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Thread: Electronic Signatures On Contracts

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    Default Electronic Signatures On Contracts

    OK First off I have a gripe I need to take up with the board. I will do it in a poll but I just want to say Jim from Buffalo started this topic in the Blog Section and I think it is great! What I am worried about is good topics getting lost in the new "Blogs" Section. I see it already in another board with the same board software, and I do not really want to check two areas on this board everyday for good stuff. I do not know if getting rid of the Blog feature is even possible but I for one would vote to banish it. Look for another thread on that subject. But until then if you do write a Blog and have a topic of interest to everyone please copy it into the message board, even if it's kinda useless post it in the Limo Lounge anything goes there! LOL

    Anyway Jim brought up the idea of getting electronic signatures on documents and contracts. I just completed a move and the moving company sent over my $400.00 contract electronically via email and I reviewed it and signed it and it was as slick as a slug!! Reading a little on electronic signatures seems there was a law passed in 2000 that now treats them the same as written signatures so I am unaware of any legal pitfalls.

    Below are a few vendors that offer the service and they really have a wide range in terms of price, ease of use, platforms (some are web based others download a program). Most all have a tracking feature where you can view the status on all sent contracts and if the person has opened them signed them or rejected them. Some have a mobile feature for you road warriors.
     
    www.gopaperless.com - Jim Was looking onto, anything to report? Found they do also have a free account with the ability to send out 5 per month. You can regester for a trial here: http://www.gopaperless.com/EsignOnline-Signup-Free.aspx
    Can only send standard document formats, nothing obscure.

    www.sertifi.com - This one was able to handle a MHT web Archive file and an HTML file 2 formats Limoanywhere saves it's printed documents in. So any confirmation or trip sheet comes out looking great. If you can fit your contract at the bottom of limoanywheres Customer Trip sheets (and even if you can't the programs converts it to multiple pages if needed) this would be a slick option for getting a contract signed. You could also bundle in the same email a standard Credit Card authorization charge contract as well and have them sign and return that. You can try for free just upload a contract or confirmation and sent to yourself. Good Stuff!

    www.echosign.com - Only could handle standard Document files - Word, Excel;, PDF, (did handle a .RTF file format that LMS Gold Outputs) the basics has a free option of 5 documents a month. Did have a nice feature where you could upload a standard contract and have an HTML link to copy and paste or embedded HTML Widget (Java Script) into your site for people to click on and sign. And this one you could even dray out your signature with your mouse. Also has a fax back feature where your customer can print out document, sign, then fax back to the service then it's comes up as signed in your document tracker. Even has frequently used IRS documents ready to send out. Send yourself a W9 Form to see the capabilities of this technology. May have to sign up for an account to try, it's free to try. Or use my referral code here: http://www.echosign.com/ref/X6X2G4S272B7E

    www.elock.com - kinda confused me Think this is more for developers to add the Features in to websites. Has a web option but was not able to figure out. Some more digging found they offer a 10 day trial on a few of thier products. Go to the download section here to get "Pro Signer": http://www.elock.com/download.html (Tried it, way to advanced and not user friendly, creates like 5 seperate programs on your start menu, not for the faint of heart)

    www.docusign.com - Looks pretty slick was not able to play with it as only had video demos. Contact them for full feature demo. Can send yourself a test here: http://www.docusign.com/demo

    Is anyone already using something like this on a daily basis? Any Downside?
    Last edited by Steve W.; October 5th, 2012 at 11:17 AM.
    Steve Walker ppvsteve@gmail.com

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    Senior Member Wade Randolph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W. View Post
    OK First off I have a gripe I need to take up with the board. I will do it in a poll but I just want to say Jim from Buffalo started this topic in the Blog Section and I think it is great! What I am worried about is good topics getting lost in the new "Blogs" Section. I see it already in another board with the same board software, and I do not really want to check two areas on this board everyday for good stuff. I do not know if getting rid of the Blog feature is even possible but I for one would vote to banish it. Look for another thread on that subject. But until then if you do write a Blog and have a topic of interest to everyone please copy it into the message board, even if it's kinda useless post it in the Limo Lounge anything goes there! LOL

    Anyway Jim brought up the idea of getting electronic signatures on documents and contracts. I just completed a move and the moving company sent over my $400.00 contract electronically via email and I reviewed it and signed it and it was as slick as a slug!! Reading a little on electronic signatures seems there was a law passed in 2000 that now treats them the same as written signatures so I am unaware of any legal pitfalls.

