me. I confirmed with the signer early in the day, but then when I was a few minutes away from arriving at the signing location she texted me to cancel So, yeah, structured settlements are back on my “do not accept” list.
I’ve never done a debt consolidation signing, but from reading the forums it seems to be a similar situation, these signings aren’t simple and straight forward, it appears to be companies trying to talk people into doing these deals and we as the notary get stuck in the middle of a high-pressure company and an unsure signer.
I really don’t like doing these for a number of reasons. First, you represent the Law Firm in the signing and are not allowed to discuss the contract they are signing. Second, I find that many are not adequately informed about the process and have questions that lead to phone calls and may result in not signing the contract. Finally, the pay is generally too low for the service I am providing.
Many won’t accept them for many reasons: a) they take advantage of desperate borrowers, b) the borrower is placed in the position where it can and has occurred that the legal firms pay themselves 1st leaving the borrower’s debtor’s with no funds for a long time. c) there is no guarantee that the legal firms can help the borrower*** d) the notary is placed in a bad position of having to represent the legal firms and at the same time being an dis-interested notary. e) Your E&O insurance probably wont’ protect you. and lastly some have claimed that the FTC has warned Notaries about doing these signings.
I find them morally unacceptable and refuse to do anymore of them. Personally I think those that do them and know that they take advantage of desperate people are SCUM BAGS.
*** The legal firms say the can get the debt down to 10% but some acknowledge that there are some debtors that won’t deal with them (i.e. reduce the debt) such as Bank of America
As dan_nsa said, many of these so-called ‘debt settlement’ companies take their fee upfront and do not pay creditors, completely tanking the credit of debtors who had good credit prior. Many of the companies ask NSA’s to misrepresent themselves as their agent. They also often prey on those who can least withstand the aftermath.
I’ve done a handful of annuity purchase signings, and I feel a little different. Although some finance firms low ball the offer to the signer, I’ve found they offer a valuable service to those that need it; people in desperate financial straits are able to get funds immediately to stave off the disaster.
In one annuity purchase case, I had multiple visits (each one paid) in which I had to help the signer fill out the forms (not the signing itself) due to partial paralysis following traumatic brain injury; it gave me a warm feeling to see how happy the signer was to be able to take care of his family’s needs.
I’ll do an annuity application/closing, but I keep a list of originators that have questionable practice (in my opinion) - I don’t respond to those.
It is not my right or place to substitute my own judgment for the signer’s. However, I’m very careful not to go outside my role as notary, not to start (or continue) a signing I know to be in bad faith, and not to lend my credibility to potential scams. Every debt settlement I’ve ever seen falls requires an NSA to go into the latter two, if not all three…
The other thing I don’t like is reverse mortgages, especially the application. In one signing, I was only at page 3 after an hour; even though the lender gave me full fee, I swore off reverses from that point onward.
Great feedback, everyone. Thanks.
And every one of them is slow pay. If I accept the assignment, it’s PayPal upfront. You’d be surprised how used to this they are, and agree to it.