Refusal To Provide Notary Service

Let me first come right to the point and say that, a notary should not refuse or decline Notary Services to someone using the excuse that they “only do mortgage work.”

I’m referring to people who obtained their notary commission so that they could work as Notary Signing Agents. It’s as if they are saying, notarizing for the general public is not worth their while. It’s not as profitable. Why should they do something for which they will only receive a few dollars per signature plus a travel fee?

In my opinion, this is discrimination. It’s the same as saying that they will accept an assignment from a title company, but they won’t serve the general public.

The Secretary of State does not commission notaries so that they can only work for title companies, or so that they can “only do mortgage work”. Notaries public are commissioned to serve the public. According to the Colorado Notary Law Primer:

“Discrimination against anyone who presents a lawful request for notarization is not a suitable policy for a public official commissioned to serve all of the public equally. Also, such discrimination can provide the basis for lawsuits and complaints.”

The situation that I am referring to is a notarization that I did for a woman on Sunday evening in Manitou Springs, CO. She called me in the afternoon, but had to wait for her mother to drive down from Denver. The document was a ‘Durable Authorization for Personal Representation’. It was a perfectly legal request.

She called me first, but when I told her what I charge for travel, she said she would make a few more calls. She eventually called me back. After I had completed the notarization she said that all of the other notaries she called declined because they “only do mortgage work”. This is the second time that someone has told me that they were declined notary service because the notary claimed they only did mortgage work.

Notaries do not have to provide notary service 7 days a week. And they do not have to make themselves available 24 hours a day. It would have been different if the notaries told the person that they do not provide notary service on Sunday, or that they do not provide notary service after a certain time of day. But for one to say that they only do mortgage work is not an acceptable reason for declining notary service.

This is not the same as a doctor declining to perform open-heart surgery, if the doctor is not trained to do so. If a person makes a legal request for notarization, then the notary should not refuse. The following is taken from the National Notary Association’s ’10 Guiding Principles’: