WARNING: Oak Tree Legal - How to respond to non-payment for services

Sorry for the lengthy post - So a Legal Firm from the Los Angeles area contacted me on 11/9/21 stating they found me on Notary Cafe, asking if I was available to notarize a one-page document in my zip code. I said yes, completed the assignment with scan backs and FedEx of original, and emailed my invoice for $45 the same day. 60+ days go by with multiple emails inquiring about payment, only to be told they were having trouble with their bank, and payment would be forthcoming. Feb 1st rolls around with still no word, so I sent a Payment Demand letter certified mail. Crickets until 2/15 when I rec’d an email stating payment had been sent thru PayPal, so sorry for the delay. But the Paypal link looked wonky, so I called PayPal who said it was a fraudulent PayPal link and advised not to click on it. They referred the matter to their Fraud Department. I contacted the firm again and said I would not use the link provided, but please send me a physical check. They said they would. I received the check and today tried to deposit it only to be told the issuer had put a Stop Payment on the check. -:frowning: Now I know it’s only $45 and I just need to write it off…But…Geez Louise…how can anyone do business this way? And if this is their mode of operation, I can’t help but wonder how many other NP’s they have scammed using the resources of Notary Cafe? The BBB won’t allow a complaint related to payment and neither this company nor the parent corps (best as I can discover) have any social media or websites to tag. So I’m wondering if NotaryCafe has a policy for dealing with these types of situations??? Any thoughts? Thanks.

I’m sorry that happened to you. Please name the firm you worked for to ensure others do not accept signings from them.

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After making my post, I found another Forum post regarding the very same company with many, many other notaries who have been scammed by these same guys.-:frowning: If interested, I suggest you review that post as well, especially if you have done any work for them. The company is Oak Tree Legal Services, 1050 Lakes Dr., Ste 255, West Covina, CA - Matthew Stanford, Nicole Green and Renee Berta.

I am so sorry to hear it happened to you. Sounds like they use Notary Café to find their victims! Is it possible for you to mention the name of the company? Maybe Notary Café can revoke their account so they don’t prey on more notaries.

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With lawyers, law firms, you go online and find out which area Bar Assoc. they belong to and how to file a complaint. Send law firm an e-mail demanding payment within 10 days or complaint will be filed with (all contact info for filing complaint w/Bar Assoc). If $ not received, FILE COMPLAINT. I’ve only had to threaten this once and had overnight good check in 3 days.

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I don’t understand why some law firms and lawyers would do that to notaries. I can see small signing companies don’t have money to pay their own bills and basically steal from the notaries but lawyers? Maybe those firms are fake.

@dfarris Thank You & Yes, this is why many ask members to perform a Search Function of the Notary Cafe database (prior to creating a new thread).

We all know that it’s pretty tough to find it . . .

So, just in case, here’s a screenshot for reference.

Bst Wishes :swan:

Hi All,

I wanted to jump in and clarify that Notary Cafe has no affiliation with Oak Tree Legal. “Finding you on Notary Cafe” does not equate to having an account that we can revoke, to address @VIPnotaryCO 's suggestion.

For Pro members who do not wish to have their information viewable by the general public, there is the option to reset the “Public Search” option to NO. This still allows our signing service network access to your profile, but it will not appear on the FInd A Notary page search results.

@dfarris did the right thing by questioning a suspicious looking link. We encourage everyone to be sure of the validity of all links before clicking on them.

Warning others about the difficulties with specific companies is the best way to help others avoid falling victim to the same circumstances.

Thanks,

NC_Mike

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Thank you for the clarification. I guess I was under the impression that SS has to have an account with Notary Cafe in order for me to receive orders, process orders via Notary Cafe loan closing system. It was a while ago but I thought I had a SS that has an account with Notary Cafe that added me on their Notary Panel, then I got a call to do closings. And maybe I’m wrong but I thought the link/portal to review and print loan docs was via Notary Cafe. Maybe I’m dreaming. I also recalled asking you if that particular co was “real” before I gave them my personal info and I thought you said that particular co was with Notary Cafe for many years and assured me that SS was real and I signed up with them. :thinking:

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It is true that a SS must have an account with us to process an order in our system. However, companies outside of our network routinely use our site to find notaries and fulfill orders in their own system as well.

We have never had any company named Oak Tree in our system. Honestly, the forum post from 12/29 is the first record of them I am able to find in my archives. However, please correct me if I am wrong and point me toward where I was asked about them previously. We do get questions about different companies quite frequently, but I am unable to find that name in any of my records.

I’ll be happy to clear up any misunderstanding. I just want to clarify that there isn’t much we can do with access to companies outside of our network.

There are many companies that utilize Notary Cafe’s ‘network’ (it predates all the other ‘platforms’)…so, yes, you will get business from those in-network companies. However, IF you’ve made your profile ‘visible to all’, then anyone–even tho’ they are NOT with Notary Cafe’s network–can see/use your contact info.

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Oh no Sir., the SS I asked you awhile back is “real” and I am still on their notary panel right now. And they are an excellent co to work with and pay on time. I just haven’t done any new orders for them because they went low like the rest as well:) Nothing to do with this fake firm that has been scamming notaries.

Personally, I don’t just sign up with anybody, or accepting any order before I check to make sure they are real and 5 stars rating Companies:). I use Notary Cafe a lot to search on companies before I say yes to accepting orders:). Notary Cafe is the only co that I pay a fee to be a part of:)

Thank you for all you do!

Sorry @VIPnotaryCO , I misread your previous post and thought it said you asked me specifcally about Oak Tree. That’s what I get for trying to multi-task:)

We appreciate the kind words! I use the forums myself when we receive questions about a particular signing service as well - you guys are the ones with the first-hand experience!

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I understand. Thanks again for taking the time to response. Have a great day!

Just throwing this out there as a side note, but I would never do a job for $45 as a mobile notary unless it was a one page document in my immediate area (1-5 miles). Your transaction details are not clear, but just saying nonetheless. I get it, snatch that job before someone else does, but then immediately do some research if its a client you don’t recognize, and assess risk. You can always back out if you don’t get that “warm and fuzzy” feeling inside.

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You are better than me, I don’t even do it less than $65. My lowest is 65 only because it’s Ron closing and I don’t have to print or leave the house.

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I get it. I don’t do RON. Too much work the ole’ fashioned way by me!

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Thank you so much for the clarification. I’m new to the forum, so I appreciate the insight.

Well I guess I am not the only one scammed by these unscrupulous idiots! I’m out $100 for a signing on 12/8/21. I have left many many phone messages and emails to a Megan Moore and only once received a msg back stating she would forward my information to their accounting dept. But, as of today still no payment. I wish I Was only out $45 but geez it’s $100 !!