Kermit the frog said, “It’s not easy being green.” While it takes some effort and may not be easy going green for an alarm company, it is certainly an achievable goal.
One of the most commonly considered areas of going green is the reduction in paper usage. Currently being used by a small number of alarm dealers, the use of paperless contracts electronically signed by customers is an available method for going green, but it does require adherence to a variety of rules and regulations.
The law with respect to the use of electronically signed agreements is found in two principal codified acts. The first is the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act that sets forth the state requirements for electronic signatures. Because having different requirements in different states made it difficult for a business to comply on a multi-state basis, the federal Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign) was adopted in 2000.
Electronic contracts and signatures are valid and enforceable. E-Sign impacts how the contract may be formed, but it does not change the basic contract law. Many jurisdictions require that an alarm agreement be in writing. An electronic agreement can satisfy this written requirement if certain procedures and disclosures are followed. However, because of the nature of the security industry and the significance of having a good contract because of liability limitation issues and other matters, compliance with the E-Sign rules is very important.
The alarm dealer must still comply with basic contract law. As examples, if you use an electronic signature process for an in-home solicitation (e.g. use electronic signature pad), this does not alleviate your obligation to provide the appropriate notice of cancellation, although you may be able to give it in electronic form. Generally, the terms and conditions of your electronic contract will be the same as your paper contract, and must comply with any unique laws regarding security agreements that are found in various states such as limitations on automatic renewals and disclosures of licenses.
I strongly recommend that an alarm dealer who intends to use electronic agreements and signatures engage the services of a company that specializes in creating and storing electronic signatures. You can find these companies with a simple computer search for electronic signatures.