The Point-of-Rental Essentials product offers an e-signature solution for obtaining the signature of the responsible party on a rental contract. This document will explain a little bit about e-signatures in general and will describe the measures taken in the product to produce valid e-signatures.
This document is not intended as legal advice, nor does Point-of-Rental have any opinion about whether e-signatures are right for your business. If you have questions or concerns you should certainly seek out your own legal expert for an opinion.
In the United States electronic signatures are generally governed by the ESIGN act (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act) and the UETA (Uniform Electronic Transactions Act) as well as any other applicable state or local laws (which generally mirror these two acts). Some of the relevant sections provide that:
1. “a contract relating to such transaction [e.g. electronic signature transaction] may not be denied legal effect,validity, or enforceability solely because an electronic signature or electronic record was used in its formation” (ESIGN Sec 106)
2. if a law requires that a business retain a record of a transaction, the business satisfies the requirement by retaining an electronic record, as long as the record "accurately reflects" the substance of the contract and is "accessible" to people who are entitled to access it "in a form that is capable of being accurately reproduced for later reference, whether by transmission, printing or otherwise." (ESIGN Sec 101(d))
3. An electronic signature is "an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record." (ESIGN Sec 106).
4. A consumer has the right to choose not to use an electronic signature (the law does not “require any person to agree to use or accept electronic records or electronic signatures, other than a governmental agency”) (ESIGN Sec 101)
5. A consumer has the right to refuse consent to be provided with documents via electronic means and to withdraw consent later if originally given. This does not mean that documents may not be stored
electronically, just that they must be provided to the consumer in non-electronic format. This does not
prevent a business from charging a reasonable amount for producing non-electronic records or from refusing to do business with the consumer who has refused or withdrawn consent. Withdrawal of consent to provide documents via electronic means does not invalidate the original e-signature if made. A consumer must be made aware of these rights before they give consent. (ESIGN 101(c))
You can find the full text of the ESIGN act at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-106publ229/pdf/PLAW-106publ229.pdf