In digital document execution signing remotely becomes very simple, but signing face-to-face has new elements to take into account. It is important that your organization thoroughly considers all of the nuances around face-to-face signing prior to enabling it for agreements.
To understand the nuances, first you will need to familiarize yourself with the primary legal aspects of signing.
Signing an agreement, regardless of whether or not you are doing this digitally, requires you to establish the three elements of Identity, Intent and Non-repudiation. In simplified terms this means being able to reasonably:
- Attribute the signing to an individual
- Demonstrate that the individual was aware they were signing the document
- Confirm that the document wasn’t changed since it was signed.
For further information regarding these elements please see our document Defending Digital Signatures which is available through Recombo Support.
When signing an agreement face-to-face the primary issue is establishing attribution that the customer is the one whom signed the agreement if the customer is going to use the Salesperson’s device.
Why is this potentially an issue?
When you send a customer an agreement to sign through email we have many things that link the signing event back to the individual, even if your firm does not utilize ID Verification. For example, we have the email address, the record of them opening the agreement from that email address, the IP address of the machine it was opened on and so forth.
When you open the agreement on behalf of the customer on your device it means the customer is signing without having to access the agreement from their own email address so we aren’t able to establish a large part of our attribution trail. This however is NOT an issue if the customer has previously completed their Agreement Express registration directly from their email on their own computer or device; it is only an issue where the individual registers their Agreement Express digital signature on YOUR device.
Since it is critical to the legal defensibility of your agreements that you appropriately establish Attribution, we strongly recommend you adopt at least one of the following business practices. Please contact Recombo Support for help with any of these features.
- Disable In-Person REGISTRATION If a customer has already previously registered through the standard receipt of email approach, and then subsequently has an opportunity to sign an agreement face-to-face, then Attribution is not an issue. In-Person Registration can be restricted through a company setup. You can advise your customer to register in advance by sending them an appointment confirmation or welcome email requiring pre-registration.
- Utilize Telephone ID Verification With Telephone Verification, Agreement Express will require the customer to enter their phone number (mobile or home phone) during the registration process. Once they have filled out the registration panel Agreement Express will automatically send a message to the user’s mobile phone, or call their home phone, and provide them with a one-time code for registration that must be entered in order to complete registration. This will link the registered customer back to a device that belongs to them. Note that a phone number, like an email address, can only be linked to a single individual/account.
- Utilize 3rd Party ID Verification ID verification services, such as Equifax, Experian, IDology or others (depending on your region) available in real-time through Agreement Express can provide automated confirmation of the individual’s identity by prompting for answers to questions that only they would know. In this case the ID verification method provides the attribution rather than the email and its associated data.
- Require an Access Code for new registrants, Tied back to your own Data Source Oftentimes companies have their own data that can be used for identification and attribution. Agreement Express allows you to set the “Access Code” to be enabled for new registration only, and then you can populate this code dynamically with the personal data from your own source. In order to access the agreement the new registrant will be required to enter their access code, providing sufficient attribution.
- Require the Agent/Advisor to capture a copy of the Client’s ID You require the attachment of any copies of ID to Agreement Express. If you’re on a mobile device Agreement Express will allow you to capture this using the camera on the device the agent is using. If the agent is on a mobile enabled laptop, they will need to get a copy of the ID onto their computer first and browse for it, or if a fax machine is available they can fax it directly into the agreement. This method of attribution will require a business process to verify that the ID was attached and matches the registrant’s provided information.
- Require the Agent/Advisor to sign an Attestation that they Witnessed the Individual signing the Agreement and that they confirmed the individual’s Identity in some Manner Since it is a face to face transaction, your workflow can include a signed declaration by the agent that they witnessed the proceedings.
- Capture the Customer's Digitized Signature If the Agent or Advisor is using a touch sensitive device, such as a tablet, Agreement Express will automatically require the New Registrant to write their signature on the space provided, in addition to registering. This will capture their signature with the similar integrity to how they would if they were signing traditionally on paper, but with added benefit of non-repudiation.
Enabling In-Person Signing
In the EMAIL blade of the template under Agreement Builder, check the box titled Enable In-Person Signing.
Workflow 1: If the Agent/Advisor Signs prior to the New Registrant
If the agent or advisor signs before the customer, once they have signed they will be prompted automatically for the next signer with the prompt shown above. The agent selects the next signer from the “Next Signer” pull-down list and then clicks “Next signer is with me and ready to sign”.
WORKFLOW 2: Opening the Agreement from Agreement Manager for Signing
The agent selects the appropriate agreement and clicks “Resend Agreement”
The agent selects the person for whom they want to allow signing and clicks “Open to sign”.
The next step in either workflow is for the Agent or Advisor to await the customer to complete the registration and/or signature process as per normal.
- Please check your organization’s security policies prior to handing your device over to your client; it may not be permitted under your data security policies.
- You are responsible for sufficiently protecting your client’s privacy per the applicable laws of your region.
Electronic Commerce legislation varies across each jurisdiction and even across specific guidelines within industries. This document is intended to provide a summary of relevant legal concepts which have been satisfied by Agreement Express. This document is not a substitute for a legal opinion. Recombo makes no representation or warranties, either express or implied, on the legal validity or ramifications of using the Agreement Express service.