As this may apply to emails, text messages, chat windows, social media exchanges and other types of digital messages, it is important to clearly state your intentions in your e-mail messages. The ability to create a contract by mistake by simply sending an email is a pretty scary prospect for any business owner. Courts across the country regularly find that an electronic communication has created a valid contract or has changed the terms of an existing contract. Acceptance exists in many forms. Adequacy is the more general measure to determine whether the receipt is valid. In addition, the “mailbox rule” provides that written acceptance of an offer is valid once it has been inserted into the mailbox. For example, the bidder makes an offer. Offeree accepts the offer by email and puts it in the mailbox. After the bidder has placed the acceptance in the mailbox, the bidder withdraws the offer before receiving acceptance. In this case, the bidder may, in accordance with the mailbox rule, enforce the terms of the contract despite the attempt to revocation of the bidder. This judgment specifies that text messages can be considered legally enforceable as long as they meet the requirements for a bilateral offer, counterparty, capacity and acceptance contract. The Massachusetts Regional Court`s ruling also indicated that these contracts could replace the written contracts on paper and ink, imposed by the Fraud Act, which is enforced by many states.
Text messages are not the only way for you to enter into contracts with an electronic platform. Federal and regional laws provide for certain electronic transactions and cases in which electronic or digital signatures are an acceptable alternative to traditional signatures. In California, contracts that require a signature before coming into force can be executed with an electronic signature. It is important to avoid involuntary SMS contracts that can become legally binding. Recording the “contract-compliant” language, as in all e-mail communications, can clarify your intention. If you are unsure if an SMS or other electronic communication could lead to a binding contract with you or your company, contact DeAnn Chase and his team at Chase Law Group, P.C. They can help by looking at the specifics of your situation and giving you advice on what to do in the future. A business lawyer who helps you develop and finalize agreements is useful for business owners who wish to convert their informal communications into clear and detailed contracts, carefully crafted and executed by all parties involved. Contact us today at (310) 545-7700.
California Law: Statute of Frauds and Electronic Signatures Modern Fraud Act is generally a statutory provision that requires certain types of contracts to be recalled in writing and to meet other requirements that go beyond the basic contract requirements.