    Below are a few vendors that offer the service and they really have a wide range in terms of price, ease of use, platforms (some are web based others download a program). Most all have a tracking feature where you can view the status on all sent contracts and if the person has opened them signed them or rejected them. Some have a mobile feature for you road warriors.
     
    www.gopaperless.com - Jim Was looking onto, anything to report?

    www.sertifi.com - This one was able to handle a MHT web Archive file and an HTML file 2 formats Limoanywhere saves it's printed documents in. So any confirmation or trip sheet comes out looking great. If you can fit your contract at the bottom of limoanywheres Customer Trip sheets (and even if you can't the programs converts it to multiple pages if needed) this would be a slick option for getting a contract signed. You could also bundle in the same email a standard Credit Card authorization charge contract as well and have them sign and return that. You can try for free just upload a contract or confirmation and sent to yourself. Good Stuff!

    www.echosign.com - Only could handle standard Document files - Word, Excel;, PDF, (did handle a .RTF file format that LMS Gold Outputs) the basics has a free option of 5 documents a month. Did have a nice feature where you could upload a standard contract and have an HTML link to copy and paste or embedded HTML Widget (Java Script) into your site for people to click on and sign. And this one you could even dray out your signature with your mouse. Also has a fax back feature where your customer can print out document, sign, then fax back to the service then it's comes up as signed in your document tracker. Even has frequently used IRS documents ready to send out. Send yourself a W9 Form to see the capabilities of this technology. May have to sign up for an account to try, it's free to try.

    www.elock.com - kinda confused me Think this is more for developers to add the Features in to websites. Has a web option but was not able to figure out.

    www.docusign.com - Looks pretty slick was not able to play with it as only had video demos. Contact them for full feature demo.

    Is anyone already using something like this on a daily basis? Any Downside?
    Steve this sounds good legally but I don't think the credit card merchant companies have to honor it. If there are credit card disputes I think we will still be asked for an imprint and signature hard copy. This may change in the future.

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    Wouldn't it be nice that with all these bills that are before Congress with all the pork rolled into them that they might have a part that would help us with the credit card signatures? I mean, the CC companies are making money hand over fist. I would think that they might be able to take a small hit here and there in order for us to be more "green" and reduce our paper waste.
    Tim Wiegman, Jr.
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    Wade that's all fine and well if the credit card would not take this but it is legally binding in court. So ultimately if you push that far you would win. To me this is the perfect solution for airport service companies that do alot of internet reservations. Retail work has a little more time but I am looking forward to implementing this feature. I don't see CC companies not backing us on an electronic signature especially if used with all federal standards, etc. I have been busy but I have to schedule a conference call/online tour with Gopaperless next week. As soon as I do i wll report back.

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    Senior Member Wade Randolph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim30 View Post
    Wade that's all fine and well if the credit card would not take this but it is legally binding in court. So ultimately if you push that far you would win. To me this is the perfect solution for airport service companies that do alot of internet reservations. Retail work has a little more time but I am looking forward to implementing this feature. I don't see CC companies not backing us on an electronic signature especially if used with all federal standards, etc. I have been busy but I have to schedule a conference call/online tour with Gopaperless next week. As soon as I do i wll report back.
    Jim sounds good and let us know what they say.

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    the thing about them signing it online is the fact that they know they signed something and cant call and say "well i didnt sign anything so you cant keep my deposit". can i see an example of this digital signed contract? i would love to use this.

