With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, more and more businesses are adopting digital solutions to keep things moving. One such solution is the use of eSignatures. eSignature is a legal and binding way to sign documents electronically, and they can be used for everything from contracts to NDAs to invoices.
Given their ubiquity, you would think that people would be using eSignatures correctly by now. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In this blog post, we’ll run through the top 5 mistakes people make when using eSignatures so that you can avoid them in your own business.
#1 Not Knowing the Law
One of the most common mistakes people make when using eSignatures is not knowing the law. Just because you’re using an electronic signature doesn’t mean that you can ignore state and federal laws regarding signatures—you still need to follow those same laws when using eSignatures as you would with traditional paper signatures. Consult a lawyer if you’re unsure about how the law applies to your specific use case.
#2 Not Checking for Accuracy
Another mistake people make when using eSignatures is not checking for accuracy. Just like with traditional paper contracts, it’s important to make sure that all the information in an electronically-signed document is correct before moving forward. This means checking things like names, dates, addresses, and dollar amounts to ensure that everything lines up. If there are any errors in an electronically-signed document, it could render the whole thing invalid—so it’s definitely not worth taking any chances.
#3 Failing to Get Written Consent
Another common mistake is failing to get written consent before using someone’s electronic signature. Just because someone agrees verbally to sign a document electronically doesn’t mean that they’ve given their consent in writing. So, before you go ahead and start collecting electronic signatures left and right, make sure you have explicit written consent from each person whose signature you’ll be collecting. This is generally as simple as sending an email or text message confirming that the person agrees to sign the document electronically—but it’s important to get that confirmation in writing regardless.
#4 Not Understanding Revocation Policies
A lot of people also don’t realize that electronic signatures can be revoked just like traditional paper signatures can. If someone changes their mind after agreeing to sign a document electronically, they have every right to revoke their signature—and you need to know how to handle that situation if it arises.
Depending on your revocation policy (which should be clearly laid out in your terms of service), revoking an electronic signature might mean simply voiding the contract entirely or potentially starting the whole process over again from scratch with new signatures.
#5 Not Keeping Good Records
Finally, one mistake that’s often made with both traditional paper contracts and electronic signatures alike is failing to keep good records. Whether you’re dealing with original signed copies of paper contracts or digital files of signed documents, it’s important to keep track of everything in a central location.
There’s no doubt about it—electronic signatures are here to stay. More and more businesses are adopting them as a way to save time, money, and trees. However, just because they’re easy and convenient doesn’t mean there isn’t a learning curve. By avoiding these top 5 mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to mastering electronic signatures in no time.