FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q. ARE ONLINE BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS EXECUTED BY ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES LEGALLY BINDING
A. YES “As eCommerce has exploded in the past decade; courts have wrestled with the challenge of applying traditional contract law, partially guided by the statute of frauds, to electronic transactions. The statue of frauds requires certain transactions to be in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Courts faced with the question of whether electronic transactions satisfy this “writing requirement,” have answered “yes.”
An electronic signature can constitute a binding signature so long as the signature can be traced to a particular individual who took an affirmative act such as entering a password or clicking on an "I agree" button.
Congress passed E-Sign legislation in June 2000. The heart of E-Sign’s language provides that electronic signatures, contracts or records relating to transactions in, or affecting, interstate commerce "may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because [they are] in electronic form. E-Sign also states that, "a contract relating to such transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because an electronic signature or electronic record was used in its formation.” 1
Q. What if my client shows up at the home inspection after agreeing to the online agreement? Should I have him sign a paper agreement?
A. Yes. Having the client agree to the terms in advance alleviates the argument that the written Agreement was signed under duress.
Q. How does inspectionagreement.com save the electronic record of the clients clicking on “I agree”
A. inspectionagreement.com records the clients Unique IP address, the date and time of the agreement, and the clients name, email address and the Subject Property Address
Q. How do I know when my client has “agreed”
A. An email is generated immediately and sent to you. All the records of the agreement are in the email
Q. Is there a record of “signed Agreements?”
A. Yes, as an inspectionagreement.com member you have access to your own file of Inspection Agreements which can be searched by date.
Q. Can I upload agreements for ancillary tests our company performs?
A. Yes, inspectionagreement.com is ideal for agreements when the clients do not generally attend. I.e. Indoor Air Quality Tests, Radon Tests, Septic tests etc.
Q. Our inspection agreement includes the price of the inspection. Is there anyway to include the price on our online agreement?
A. No, not unless you have the same fee for each inspection. However, you can post your fee arrangement on your website and link to that page or you can send an email explaining your fees and how your inspectionagreement.com agreement works. See a sample letter at http://www.inspectionagreement.com/letter Feel free to modify and use this letter.
Q. Is there a way to use this letter without having to re-type it or copy and paste it?
A. Yes, you can save the letter as a signature in Outlook or Outlook Express. See http://www.inspectionagreement.com/tips for more information.
Q. Do I need to modify my agreement so that I can use inspectionagreement.com?
A. You will probably need to make some small changes to your agreement. There is no provision for the property address in the body of the agreement. There are no places to initial. There is no provision for the inspector’s signature. See sample for details. http://www.inspectionagreement.com/sample.asp
Q. Is this acceptable as a signed inspection agreement with my E & O provider?
A. Probably, However Call your E & O Provider to be sure. If your provider has any questions have them email us.
Q. What if a client takes me to court?
A. That is a Big advantage of inspectionagreement.com. Third party credibility. If you ever need a copy of the agreement that your client agreed to, we will provide a Notarized Affidavit along with archived agreement and Client info.
1. Duke Law and Technology review REV005 2/28/2001