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    We make them reply back to the email that contained the contract and confirmation. Would this be a better way (I realize the bigger companies might have a hard time keeping track of who replied back and who didn't.
    Rich Rottier
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar Mill Limousine View Post
    We make them reply back to the email that contained the contract and confirmation. Would this be a better way (I realize the bigger companies might have a hard time keeping track of who replied back and who didn't.
    I should explain...we do not have reservation software...just a contact form on the site that states multiple times that it is only a reservation request, we then email them back a contract and confirmation and ask them to reply back before it is confirmed (considered signed).
    Rich Rottier
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    we then email them back a contract and confirmation and ask them to reply back before it is confirmed (considered signed).
    Cedar from the little reading I did today that actually could be considered an electronic signature. There are certain guidlines that have been established so everyone plays on the same level.

    If you want to read some legal jargon you can fry your brain here: http://www.abanet.org/scitech/ec/isc/dsg-tutorial.html

    But the one thing that sort of stands out in your situation is summarized below:
    Signatures and the Law





    A signature is not part of the substance of a transaction, but rather of its representation or form. Signing writings serve the following general purposes:<3>
    • Evidence: A signature authenticates a writing by identifying the signer with the signed document. When the signer makes a mark in a distinctive manner, the writing becomes attributable to the signer.<4>
    • Ceremony: The act of signing a document calls to the signer's attention the legal significance of the signer's act, and thereby helps prevent "inconsiderate engagements.<5>
    • Approval: In certain contexts defined by law or custom, a signature expresses the signer's approval or authorization of the writing, or the signer's intention that it have legal effect.<6>
    • Efficiency and logistics: A signature on a written document often imparts a sense of clarity and finality to the transaction and may lessen the subsequent need to inquire beyond the face of a document.<7> Negotiable instruments, for example, rely upon formal requirements, including a signature, for their ability to change hands with ease, rapidity, and minimal interruption.<8>
    I think in the case of just having someone reply to an email you could get into an area of "inconsiderate engagements" if you ever have to try and defend your contract in a court. All they would have to say is, I pressed reply on accident and it sent. That is not a signature it's just a mistake !! hey can't hold me to $1200.00 just because I pressed the wrong button. But if you made them return your email and had them type a certain phrase in that email such as "I John Doe hereby abide to the terms of the contract in this email for my service on June 14, 2005 Reservation Number 12345" That would very much serve to show they knew they were entering into a binding contract. At least thats what I got out of that legal mumbo Jumbo. I think all these services do is really make it clear that you are electronically signing something and you have to go through very specific steps to do it, thus not entering into the agreement lightly. I tell ya when I got my $400.00 contract for moving you bet I read it over looking for the cancellation clause, there was no doubt they were going to hold me to whatever was written in that email (Becase of all the extra ordinary steps I had to go through to confirm the job and contract) . If they asked me just to reply to an email to make sure I got it I would have treated it like "Oh thats just a confirmation, I will see a real contract when they come to my house the day of the move"

    But I still do not know how anyone would get around the argument, well that is from my email but I did not type that, could have been anyone! I think maybe the only reply to that is people generally these days protect thier email from un authorized use just as they might a signature or even Creit card Number. There is a certain level care and controll prevalant in our society.

    Steve this sounds good legally but I don't think the credit card merchant companies have to honor it. If there are credit card disputes I think we will still be asked for an imprint and signature hard copy. This may change in the future.
    Yes Wade, I have no dreams it would do any good with the credit card companies. My Hope is it would serve operators better when they find themselves in front of Judge Judy. Hopefully the easier it is to enter into a contract the less excuses operators will have for not doing it. And the side benifit is customers will start to demand contracts electronically in the future (Well Joes limo sent me a contract via email why don't you guys??) making the entire limo experience better for all parties involved, no more surprises the next day.

    can i see an example of this digital signed contract? i would love to use this.
    Brandon go to www.sertifi.com and send any of your documents to yourself (your own email) for a sig. You will get the confirmations it's been opened and a confirmation it's been signed and attached will be the signed document.

