Text messages, emojis for contracts could lead to an increase in fraud, misunderstandings

The use of electronic signatures is on the rise, but an ag lawyer doesn’t recommend using text messages to verify purchases.

A recent court case in Canada found that an emoji could be used as a digital signature to purchase ag goods, but Steve Mossman with Mattson-Ricketts says that may not hold up in a US court. “On the other hand, I do believe you can form a binding contract that would not violate what’s called the Statute of Frauds Act through text messages.”

For example: “I do think if somebody offers to buy your corn crop by text message and has enough detail in there, and you text back ‘agreed’ particularly with your name in there, I do think that’s enough.”

But, Mossman tells Brownfield, that could create misunderstanding and the potential for fraud between producers and agribusinesses. “Just because they are easy to delete. They usually don’t have enough details in their length to form a binding agreement.”

He recommends that purchases be detailed in an eSign program.

Steve Mossman with Mattson-Ricketts:

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