Hey, i've gone through so much research on how to legally bind contracts over the internet. Some suggestions i've come across included using email to confirm the start of a project and using electronical signatures as another option. And another suggestion was to mail contracts to companies to get the actual colored and in-print signature. But I'm not catching onto these suggestions very well — specifically about how this takes place from verbally agreeing to finalizing the agreement in print via the internet. Can anyone elaborate on how they're making legally binding agreements over the internet? I would appreciate your answer please. Thanks.
Using sites that you can post the agreement and get it signed electronically is what you are looking for
you can find your ans in this site http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/contracts... I hope that it will help you
A contract made "over the internet" is no more or less binding than one made in any other way. You don't need a physical signature, or an electronic signature, or anything else like that. If you simply email your contract terms to your client, and the client emails back to accept, you have a binding contract. The same thing applies if you agree the terms in a phone call, or over a drink in the pub (but a verbal contract is, of course, much harder to enforce than a written one).
What's more important is to make sure that the contract sets out the terms clearly, and that both parties fully understand it before work starts. The secret is good communication between the contractor and the client. Focus on that, and you should be off to a good start.
I basically agree with Miki with slight clarification. The main element of a binding contract is offer and acceptance (plus a little thing known as consideration).
But you also need to be able to carry the burden of proof, both as to the existence of the offer and acceptance and as to the actual terms of the contract.
As he noted, enforcing an oral agreement can be difficult both in proving that there was an offer and acceptance and in proving what were the contract's substantive terms.
However, the same can be said, to a somewhat lesser extent, of some of the other forms you mentioned. An exchange of email can certainly create a contract but the exchange may also contain extraneous matters and depending upon the wording of the response, the acceptance may be ambiguous.
For that reason, I still prefer a physically signed contract that contains all of the terms and makes it clear that any discussions or "promises" not contained in the written document are NOT part of the contract. I don't require a mailed copy, however. A scanned PDF of the signed copy is enough for me. Yes, there still might be some argument of whether the signature was indeed the signature of the party I am trying to be bound, or perhaps even a real signature that was copied and inserted into the document. I think that would be very rare - it has never happened to me. A party could contest even a mailed original unless it was signed in front of a notary. You can only do so much.
Coming from someone that has had many contracts over the internet, get them to fax you a copy and mail originals. But enforcing it is very different. Almost always it is not worth the time and money to enforce something legally. So protect yourself in whatever ways you can. Like a money back guarantee.... its only as good as the person offering the guarantee
Some good points here, and the main takeaways are:
1) a contract is a contract, so as far is legality is concerned it doesn't matter if it's oral, written, or electronically signed
2) enforcing a contract is a different story. an oral contract has little evidence and is hard to enforce. a written contract is better, and emails or other correspondence can be used if they are clear enough. e-signatures don't really add much value to agreement unless you want to prove that the other person actually signed the document. in most cases, it's not the signing of the agreement that is actually in question, though, and a signed/fax/scanned doc is essentially the same. e-signature is very convenient though.
3) it's true, going to court or arbitration is rarely worth it for small sums (i.e. under 100k) and so many disagreements are not simple enough to bother going through it.
It's critical to have an agreement, but in my experience the real benefit of the agreement is simple to ensure that both parties are clear on the terms of the deal at the start.
You should make a contract proposal to them specifying your terms and what you are going to perform, your budget that company is going to pay and all other terms that you think can raise issue in future if are not stated clearly, then ask the other end company or user to send you the contact back by signing digitally.
Naturally a contract "signed" in any way or form is an ultimate proof, but looking at IT related lawsuits a two-way email correspondence where both parties clearly state that they agree to start / end a project or anything similar has been sufficient to settle cases.
As an example, regardless of contract if you send an email in April telling the company to start a project as discussed, and they reply that they will start. These emails can be adequate proof for a judge to rule that the project should have started then and there, if the company claims that the contract didn't state start time.
In short, while a signed elaborate contract is by far the safest option, clear email communication has been used to settle lawsuits.
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