    Then go set yourself up an account on http://www.echosign.com/ref/X6X2G4S272B7E (I put in a fake Number to avoid the telemarketing) and you can send yourself 5 free contracts. Play with it it's some cool stuff!
    Last edited by Steve W.; February 6th, 2010 at 06:59 AM.
    Steve Walker ppvsteve@gmail.com

  10. #10
    Senior Member Wade Randolph's Avatar
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    Steve I think the clients just knowing they signed a legally binding document might help to keep them from disputing the charges anyway. Good info.

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    On my website, I have my clients go to my policies page, scroll down, input their info and click "I agree". Then I send them confirmation with all the specifics of the job. If they want to say they put their info in and clicked agree by accident, this is their time to respond to the confirmation email and say so. But so far it's worked great. Only once have I had a problem and that was with Amex. But I took the client to small claims and took care of business.
    Tough times don't last. Tough people do.

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    That looks pretty slick Geoff! One concept that sort of stood out to me with all these services is that they freeze in time the terms of a contract. Wondering with your system once they agree to that page on your site do you send them a copy of what they agreed to along with their confirmation? What's to prevent someone from copying your terms page, editing out the part that is detrimental to them, printing that out, then telling the judge well this is what it said when I agreed to it the must have changed it after i signed it / agreed to it. Then be up to you to prove otherwise.

    With all of the services listed once they put the signature on there no parties can change to document. And of course each party is sent a copy of the signed document.

    Geoff you ever have people say "What's the internet" when you tell them to go and agree to your terms online? LOL With any of these systems we will still have to have a few paper copies around for the folks in the dark ages.
    Last edited by Steve W.; February 6th, 2010 at 10:11 PM.
    Steve Walker ppvsteve@gmail.com

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W. View Post
    That looks pretty slick Geoff! One concept that sort of stood out to me with all these services is that they freeze in time the terms of a contract. Wondering with your system once they agree to that page on your site do you send them a copy of what they agreed to along with their confirmation? What's to prevent someone from copying your terms page, editing out the part that is detrimental to them, printing that out, then telling the judge well this is what it said when I agreed to it the must have changed it after i signed it / agreed to it. Then be up to you to prove otherwise.

    With all of the services listed once they put the signature on there no parties can change to document. And of course each party is sent a copy of the signed document.

    Geoff you ever have people say "What's the internet" when you tell them to go and agree to your terms online? LOL With any of these systems we will still have to have a few paper copies around for the folks in the dark ages.
    Steve, yeah, I have some clients that tell me they have enough problems faxing, let alone trying to figure out the net and email(but only a few old timers).

    I never thought of someone trying to alter my policies and plead BS to a judge. But I think it would be a lot easier for me to do it to someone else(if I was a low life).
    Tough times don't last. Tough people do.

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    But I think it would be a lot easier for me to do it to someone else(if I was a low life).
    You are exactly right Geoff where I have seen it is business owners coming to court with a contract with no signature saying "This is what they agreed to" no date no nothing, they are promptly tossed. But figure if one party of the contract can try it I bet the other soon will try as well.
    Steve Walker ppvsteve@gmail.com

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    I actually did show up in court with a contract that wasn't signed by the client, and it did work. I don't know if the judge didn't notice it wasn't signed, or just didn't care because the defendant was playing games with the court. It was my crazy super bowl fiasco in AZ. The client said there was no contract and that I didn't deserve to be paid for 5 days of hell($1500 just in gas). I pulled out the unsigned contract, the clients 5 day itinerary in AZ, and about 6 pages of emails explaining all the details of the booking. The judge told him that including the oral contract, that made 3 contracts. The judge was pretty one sided after that lie. The big problem was no signed Amex imprint. But i got paid eventually. Dishonorable people suck!
    Tough times don't last. Tough people do.

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