Business to Business Contracts
Trading Standards can offer advice on business to business contracts, for the supply of products, as well as contracts where businesses need help with an agreement they have entered into with a consumer. The law treats business to business contracts differently than it does business to consumer contracts. These differences include the following:
1) Distance selling & doorstep selling Regulations
Businesses do not get cooling off periods when signing up to contracts at home or business premises or at a distance. Unless the contract you have with the company you are purchasing the product from states you have a cooling off period, you will not have one.
2) Unfair Terms
A large proportion of the legislation relating to unfair terms either does not apply in a business to business contract or only applies at the discretion of the court. It is always important therefore to check your terms and conditions prior to signing up to a contract.
3) Sale of Goods Act & Supply of Goods and Services Act
Most of the Sale of Goods Act and the Supply of Goods and Services Act, which provides the buyer with rights in cases of faulty goods; miss described goods; or substandard services, also applies to business to business contracts.
However again bear in mind that liability may be limited or excluded by the terms and conditions of a business to business contract.
4) Consumer Credit Act
The Consumer Credit Act does not apply to an offer or supply of credit to limited companies, however it does apply to contracts entered into by sole traders and partnerships.
The UK has adopted and implemented certain provisions of the EU’s Electronic Commerce Directive in the Electronic Communications Act 2000, which makes e Signatures legally admissible in the UK. The Consumer Credit Act of 1974 was amended in 2004 to further facilitate the electronic signing of credit agreements.
Section 7 of the Electronic Communications Act states that in any legal proceedings, an electronic signature incorporated into or logically associated with a particular electronic communication shall be admissible into evidence in relation to questions as to the authenticity or integrity of the communication or data.
Like e Sign, the specific electronic signature technology is not defined by the Act or the Regulations themselves. However, best practices should include an acknowledgement by parties that they are affirmatively agreeing to sign by an electronic signature. Echo Sign automatically includes such an acknowledgment in every transaction.