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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Colorado Real Estate Commission to Review Use of Font Signatures in eContracts

[Published April 11, 2013, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section and in five Jefferson County weekly newspapers]

By now, I suspect everyone with a credit or debit card has had the experience of signing electronically instead of on paper at supermarkets and other stores.

Imagine if, instead of signing with the stylus, you could just check a box and see the name on the credit card appear in a script font. Now imagine that you could do that for purchasing a house, not just a bag of groceries or a jig saw.

That’s exactly what is happening every day in real estate transactions. CTM eContracts, the official provider of electronic contracts for the Colorado Association of Realtors, allows buyers and sellers of real estate to “Select Font Signature” on every document, unless the agent disables that feature. Mine is the only brokerage I’m aware of which has a policy of not accepting such signatures on contracts and last week I convinced the Colorado Real Estate Commission (CREC) to put the topic of banning font signatures on the agenda for their next meeting.

Electronic signatures should, by law, be verifiable. It’s not hard to imagine a disgruntled spouse or client saying in court, “I didn’t sign that counterproposal,” or “I didn’t approve that price reduction.” No one would be able to disprove his or her assertion that someone else must have clicked on that "font" option.  For that reason alone, such signatures should not be allowed.



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