Posted by Michelle/AL on 6/10/09 11:34pm
FedEx Kinkos Notary Services
I heard from a customer that FedExKinko's had stopped notarizing documents. I didn't believe it because I'm in FedEx 3-4 times a week and I've continued to see the notary working behind the desk. Today I remembered to ask her if the rumor was true and she confirmed it. As of May 31st that location (which is the largest "Kinkos" in the city) stopped offering notary services. The store was busy at the time so I told her I'd check back with her later to find out the reasons behind the decision. She did tell me months ago that she was spending most of her day notarizing documents and could not do much else. She was the only notary around (that I know of) who charged the legal .50 cents per signature for customers to go to her. MailBoxesEtc and UPS both charge $5.00 per signature (if I'm not mistaken). She was running through Journals like water.
Have any of you heard about this in your cities? I remember posting about a recent lawsuit that involved Kinkos at its notaries (lack of training). Perhaps that had something to do with it. I think I'll go to the main website and see if I can find anything.
Reply by Roger_OH on 6/11/09 2:45am
Yep, they're stopping in Ohio as well. My contacts there also alluded to some legal action regarding notary errors.
I gave all the area stores my cards; they were happy there was a mobile notary to refer their requests to.
Reply by Marian_in_CA on 6/11/09 2:57am
It's probably a GOOD thing, anyway...
I mean, really... more often than not when I was in a Kinkos I'd be totally shocked at the utter carelessness and total ignorance of the notaries there. This lawsuit was bound to happen.
All the better for us.
However, I did call a couple of random 24 hr FedEx stores in L.A. and none of them indicated that they were no longer offering notary services.
Reply by Marian_in_CA on 6/11/09 3:00am
It looks like FedEx has updated their notary services page... looks like they've pulled out of the notary biz in half the states in the country!
"Notary Services not available in the following states: AL, AZ, DC, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MN, MO, NJ, NY, OH, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY."
Reply by Marian_in_CA on 6/11/09 3:59am
...and one more thing...
The case that you guys are thinking about is the one that spurred the new laws in Illinois.
It's known as Vancura v. Katris.
I hate to link to the NNA... but they do offer a pretty decent overview of what happened:
Here's a more detailed account:
But, why would this make Kinkos stop offering notary service in so many states? I'm not sure, except perhaps having something to do with the notary laws specific to those states regarding education and qualification of notaries? I can only guess at that, though.
Reply by JanetK_CA on 6/11/09 4:14am
I don't know about FedEx...
... but I'd love to see the local UPS store get out of the notary business. Nearly every time I go in there for a drop off, I see the notary journal - and stamp - sitting on a cabinet top. (I say "nearly" only because I once saw the owner actually using it to notarize someone's signature.) I've mentioned it to one of the employees a couple of times, and he just moved it off the top of the cabinet to the inside, but it didn't have a lock on it. [BTW, this employee is NOT the notary.]
That is soooo illegal in California, for those of you elsewhere. The journal and stamp are to be locked up and under the exclusive control of the notary at all times. It would have been real easy for me - or someone else - to walk off with either one.
Reply by Marian_in_CA on 6/11/09 12:16pm
Here's the REALLY sad part about CA...
State law actually REQUIRES that at least one person involved in the management of a professional photocopier business be a Notary Public. how asinine is that?
"22454. At least one person involved in the management of a
professional photocopier shall be required to hold a current
commission from the Secretary of State as a notary public in this
This actually got me thinking and wondering if we as notaries who do loan work would be considered "professional photocopiers":
"22450. A professional photocopier is any person who for
compensation obtains or reproduces documents authorized to be
produced under Part 2.6 (commencing with Section 56) of Division 1
of, or Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1798) of Title 1.8 of Part
4 of Division 3 of, the Civil Code, or Section 1158 of, or Article 4
(commencing with Section 1560) of Chapter 2 of Division 11 of, the
Evidence Code and who, while engaged in performing that activity, has
access to the information contained therein. A professional
photocopier shall be registered pursuant to this chapter by the
county clerk of the county in which he or she resides or has his or
her principal place of business, and in which he or she maintains a
If you look further in the code about this... they have to register with the County, post additional bonds, etc. I've been thinking about researching this a bit more. Technically speaking... I think we qualify.
BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE
Reply by HB/CA on 6/11/09 1:50pm
Re: I don't know about FedEx...
Having done a few notarizations for high profile people who wanted their business dealings kept as confidential as possible, I can understand why they would seek out one of us rather than just wandering into any Fedex or UPS store. I as a low profile person would want to know that my personal information in some notary's journal is closely guarded. Good thing our state does BGC. For whatever it's worth, our background check makes it almost impossible for career criminals to become legally commissioned notaries and have fun with anyone's personal information.
Reply by Dennis D Broadbooks on 6/11/09 5:26am
The Manager of the FedEx Kinko's...
...where I drop most of my packages told me several months ago he "conveniently" lost his notary stamp & when customers ask about Notary services he can now legitimately say it's not available. Much of it has to do with the amount of time they spend in this area with zero return on their investment of time. I believe FedEx used to believe this was a "loss leader" for them which brought in customers they might not otherwise ever see. They've now come to the realization it's just pure loss. As a result I've endeavored to make acquaintances with the employees of the 3 FedEx Kinko's in my area for referrals.
Reply by Michelle/AL on 6/11/09 8:33am
Dennis, I think you've hit the nail on the head.
Alabama's notary fee is so low they probably just barely reimbursed the location for journal costs and ink (the notary used the old fashioned ink stamps).
