Pressure to notarize by companies

I had a recent experience with a title company that was extremely unpleasant and concerning. I will explain the circumstances and hope all you notary out there can help give me some advice or comments.

I had a signing with a couple. It was over an hour trip, printing and I was there for an hour waiting for the company to tell me how or how not to proceed.

When I got there I checked their IDs. It DID NOT match the paperwork; specifically hers. She had a Japanese passport, she also had a GOV permanent resident card. But, here is the kicker, they were in her maiden name and the documents were in her married name. She has been married for 20 years and never got an ID here in the USA with her married name. She had a French ID with her married name that was expired and a marriage certificate, these were of course in French and I am not bilingual, she had NOTHING with her married name, not even a Costco card or CC with a photo. I had nothing to put in the notary journal with her married name or in the patriot act and there were many red flags. She had nothing with her married name and a picture to prove beyond a reasonable doubt it was her.
I called NB notary and got a pushy car salesman-like attitude that was unprofessional and downright rude. He told me to just sign it, he would, and he kept repeating that. I called the title company and got the run around with attitude and was referred back to NB notary. I refused to do the job because as I knew it was illegal for me to proceed with my oath intact I refused to proceed. Eventually, NB agreed with me and continued to pressure me to sign. I refused, he told me I would get paid the full amount even though I didn’t sign. I looked today, the job was 4 days ago, and he revoked his agreement and is trying to only credit me $50.00, not the $100.00 he agreed to pay me. This guy at NB title is dishonest. Because 1. He said he was going to go do the signing when he hadn’t even looked at their IDs and pressured me to do the signing. 2) he was dishonest about the payment we agreed on in the phone conversation.
I am curious, how would you deal with this situation? How would you proceed to get paid the full amount? Would you go to the title company and tell them the circumstances?


Well, here goes - my .02 FWIW

First of all, where are you located? Is there anything in your notary law that gives you some wiggle room here? Can you use “formerly known as” (f/k/a) or “who took title as” (wtta) in your certs so you could use the passport as valid ID.

Second: I think I would turn to the title company and try to explain what happened, bolstering it with the copy of your notary law that backs your assertion that you could not notarize.

Third: Over an hour trip (2 hours round trip) plus printing time, table time and consumables - I most certainly would insist on full pay for this one - SOMEONE in the chain should have seen that she did not have adequate ID…so this should not be on you.

Fourth: (my opinion) - one hour out, one hour back, table time, mileage, print time and prep time - please review your fee schedule and put more value on yourself.

Good luck


As soon as you saw the ID didn’t match, you were done. Should have packed up and left without further discussion with anyone–there wasn’t anything to negotiate. You’re owed a trip fee at best. Chalk it up to what sometimes happens in our business.


Turning to the title company for payment would be a serious breach of the ethical standards we hold ourselves to. Her contract was with a notary service, not the title company.


And the SS is contracted by the title company - and if the subcontractor (the SS) is not paying, then the contractor (title company) is on the hook

There’s no breach of ethical standard doing this. The breach of ethical standard comes into play if you market to a title company directly behind the back of the SS you KNOW services them.

And, may I ask, WHOSE ethical standard? If you’re talking about a certain association and their Code of Ethical conduct…yeah, bleh


Seriously? The title company is on the hook? Are you dreaming? Any qualified notary signing agent knows this, but since you may have forgotten, this is direct from the Signing Professionals Workgroup Code Of Conduct for NSA’s:
“7.8. Collection of Fee from Signer
The Notary Signing Agent will not attempt to collect the signing fee from the signer in the
event that the contracting company fails to remit timely payment.”

You might want to brush up on your reading.


The Signer - the borrowers…and in that light you’re absolutely right…but you CAN turn to title

Politely saying (since you did not) - YOU may want to go brush up on your reading. And FYI I do not follow the NNA’s codes.


toots??? LOL…sure thing.

And believe it or not, there are GOOD companies out there who would protect the notary’s fee and honor the invoice. And they learn a hard and fast lesson about the sleezy SS they contract with.


