Non payers beware

I completed a closing for a client through a signing agency and he told me he liked my services and would like to work with me after completing the closing. Of course I was excited because the escrow officer stated he has 40 properties they would like my assistance with (sounds like a dream right) so of course I told them I was available. I completed the first closing, provided scan backs and everything went well. The client even gave me a tip. Now of course the next day, I emailed my invoice to the escrow officer. It’s been two weeks and I haven’t heard from neither the escrow officer or the client. Finally, the escrow officer contacted me asking me can I complete another closing for the client I said sure. The escrow officer asked me how much do I charge to complete the package and I gave her my price and she told me to send over my invoice again. She confirm she received it. (Remind you I still haven’t been paid from the first one)
at the second closing, I sent scan backs as requested and once again the client gave me a big tip. I then sent over my second invoice for that closing. Now, I haven’t spoken with the escrow officer nor the client. They appear to be ignoring my calls and e-mails. personally feel like the client was telling the escrow officer that he paid me out of pocket but in fact he was telling me it was a tip. While talking to the escrow officer the first time regarding payment she mumbled “I thought he said he handled that?”
How should I go about this?
Thank you


The Search function is being identified to be of assistance to you. :angel:

Each of us contributes our time-proven experience & expertise. We are very busy business owners; either working with clients OR marketing/developing our business. => Our contributions/answers are provided on a voluntary basis and are offered to be of assistance & provide insight to others in this business sector.

It’s so important for each member to endeavor to perform due diligence prior to requesting the valuable time of other business owners.

As a fellow business owner , I’d like to offer an opportunity to further enhance your business acumen & skill set (speaking proverbially ) by "teaching you how to fish;" instead of giving you a fish . . .

Searching the Notary Café database for the answer (that’s more than likely already present) prior to creating a new thread or post is being considerate, thoughtful, & respectful of other members. Saves everyone time & prevents consternation. :sparkles:


You can run a Search (upper right/magnifying glass) as it will usually be quicker than waiting for someone to reply.

Here are the results I found for you by typing “payment” in the Search field. This page is replete with threads packed with information on how to proceed in your scenario:

Also, here is one thread that you may find particularly helpful:

Wishing you the best. :pray:


Seems to be a ‘failure to communicate’. Was the ‘tip’ equal to your fee? If so, you’ve been paid.
If not, explain to EO that client gave you what he called a ‘tip’, but your invoice (or at least the difference between invoice & tip) is still due.
As you hopefully have 38 more of these in the future, it would probably be best to tell client the next time he offers you $/tip to decline & state that your fee is paid by EO. If he again offers $, then both you & client are in agreement that this is a tip. This tip vs fee situation needs to be clarified by all parties involved.


First of all I would never ever ever accept tips from the clients especially cash. If the customers keep pushing the tips, I would be very professional and politely say, “Thank you for your kindness but I will have to refuse the offer.” 2nd, they may be super busy and you need to give them two-three weeks to get payments to you especially if it is your first time working with them.


I agree…curious why you’re accepting “tips”… I’m suspecting that " tip" from the escrow officer was your fee paid on the spot…as ARichter asked, was the tip equal to or greater than your quoted fee?

For reporting purposes (IRS and State Taxing Agency, if applicable) no funds/fees are considered “tips”. Think you need to get clarification on this money exchange before you do any more assignments for them


Thank you everyone for your response. When he offered me a “tip” he literally had to force me to take it because I wouldn’t. I actually have still have it in my notary bag but I never except tips anyway. The tip was only $5 dollars. He stated “since you drove a far distance or for my appreciation here’s a tip. The last tip he gave me I told him that the escrow office you work with pays me not you. That’s why I never spent the “tip” and kept it so I can send it back in a thank you card. It’s been a month since the first closing and now 2 weeks since the last.

Thank you for this however I came here to get answers based on my particular situation not someone else’s. I didn’t know I wasn’t suppose to post because someone ask a similar question as me. I am a busy business owner as well and I pay my notary cafe to write my concerns on here just like every one else. If you pay attention to the site, literally everyone is posting the same questions and answers over and over again so I hope this message it posted to all the notaries who pay notary care to get answers.

Have a blessed day!

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Thank you I always appreciate your positive advice!

Just curious…and interested. Why would you (you know who you are) NOT accept a tip when doing a hired by TC or SS loan signing? I’ve never seen anything prohibiting (or approving) this. I’ve never been offered a ‘tip’, but have had signers ask ‘do I pay you now?’ I say ‘No, I’m paid by the TC’…and that’s the end of it.

“Guiding Principle II-A-3 of The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility of 2020 recommends Notaries should not accept any gifts, gratuities or donations.”

In all my professional care in the financial service industry since graduated from college, I have always operated with the understanding that I may not accept tips.


I appreciate the article however I can see if the client actually paid my fee then it would make since…… but since they haven’t paid my fees then what? That’s the point I’m trying to make. If you want to argue the fact I accepted a “tip” (technically I didn’t) which means I did a closing for $5!
I’m not trying to start a huge debate only to get non discriminatory advise from my fellow notaries yet I’m getting different.

No problem. Sorry for the confusion ma’am. The article was meant for a response to another notary who asked why I don’t accept tips:) I just clicked on the wrong button that’s all.

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The NNA is just an organization (who tries very hard to be the official whatever on all things notary). But, fact is, it’s NOT. Each state’s law on any given notary-related subject is the one that counts.
Note that some states do cover this topic…and some don’t. Best to check with your SOS.


Absolutely correct, Arichter, about the NNA => " tries very hard to be the official whatever on all things notary"

Recently discussed here: Why I don't like night and weekend signings - #9 by cNsa5

Much valuable information on the multiple threads on the post. :sparkles:

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People can do whatever they want, but for me I would never take tips whatsoever.

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Tips are tips and contracts are contracts. If you received a confirmation for a closing you are entitled to be paid. It’s that simple. If someone is giving you a tip that’s on them it’s not “in lieu” of payment. Send them a collection letter and make sure you put at the bottom; “This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.” I understand they’ve baited you with “other closings,” but you’re not in this business to work for free, right?


They asked for your invoice before the signing, because title is paying you directly. So look the settlement statement they should have your name, as the payee, for the notary work. Title then cuts you a check at closing date. Look at the disbursement date, that’s the date they pay everyone. Call them and get your money. Them not responding is unprofessional, and an insult for the work you do.

Good luck.


I have a question. Was your fee included in the HUD/CD? if yes, TC should pay you, and not say that the ‘tip’ was your service fee.

I am so Glad someone is saying the same thing I’ve been saying. They’re nothing more than a Monopoly who have cornered the Industry. With all of their Fees etc. We’re not in a Union. They’re a Joke.

Right. Why are you quoting the NNA? They’re a joke.