Reply by Roger_OH on 6/11/09 11:52am
Good points all - also, in my county they'd...
have to pay $70 for each employee's five-year commission, and with the employee turnover of their 10 stores around here, that was likely a pretty hefty ongoing expense.
Reply by BobbiCT on 6/11/09 7:09am
Simple Guess ...
In short: someone did a profit and loss analysis: profit from notary service while customers stand in line watching and waiting vs. profit from making copies, getting FedEx packages out, cashiering office supply sales.
1. The store managers probably figured out the lack of profit magin, or loss of profits, for notarization services; i.e., they were sold a bill of goods that as part of the "package" they could profit from offering notary public services.
2. They discovered they have Deeper Pockets than their notary public employees. Either by home office giving them the end result of the Kinkos suit and appeal or checking with their business insurance carrier - employee notary acts may not be covered under their insurance or the rate to get that coverage far exceeds the Profit Margin the store manager was expecting from each notarial act.
3. I doubt it has anything to do with training. If you only staff person is spending 15 minutes to notarize documents at X allowed by law, the customers standing in line may decide to go elsewhere for their "quick" color copy or suppply purchase. The FedEx I use is very convenient for dropping off packages (at the counter so that I am CERTAIN everythink is A-OK and recepient's account # is good at that point in time) and picking up an emergency office supply. I'd walk away if staff were busy with notarizations - particularly as most customers going to FedEx haven't a clue what's involved.
Reply by Jessc098 on 6/11/09 12:11pm
Re: Simple Guess ...
My local fedex and UPS stores usually offer "round the clock" services. I'm in there many times per week, and have often seen the notaries absent. I recieved some frantic calls during the holiday weekend when both companies had their notaries on vacation and nobody to sign docs!!
Around here, Wells Fargo offers "close at home" which is a dreadful product in my opinion. they send your loan docs by Fedex to your house and then you have to run-round and find a notary to do it. Most people end up going to the Fedex Store, and these folks, while Notaries, arne't signing agents and don't usually know what to do with the loan docs (at least around here).
I'll bet that sort of thing is putting just too much liability on these stores.
Reply by MikeC/NY on 6/11/09 12:44pm
They don't have to know what to do with the docs
They're not facilitating the signing, they're just notarizing signatures on some documents. There's no liability involved other than what there would be for general notary work.
I've had calls from borrowers who were sent the loan documents and told "find a notary" - I charge a travel fee and the $2/signature that NY allows, and I don't even bother looking at the rest of the loan docs because I'm not there for a signing.
I agree that it's a bad product - the borrowers should have someone walk them through the process. If the borrowers are comfortable with doing it that way, however, more power to them...
Reply by BobbiCT on 6/11/09 2:06pm
Not just money ...
Liability isn't just money - it's your time and loss of income. From a litigation perspective, "the notary" will still be pulled into a suit as a "party" to "what happened." It may only be for depositions, verification of "proper" procedure to invalidate the document, etc.; however, it's still time and money lost because you're not working during these meetings.
As you and everyone here knows, it's the dollar amount named in the document and costs to all parties harmed that can come back to nail the sloppy notary. Notarizing a simple form with no financial effect, little financial liability. Make a careless mistake while notarizing a $500k deed and related documents, a lot more harm --- improper notarization because the clerk's in a hurry, phone rings, customer has question, and "missed" something = lender refuses to fund loan = increased costs to "all parties" because of the "notary's fault." Anyone hear of a lender saying, "I'm sorry. It's our mistake your loan didn't fund. We should not have suggested you 'find a notary'. We should have recommended that you use a specific notary or attorney."
What most of us don't see - the E&O settlements outside the Court by the company insuring the notary just to make the case go away. Cheaper and faster for insurance carrier to settle than fight.
My favorite case is still an old one. Lawsuit and appeal end result: Improper notarization invalidated purchase & sale contract - lawsuit brought by potential home purchasers against sellers because seller's refused to sell (got a better offer after the contract was signed and notarized). Purchasers turned around and sued notary for costs, legal fees, etc. after they lost suit to get home because it wasn't a seller breach of contract, Court ruled a "bad" notarization invalidated the contract, therefore, purchasers didn't have a "valid, enforceable" contract. Precedents in some states where a "bank" notary performed an improper notarization and the bank was found partially liable because the notary "was working in the bank at the time," not because the bank had anything to do with the document. Notary employee simply notarizing "as a courtesy" in the wrong place at the wrong time (in the bank during regular business hours) for the bank with the deeper pockets. This is a good thing for the independent mobile notary, more general notarization business as the banks, drug stores, copy shops move away from having their multi-tasking staff perform notarizations as part of their book of business. Independent notaries can concentrate on the notarization at hand without interruption.
Employee notaries who are covered by their employer's insurance carrier for "on the job" notarizations have no risk. Good reason to work at a law firm
Reply by parkerc/ME on 6/11/09 1:25pm
Haven't checked lately, but a few months ago I called just for the heck of it to ask what Kinko's/FedEx charged for notary services. They said $10 "per stamp". My state doesn't specify a fee limit - just "reasonable". I see from Marian's post that ME FedEx is not listed as no longer providing notary services.
Reply by Kay/IL on 6/11/09 3:25pm
Here's the Real Scoop
The real reason Kinko's has stopped doing notarizations is because they were sued when one of thier notaries notarized a forged signature. This happened in Illinois. Further, this is also the reason they are now requiring fingerprinting for warranty deeds involving residential transaction in Cook County, Illinois.
Google Vancura v. Katris (I'm at work right now so I cannot post a link. Will try to later).
This is why it's important that lenders use qualified notaries when doing complex transactions such as purchase transactions.