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NSW Australian Consumer Law - Manage Agreements and Contracts Online?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by johna, 13 May 2016.

  1. johna

    johna Member

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    I am a web developer and would like to know more about how I can manage electronic signatures online. As an example, I have a client who operates a self-storage business and is presently having customers sign various paper based forms when they sign up for storage.

    I am exploring whether it is possible to manage the accepting of terms and conditions, agreement to the storage contract, and agreement to direct debit payments all online. From some research, I understand I need to somehow identify the customer and provide evidence that they have “signed” and agreed to everything.

    What steps should I take to identify a customer under Australian Consumer Law? Is providing a link to view and “sign” the forms in an email enough? Is there anything else I should do, such as sending an access code by SMS to a nominated telephone number?

    How can I prove that the customer viewed the forms and that I have not altered the forms after they “signed’ them? Is providing them with a copy enough? Should the copy be in the initial email or downloadable for the page they “sign”?

    What would I ask the customer to do to “sign” the form? Enter their name, date, tick a box acknowledging and accepting the contract, etc?

    What evidence do I need to keep? Date and time of email being sent and any other communications, date and time and IP address when form is accessed and “signed”.

    Any help greatly appreciated...

    Thank you.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    SMS authentication is a good idea. Not needed legally but certainly strengthens the ID check. Acceptance of terms online is sufficient to create a contract. Issue of identification is important and recording the IP address the acceptance comes from helps though as you would know is not infallible.

    There will always be an element of online fraud present so it is just managing the level of fraud that is important.

    re: Direct debit. Not sure. Ask some banks what they need before they'll consider a transaction to be valid. Or do you mean accepting CC payments? I'd also look at adding Paypal as a payment method.
     

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