A Job Declined
Are you available for a “simple” job late tonight? Up goes my alert status. The caller used two vague take advantage of the notary words. When they say the job is simple it generally has more strings attached to it than a cat with a ball of yarn. Also, late tonight can have many definitions. So I reply with my standard request to know the What, When and Where and if there are any other aspects that I should know about. I’m glad I asked.
The affiant is flying in to Newark airport, not too far from Manhattan. The flight is due to arrive at 2AM; stretching the late tonight a bit. Location is not too far at the southern tip of Manhattan. The document is a simple one page affidavit. Once signed, and when I return home, I am to scan and email. The original goes via FedEx to my client.
OK so far, I quote double my routine fee (for 2AM) and mention the need for exact shipping address with company name, zip code and phone number at destination. Great is the response, we will send you the document in a few minutes. Just a moment please, there is one more aspect to making this work for both of us. My fee, plus the estimated FedEx fee is payable at this time. Do you mean that you want to be paid in advance? Yes, there are many things that can go wrong with this type of assignment.
The plane can be delayed, as is often the case in Newark airport. The affiant may have ID that does not match the document. The affiant may choose to not sign the document. Also, you are asking me to send you an invoice for my fee plus the FedEx charges. Thus, you want me to incur all expenses and wait for your law firm to add me as a vendor and process payment. I do not work that way and neither does anybody else. I can’t even order a T shirt and have Sears send it to me with an invoice for me to pay after receiving it.
Don’t you lawyers insist upon a “retainer” prior to doing anything for your clients? Well, it’s the same for me. The reason that I require payment in advance is to put all “risk” on your side. If any of the problems I mentioned above occur and I am unable to complete the project I truly doubt that you would send me a check. I guarantee to do my part, but my actions rely upon the assurances that you have given to me regarding the assignment.
It is the policy of our firm to process an invoice only after the work has been completed and received, inspected and approved. Well it’s my policy to receive, especially for this early AM, no affiant contact job, my full fee in advance; including out of pocket FedEx charges. Thus, while I certainly do respect your business policies; they conflict with mine. I must decline to accept your assignment. There are many notaries in Manhattan and 123notary, where you found me, lists quite a few more. A few phone calls might find someone who will accept your terms.
If it is close by, during routine hours, and the caller sounds “right” – I go for cash. It’s nice to avoid the PayPal deductions. But when there are “unusual” aspects, I require payment up front. To protect my calendar my phrase is that I do not put the task on my calendar until payment is received; the time slot will be held for 15 minutes awaiting payment. When complex or unusual jobs fail, due to circumstances beyond my control – they never want to send a check for “efforts”.