Internet & Remote Contracts – Ong’anya Ombo Advocates
Internet Agreements entails any form of agreement that two or more parties may enter into with hope of attaining certain goods or services. The contract meets the basic principles of contract law. However, there other peculiar factors such as signing, for instance, will the document need further physical signing or it will fit the e-signature. All that will be guided by the initial guiding implied or express custom and usage. For instance, Safaricom under one of its Terms and Conditions named “Terms and Conditions of the Safaricom Purchase Order” version 1.1 as downloaded on 18th December 2016, it provides that the “…purchase order will not be valid unless in writing and signed by two (2) authorized signatories of Safaricom Limited…”. Therefore, various agreements will take different forms of appending signatures.
The Consumer Protection Act, 2012 defines Internet Agreement as a consumer agreement formed by text-based internet communications. Also, it is clear some Internet Agreements can fall under Remote Agreements, the definition of the latter is an agreement entered into when the consumer and supplier are not present together.
Internet Agreements and Remote Agreements are distinct in terms of effecting them, for instance, purchasing data, assuming the purchaser dials *544# there are various options that pop up on the screen, depending on one’s needs, the purchaser will buy the preferable package. If the mobile service provider accepts, then one receives data and that amounts to a remote agreement. Also, when purchasing online through OLX, a phone call to Debonairs, etc. Such agreements are considered accepted upon the consent and acceptance of the parties.
Internet Agreements and Remote Agreements tend to have a gray-line, for instance, in certain jurisdictions, Remote Agreements are equated to Electronic Agreements, which in most cases require internet. Nevertheless, pegging on the definition, Internet Agreements can take effect when one opens an online bank account.
Internet Agreements (s 31, 32, 33, 5 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2012)
Disclosure of information on internet agreement
Prior to entering into any agreement, the consumer has the right to access information that will guide the consumer making informed decisions. Therefore, the Act provides that the supplier of the goods or services will disclose the prescribed information to the consumer. Also, the consumer shall be offered express opportunity to accept or decline and correct or amend the agreement where necessary, not to mention that the consumer will have the right to retain and print the information.
Copy of Internet Agreement
The supplier of the services or goods shall deliver a copy of the internet agreement to the consumer within a certain prescribed period. A copy is deemed delivered if the same is done in the prescribed manner. That is whereby the parties agree that a copy will be provided through a given postal address, home delivery or email.
Cancellation of Internet Agreement
A consumer has the option of cancelling the agreement other than the agreement might provide, for instance, the Act provides that such cancellation can take place the time of entering the Internet Agreement and within seven after receiving the copy, on the grounds that the supplier failed to disclose information or express opportunity to accept, deny or amend the same.
Disclosure of Information on Remote Agreements
The supplier shall proffer the consumer with all necessary information and shall satisfy the prescribed requirements of the agreement.
Copy of Remote Agreement
The supplier of the services or goods shall deliver a copy of the remote agreement to the consumer within a certain prescribed period. A copy is deemed delivered if the same is done in the prescribed manner. That is whereby the parties agree that a copy will be provided through a given postal address, home delivery or email.
Cancellation of Remote Agreement
A consumer has the option of cancelling the agreement other than the agreement might provide. For instance, the Act provides that such cancellation can take place the time of entering the Remote Agreement and within seven after receiving the copy, because the supplier failed to disclose information or within a year for failure to provide a copy of the remote agreement.