FBagnato123- I had a non-payment by a SS about 7 years ago; had done signings for them previously & had no issue with payments, but after 3 months went by with no check & numerous daily phone calls I called the Escrow/ Title Co. The Escrow agent put me on hold, called the SS & added me back into the call. She went over the issue with the SS agent & told them if I didn’t have a check within 3 days she would no longer do business with them. I had my check within 3 days. Sorry to disappoint you & your theory that Title Co’s don’t care about us Notarys.


I agree Linda. The title company should be aware who they are crawling into bed with, so to speak. It is unethical what NB notary said and did to sign the paperwork. Not only was I protecting myself from an illegal transaction, but I was protecting the title company as well. On those grounds alone I think the title company should be aware of who they are dealing with because I don’t think that transaction would coincide with the titles at the ethical standards. Especially considering one of their own in the title company did not seem to care to call me back and the transaction went through anyways.


The SS rep “promised to pay” and did not, so where’s their ethic?.. agreed with Linda, contact TC.
It’s already a low ball offer from the beginning, and if you lose this SS business, you’re not losing, but winning.


You did the right thing! As for being paid, I wouldn’t fight it. Accept the money and just keep spreading the word about them.
I thank you for your post.

1 Like

I recovered fees from title the one and only time a serious issue came up where a signing company tried to stiff me. If you can document true wrong doing, decent companies will step up and they will use the info you provide also. In my case I urged that title company to not use the signing company again. It was a truly unprofessional issue.


I would have walked away too and I have many times. You did the right thing. As far as the pay most companies will only pay half of agreed fee for a non closing no matter what someone told you. Chalk it up to an experience and know you did the right thing. Never let someone pressure you into doing something you know is wrong.


There is way too much going on with the lack of valid ID. At the very least, a call to Chicago Title is warranted - not even for payment as much as alerting them to what was going on. They may not even know about NB guy. I would think Chicago would be very interested that one of their partners was willing to go ahead with a possible fraudulent signing. It makes them liable. Yikes.

As far as ethics go, NB seems to be the ones lacking in that department - not you. It would have been my first call.


Calling the title company and warning them, about their “middleman” violating the law and attempting to coerce the SA to do so as well, is not only a responsible professional duty but also a highly ethical action to take as a Notary.

On another note, calling a woman “toots” (def. honey, baby, sweetheart) is not only an outdated term (1930’s), but it’s also sexist and offensive in today’s world. Geesh.


I had my one and only experience with [redacted] last year and even though the issue was not with ID but with payment, it took me almost 6 months to receive that payment. I called and called sent emails, sent letters stating I would resort to legal action and finally they paid. I would NEVER EVER suggest anyone work for this company. And I am surprised the title company would even associate themselves with NB.

1 Like

The problem I have is, he said I would get full payment. Because I hung around waiting for phone calls back and I was there for over an hour trying to resolve the issue. They asked me to stay and I would get full payment in return.

1 Like

Kudos for refusing to move forward with this signing. I had a somewhat similar situations: Couple married for 50 years, docs listed wife’s maiden name as well as married name, current ID did not have maiden name. After some digging, they were able to produce two connecing documents - her expired Korean passport [maiden name] and their marriage certificate [maiden name and person she was marrying], thus I felt comfortable in continuing the closing, That was in 2017.

This year, I walked away from a closing where the Lender had listed the primary borrowers name incorrectly throughout the documents, specifically the mortgage. Despite having the borrower’s driver’s license during the underwriting process of 4 months, the error was not caught until we were at the table as I didn’t have the borrowers IDs prior to printing the docs. Since I caught this significant error that would have impacted the Lender, Title, Borrower & me, I was paid the full fee. Subsequently, verifying spellings of names and addresses is an integral part of my due diligence when confirming appointments and directing the borrower back to their lender to ensure this critical information is correct before I’ll print as I will not change these two things at the table, especially on a mortgage. Hope this tale of just two closings was helpful to you and others.


I rarely have time to read or respond but here goes. My involvement would have ended when the signing services scheduler tried to book me on 2+ hour round trip for $100. No pressure, just decline the offer. Hopefully the next notary would then prequalify the signers on the phone beforehand determining the borrower did not have an acceptable ID. Scoring the assignment, printing the docs and showing up just sets you up for failure and you can’t blame the contractor for asking you to fix you mistake.

1 Like