Is it worth scanning the contract?

Signing contracts by hand and sending back scans of them is a common practice. But can it be called fully secure? Is a scanned contract reliable for everyone? It turns out that the integrity of such a document, i.e. its unaltered form after signing, can be very easily compromised. This raises problems in proving the conclusion of a contract in a given form in court. What is the reason for this? Why should you think twice before entering into a scanned contract?
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The presence of the documentary form in Polish regulations means that entrepreneurs can more conveniently conclude contracts. Companies began to send prepared documents by e-mail and expect them to be printed, physically signed, scanned and sent back. These steps were supposed to reduce the turnover time of contracts between parties. Undoubtedly, this has happened, but at what cost? Check out why this process is not at all as safe as it might seem.

Why is it not worth scanning contracts?

Documentary form, which has already been mentioned in our blog, is based on the submission of a statement of intent in the form of a document. It can take many forms:

  • text document,
  • audio recording,
  • video footage,
  • a photograph,
  • a scanned contract.

The latter has gained popularity among many companies. Since Polish law allows such a way of concluding contracts, nothing should stand in the way of using it. However, in practice, several aspects do not speak in favor of scanning contracts and signing them in this form.

Lack of reliability of the signature of scanned contracts

The main disadvantage of scanned contracts is related to the impossibility of examining the reliability of the signature, which is very important due to the documentary form of legal actions. Entrepreneurs can only presume and rely on trust that the document was signed by the right person, while the reality may turn out to be quite different. 

When an entrepreneur receives a contract in the mail, there is no way to verify that it was signed by the person who was required to do so. To confirm the identity of the signer, it will be necessary to use the services of a graphologist, who will draw up an opinion on a private order or as an expert in court proceedings. Only specialists will confirm who signed the scanned contract.

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Online signature verification. How to verify who signed my document?

No verification of ownership of an email address

Entrepreneurs sign contracts not only with other companies but also with individuals. In this case, there is a risk regarding the lack of verification of ownership of the email address. This can be seen especially when an individual uses a free mailbox. Then the user ID (that is, the part of the email address that comes before the @ sign) can take different forms, not necessarily pointing to the right person, such as “prtznt76”. If there is no certainty as to who the correspondence is actually with, how does one know that the signature on the scanned agreement was made by an authorized person?

Extended process

Entrepreneurs cite as an advantage of scanning contracts the reduction in the time it takes to conclude them. It’s all about document turnover, which is faster than using a courier or traditional mail. However, before the contract is sent to the other party, several steps must be followed.

The counterparty must:

  • print the contract,
  • physically sign it,
  • scan it,
  • send it.

These steps take time, and in many cases scanning contracts takes as much time as signing paper documents.

Lack of certainty that the contract has reached the counterparty

It happens that email fails, as a result of which messages are not delivered. For the entrepreneur, this involves uncertainty.

It may turn out that the message will be:

  • blocked by the recipient’s server,
  • will end up in spam, which the contractor does not read.

Lack of clear archiving of scanned contracts

This entrepreneur, who has never searched the mailbox to find an important document, should be the first to throw the keyboard. And now a little more seriously. Mailboxes are a kind of archive. However, navigating through it is not the most convenient. Yes, you can apply various filters and search by email addresses, but very often it is inefficient and lengthy.

Finding an email with a scanned contract takes time. The situation gets more complicated if you don’t remember the sender’s email address and the subject of the email, and in addition, the attached file doesn’t have an obvious, easy-to-find name. This breeds frustration.

Make an appointment for a presentation and find out how to safely use the document form of legal actions

Summary

The exchange of scanned contracts between contractors is an everyday occurrence, but not entirely secure. Mainly because the document form requires establishing the identity of the parties signing the contracts. In the case of transferring documents by email, this is not possible without the intervention of a graphologist. The very process of preparing a document for sending consists of several time-consuming steps. So is the document form doomed to failure? No! On the contrary, the safest and most effective way to confirm it is with an SMS or electronic signature.

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