Modern businesses are flooded with electronic messages, notices and communications that are changing the law of contract formation and enforcement from requiring original signed documents to accepting electronic evidence of contracts and terms. Your business’s failure to adapt to and address these changes could result in losses.
A string of e-mails, coupled with electronically posted forms, terms, conditions and specifications, can create a contract even though many of the critical terms are missing from the e-mail text. Moreover, text messages, postings on social media sites and electronic advertisements can also create contracts or binding offers that third parties can accept and enforce against your business. The acceptance of electronic signatures and paperless transactions can lead to mischief if not properly controlled and documented. Electronic media will continue to constitute a greater portion of our commercial transactions, and proper use can prevent losses and enhance your business.
Some of the ways to protect your business while using electronic media include:
- regulating and controlling the use of electronic signatures;
- recording and documenting transactions in a protected medium;
- documenting websites and social media pages that contain offers, contracts and disclaimers;
- monitoring and tracking changes in electronic transaction terms;
- protecting and securing sensitive customer and business information; and
- using qualified and reputable vendors.
While having paper evidence of a transaction is not always necessary, having documented and protected electronic evidence is necessary when disputes arise. If litigation is imminent, many courts require collection, protection and retention of electronic information, and impose sanctions if you fail to do so.
At Brooks, Tarulis & Tibble, LLC we have experience in advising clients on the use of electronic media in conducting their business and instituting policies, procedures and requirements to minimize the risk of loss. If we can assist you in this matter, please contact me.
Douglas C Tibble