Offline paper contracts are based on established case law. Unfortunately, the Internet has changed things drastically when it comes to online contracts.
â€œThere is a whole history of established precedent for contract law; the kind of law based on a written contract, when both parties signed it and agreed to what was in the four corners of the document. They is also such a thing as verbal contracts, but theyâ€™re harder to prove if one of the parties denies the existence of a verbal contract,â€ said Robert Webb, an Atlanta personal injury lawyer with Webb & Dâ€™Orazio, a law firm specializing in personal injury, malpractice, criminal defense, and business law.
There are four things needed to form a legally binding contract: the consideration involved; the intention to create a legal relationship; an offer and an acceptance. The consideration means that that parties will each benefit in some manner.
â€œThe intention to create a contract is generally fairly clear in most cases, largely because the two individuals are negotiating something. Whatâ€™s tricky is figuring out if the contract is legally binding and has an offer and acceptance part,â€ Webb said. Put another way, people cannot accept an invitation to treat and an invitation is distinctly different from a contract.
With the usual kind of a written on paper contract in the offline world, the two people involved sign it and agree to all the terms etc. Some of the issues covered would include the time the contract was entered, the specific terms and the jurisdiction the contract is relevant too. In the online world this is slightly different and negotiations are done via the web and emails and other e-methods.
Emails mimic paper correspondence sent my regular mail and, generally speaking, once someone offers something via email and accepts via email, the deed should be done. However, the difficult part about online offers and acceptances is that often, there are questions about the validity of the acceptance. Precisely, what online is the equivalent to snail mailing a letter? There is no clear definition of that â€“ yet.
â€œIf you thought business dealings offline had their touch and go moments, dealing with online offers and when an acceptance has been tendered is even trickier. Generally speaking, that would ultimately depend on each case or situation that arose. If you find yourself in a sticky situation involving an online contract, give us a call and we can discuss the situation with you,â€ Webb said.
To learn more, visit http://www.webbdorazio.com.