Facts: A buyer entered into escrow for the purchase of a home. The escrow company contracted with a notary to perform services for the buyer’s escrow. The notary was limited by statute to charging $10 per signature. The notary notarized two signatures and performed additional services for the buyer, such as traveling to the buyer’s residence outside of normal business hours and explaining documents. The notary charged over $20 for their services.
Claim: The buyer sought money damages, claiming the escrow company engaged in unfair business practices since the notary charged more than the lawful $10 per signature.
Counterclaim: The escrow company claimed it did not engage in unfair business practices since the amount charged included charges for services beyond the notarized signatures, such as travel outside of normal business hours and explanations of loan documents.
Holding: A California court of appeals held the escrow company did not engage in unfair business practices since the notary may charge fees for services beyond the notarizing of signatures when additional services are performed. [Hutton v. Fidelity National Title Company (2013) ___ CA4th___]