Another article is just plain wrong Electronic Signatures are valid in the majority of states.Posted: November 13, 2014
Giving out wrong information is common on the Internet. Be Aware. It is worse when the person handing out the free info has credentials to back up his statement. However wrong is still wrong.
Saddler Sports wrote Electronic Signatures on Waiver Release Forms and then said that they were not viable.
Let’s start at the beginning. Releases are contracts. Contracts to be valid require a meeting of the minds and consideration. That means the people who are parties to a contract have to understand what they are doing (You sign it, you understand and agree to it.). There has to be something of value changing hands, this is called consideration. Nowhere in any state does the definition of a contract require the word paper.
The law is filled with cases were there were lawsuits over oral (non-written) contracts. The problem with oral contract is proving the terms. Who agreed to what?
So there is really nothing in the law since the 1700’s that would not allow an electronic contract. However, to help move contracts and the law forward (and hopefully save some trees) Congress passed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, Pub.L. 106–229, 114 Stat. 464. Most states soon followed with their own acts. Colorado passed its electronic signature act in 2002.
(If the electronic laws were not working, valid and enforceable, how would a bank not issue checks anymore? How could you make a deposit with a picture on your phone?)
The laws say electronic signatures are valid. Most states have a few exceptions to the law. You cannot electronically.
· cancel or terminate utility services, including water, heat, and power;
· default, acceleration, repossession, foreclosure, or eviction, or the right to cure, under a credit agreement secured by, or a rental agreement for, a primary residence of an individual;
· cancel or terminate health insurance or benefits or life insurance benefits, excluding annuities; or
· recall of a product, or material failure of a product, that risks endangering health or safety; or
· electronically use any document required to accompany any transportation or handling of hazardous materials, pesticides, or other toxic or dangerous materials
Some states have more exceptions like South Carolina. See (South Carolina Uniform Electronic Transactions Act) Other than the exceptions set forth under state laws, electronic signatures are valid. If the author of the act had looked, ski resorts have been using electronic releases for season passes for five years.
Worse the article in replying to the question voids the release. The article suggests signing the contract online then signing a contract again in paper. A contract to be valid requires consideration. What is the consideration for the new, written contract? Contracts also need to cancel the prior contract, which again requires new consideration. The activity has already been paid for so the consideration for that contract is done.
I’ve been able to electronically notarize documents for more than five (5) years. In South Carolina, you can record deeds and death certificates electronically.
I don’t know what to tell you. Everyone makes mistakes. Even me. However, when I make a mistake, I try to correct it, ASAP. We’ll see if that happens.
More importantly, when providing advice online that may make a difference between a business winning or losing a lawsuit, you better damn well be write when you post it.
Maybe someone has an investment in a lumber mill or paper manufacturer?
For more information see:
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