File a Complaint
Formal complaints may be filed against a Pennsylvania notary public by notifying the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Pursuant to the Notary Public Law (57 Pa C.S. §168), the Secretary of the Commonwealth may, for good cause, reject any application, revoke or suspend the commission of any notary public or order a notary public to attend education courses. The Secretary may also impose a civil penalty of not more than $500 for each act or omission which constitutes a violation of the Notary Public Law. Any disciplinary action shall be taken subject to the right of notice, hearing and adjudication, and the right of appeal therefrom, in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Agency Law.
Members of the public, legal community and other government agencies may file a formal complaint against a Pennsylvania notary public by completing a Statement of Complaint form or by submitting a complaint in writing.
Once complaints have been received, a letter will be mailed to the complainant acknowledging receipt of the complaint.
After an investigation by the Department of State, if it is determined that there has been a violation of the Notary Public Law, then the Secretary of the Commonwealth will take the necessary steps to discipline the notary public. Notaries public are entitled to due process in the resolution of all complaints filed against them. All hearings regarding notary public complaints are held in Harrisburg. Adverse decisions may be appealed to the Commonwealth Court.
Sanctions are issued by order of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and may range from issuance of a letter of warning and mandatory attendance of a notary public education course to suspension or revocation of a notary public’s commission.
After the complaint process has been completed by the Department of State, a closing letter will be mailed to the complainant notifying them of the final outcome of the complaint.
To receive a Statement of Complaint Form, please contact the Professional Compliance Office at 1-800-822-2113 or (717) 783-4849 (if calling within the local Harrisburg calling area or if calling from outside of Pennsylvania). You may also use the links at the bottom of the page for complaint forms.
Most Common Reasons for Discipline
- Notary public has not required a document signer to personally appear before the notary.
- Notary public has not kept a register of all notarial acts or the notary public has not kept an accurate or complete register of these transactions.
- Notary public has failed to properly process motor vehicle paperwork with the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Most Common Reasons for Public Complaints
- The notary public has failed to require proper identification.
- The notary public has notarized a forged signature.
- The notary public has failed to process motor vehicle paperwork with the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Motor Vehicles in a timely manner.