The General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users sets out some business obligations when contracting with individuals. In this post, we talk about how electronic signatures can help you to meet the requirements of the Consumer Act

Obligations under the Consumer Law on contracts with individuals

The Consumer Act sets out a series of contractual requirements for businesses when contracting with consumers. The most important of these are as follows:

  • Before entering into the contract, the company must provide the consumer with all the information about the contract transparently and understandably, and in particular its legal and economic conditions:
    • Features of the goods and services.
    • Identity of the entrepreneur.
    • Total price, including taxes and fees.
    • Method of payment.
    • Term of the contract.
    • Post-sale coverage.
    • Right of withdrawal.
    • Digital rights performance.
    • File a claim
  • Unequivocal evidence of the will to enter into the contract or to conclude the contract must be provided.
  • The consumer or user must receive a receipt or copy of the signed terms and conditions of the transaction
  • The contract must be in writing and in Spanish.

The regulation applies particularly to energy, water and telecommunications companies and any other company that contracts with consumers and users. Failure to comply with the obligations set out in the Act may result in the consumer filing a claim against the company requesting the nullity of the contract. The burden of proof will lie with the contracting company to prove they have not breached consumers’ rights.

Benefits of electronic signatures to comply with the Consumer Act

As we have seen, the Consumer Act sets out a legal framework to ensure that the rights of individuals entering into contracts with businesses are enforced. The electronic signature, to comply with the Consumer Law, provides several solutions:

  • When a consumer signs a contract with Click & Sign’s eSignature solution, the consumer receives a link to a copy of the contract they are about to sign, so they have all the information they need to analyse the legal and economic conditions of the contract, as required by law.
  • Click & Sign uses an advanced electronic signature, i.e. one that complies with the requirements of Article 26 of the eIDAS Regulation:
    • It is uniquely linked to the signer.
    • It is capable of identifying the signer.
    • It is created using electronic signature creation data that the signatory can, with a high level of confidence, use under his sole control; and
    • It is linked to the signed data so that it can be detected if a later modification occurs.
  • Due to Click & Sign’s advanced electronic signature features, the consumer’s willingness to enter into a contract is manifested unequivocally.
  • After the contract is signed, the consumer will receive a copy of the signed document by email to keep the document for future reference. Thus, the obligations under the Consumer Act to provide a copy and to have the contract in writing are fulfilled.
  • The contracting party, in turn, receives electronic evidence, including all the data of the electronic signature process: emails, telephone numbers, IPs, date and time of the signature, etc. The document can be downloaded at any time, is kept by the esignature provider for five years and proves the contract and the signature in legal proceedings.

The process of esigning a consumer contract – how it works

We have seen the electronic signature features to comply with the Consumer Act, but it is also important to understand how the signature process works. Here are the steps involved in the process:

  • The company signs up for Click & Sign and sets up the signing process (signatories, type of signature, notices etc.).
  • Select the document to be signed and send it.
  • The consumer then receives an email or SMS with a link to the contract, clicks on the link and signs by clicking on a button, using a One-Time Password (OTP) or biometric data.
  • Once the contract is signed, the consumer receives a copy of the signed document, and the company has access to the electronic documentary evidence.

It is a simple process adding a high degree of security and making the electronic signature an effective tool to comply with the Consumer Act.