Notaries, Do You Know What You Can Charge???
We had a lady concerned that she was over charged for a document with three signatures. Here is the transcript from that live chat session:
Customer Service: How may I help you today?
Christine: Is the notary charge per notary signature or per witness signature?
Christine: We just got charged $30 to notarize one document. That has never happened to me before.
Customer Service: The notary charges per signature notarized, per document. That is correct if it is 3 different signers.
Christine: So, if each person signed the same document, but only one notary signature appears and one notary seal. Under California law it is $30 to notarize that document?
Customer Service: That is the maximum the notary can charge, correct. There should have also been 3 separate journal entries as well.
Christine: That is very strange. I have had documents notarized before and we only were charged $10 for the notary seal/signature, even though two people signed the document.
Customer Service: Most notaries do not know what they are doing, unfortunately, or they were just giving you a discount.
Christine: Fed Ex Kinko's seems not to have an overall policy on what the notaries there are charging. Every store is doing it differently, acc'g to their corp H=Q
Customer Service: We have the same problem with UPS Store as well.
Christine: It does not seem right that they can charge so much to notarize a document. It's only a very short procedure, takes no more than 5 minutes.
Customer Service: However, the notary has UNLIMITED liability if they make a mistake. California has the highest paid notaries in the country.
Christine: Are you sure that this is the way it works in California? When I was practicing law in NY and was a notary, we did not do it this way.
Customer Service: New York has the same law as California. You were also under charging if you did it that way.
Christine: She could have charged us $10 for her one signature on the document. "Per signature" is vague to me. My understanding is that you're paying for the notary's signature and seal on your document. If you're notarizing five documents with three witnesses each, you're paying for five signatures, not fifteen.
Customer Service: That is incorrect. The notary is charging per notarized signature, no matter how many times the notary signs or seals the document. 5 documents, three signers each = $150, not $50.
Customer Service: This is not interpretation, this is state law.
Christine: What is the authority? Can you cite to the law?
Customer Service: One moment.
Customer Service: CA GC 8211 defines the fees that a notary can charge.
Customer Service: Section A states that: For taking an acknowledgment or proof of a deed, or other instrument, to include the seal and the writing of the certificate, the sum of ten dollars ($10) for EACH SIGNATURE TAKEN.
Christine: 8211. California Notary Public Maximum FeesFees charged by a notary public for the following servicesshall not exceed the fees prescribed by this section. (a) For taking an acknowledgment or proof of a deed, or otherinstrument, to include the seal and the writing of the certificate,the sum of ten dollars ($10) for each signature taken.
Christine: Yes, I see that. She did not write any certificate. All she did was stamp and sign a document we gave her, and put our signatures in her book. It also says maximum fees charged.
Customer Service: Writing of the certificate means that she wrote the names of the signers and the date the notarization took place, etc on the notary certificate.
Customer Service: Maximum fees, means that she could charge less if she wanted to.
Christine: It still to me could be understood as for her signature. It is hard to know exactly what this means.
Customer Service: I would suggest you speak to a lawyer then.
Christine: No that's fine. This is enough info for now. Thank you.
Customer Service: Thank you. Have a great day.