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Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (Alabama/Florida)

Last Reviewed: July, 2007

Paperless documents and e-Signatures are quickly becoming the new norm as members become more reliant on technology.

Print State Considerations (Alabama)

Uniform Electronic Transactions Act: State Considerations (Alabama)

In 2001, Alabama adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), which is referred to as the Alabama Electronic Transactions Act.  While the act is limited in its coverage, especially in areas in which credit unions and other financial institutions are significantly involved, the law is very much a consideration in the areas of contract offerings and acceptance and record retention.

The purpose of the Electronic Transactions Act is to give the same legal effect to documents and signatures delivered by electronic means as is given to documents and signatures delivered on paper.  However, there are several limitations to this general rule.

This act only applies to electronic records and signatures relating to a transaction created on or after January 1, 2002. 

The following types of transactions are not covered by the Alabama Electronic Transactions Act:

  1. Wills, codicils, or testamentary trusts;
  2. Negotiable instruments;
  3. Bank deposits and collections;
  4. Funds transfers;
  5. Letters of credit;
  6. Investment securities;
  7. Secured transactions.

The law only applies to transactions where both parties have agreed to conduct the transaction by electronic means. 

One party cannot require the other party to accept an electronic document or signature.

One party can agree to conduct one transaction electronically while refraining from doing so in other or subsequent transactions.

The purpose of the law is to give the same legal effect to electronic transactions as paper-based transactions.

  • A record or signature may not be denied legal enforceability solely because it is in electronic form.
  • A contract may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because an electronic record was used in its formation.
    • i.e. an offer being e-mailed to a client, and acceptance of the offer being made by e-mail.
  • If a law requires a record to be in writing, an electronic record satisfies the law..

Even if a law requires that a person conducting a transaction provide the other person information in writing, electronic delivery satisfies the law IF both parties have agreed and the information is delivered in a way that the recipient is able to store and print the information.

If another law requires that a certain kind of record or writing be displayed, stored, or communicated in a specific way, then that law must be followed.

Example:    If another law requires that a document be delivered by registered mail, then the credit union still must deliver the document by registered mail.

If the sender of a document inhibits the ability of the recipient to store or print the electronic document, the electronic record is not enforceable against the recipient.

If a law or regulation requires that information be given to a consumer in writing, the credit union muycan send it electronically IF the consumer affirmatively consents to receiving electronically, and has not subsequently withdrawn the consent.

  • Before consenting, a consumer must be presented with a clear and conspicuous statement that:
    1. Informs the consumer of the right to have the document provided on paper;
    2. Informs the consumer of the right to withdraw consent;
    3. Informs the consumer that the consent only applies to this particular transaction and gives him/her the categories of records that may be provided during the course of the parties relationship;
    4. Describes the procedure the consumer should use to withdraw consent in order to receive a paper copy;
    5. Informs the consumer if there is a charge for the paper copy;
    6. The consumer is provided with the hardware and software requirements for accessing and retaining the document;
    7. The consumer consents electronically (in the same manner that the document will be delivered).

Record Retention
If a law requires that a record be retained, the electronic version satisfies the requirement IF:

  1. The electronic version accurately reflects the information set forth in the record as it was when first generated; AND
  2. It remains accessible for later reference.

This law applies to the retention of a check;

A record retained electronically in accordance with the two rules satisfies a law requiring a person to retain a record for evidentiary, audit, or like purposes.

Government agencies may set their own standards for record retention, and may require a medium other than electronic.

The Alabama Legislature adopted the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) to apply to electronic records and electronic signatures relating to transactions effective in January 2002. Title 8 of the Code of Alabama 1975, Chapter 1A (Uniform Electronic Transactions Act).  Notably, the adoption of the UETA does not require that records or signatures be electronic.  Sec. 8-1A-5. The UETA effectively puts electronic records and signatures on equal footing as paper records and handwritten signatures.  One can no longer claim that his/her signature lacks legal effect because the signature was electronic rather than handwritten.  Sec. 8-1A-7.

Alabama law defines a “transaction” as “an action or set of actions occurring between 2 or more persons relating to the conduct of business, commercial, or governmental affairs.”  Subsection 8-1A-2(17). However, UETA only applies to transactions where each party to the transaction agrees to conduct the transaction by electronic means. Section 8-1A-5.  A party’s context, conduct, and the surrounding circumstances, are used to determine whether or not a party agreed to conduct the transaction using electronic means. 

Exclusion

Despite Alabama’s adoption of the UETA, electronic forms and electronic signatures are not tolerated in: (1) documents for the creation and execution of wills, codicils, or testamentary trusts; (2) matters governed by Title 7, the Uniform Commercial Code (except those under Sections 7-1-107 and 7-1-206, Article 2, and Article 2A; or (3) a statute, regulation, or other rule of law governing adoption, divorce, or other matters of family law. Subsection 8-1A-3(b). In addition, per Subsection 8-1A-3(c), the Alabama UETA does not apply to any of the following:

  1. Court orders or notices, or official court documents, including briefs, pleadings, and other writings, required to be executed in connection with court proceedings.
  2. Any notice of any of the following:
    1. The cancellation or termination of utility services, including water, heat, and power.
    2. Default, acceleration, repossession, foreclosure, or eviction, or the right to cure, under a credit agreement secured by, or a rental agreement for, a primary residence of an individual.
    3. The cancellation or termination of health insurance or benefits or life insurance benefits, excluding annuities.
    4. Recall of a product, or material failure of a product, that risks endangering health or safety.
  3. Any document required to accompany any transportation or handling of hazardous materials, pesticides, or other toxic or dangerous materials.

Electronic Signature

Under Alabama law, any of the following is deemed to be an electronic signature: “any electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” Subsection 8-1A-2(9). Clearly, many options can qualify as an “electronic signature” such as a voicemail expressing assent, a digital picture of one’s handwritten signature, a typed out name, or even clicking a button labeled “I Agree.” An electronic signature is attributed to a particular person “if it is the act of the person,” and the act can be shown in some way, such as one first going through certain security procedures (perhaps answering certain security questions) before providing an electronic signature.

Pursuant to Sec. 8-1A-11 even a notarized or signature under oath can be achieved via electronic signature.

If a law requires that a record be retained, the requirement is satisfied if the record accurately reflects the information after it was first generated in its final form and remains accessible for later reference.  Sec. 8-1A-12. Retention of a check is satisfied by maintaining an electronic record of the information on the front and back of the check. Subsection 8-1A-12(e). Records may also be kept for evidentiary, audit, or similar purposes, unless a law specifically prohibits it. Subsection 8-1A-12(f).

Print State Considerations (Florida)

Uniform Electronic Transactions Act: State Considerations (Florida)

The Florida Legislature adopted the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) to apply to electronic records and electronic signatures relating to transactions effective in July 2000. Title XXXIX of the Florida Statutes, Chapter 668, Section 668.50 (Uniform Electronic Transactions Act).  Notably, the adoption of the UETA does not require that records or signatures be electronic.  Subsection 668.50(5). The UETA effectively puts electronic records and signatures on equal footing as paper records and handwritten signatures.  One can no longer claim that his/her signature lacks legal effect because the signature was electronic rather than handwritten.  Subsection 668.50(7).

Florida law defines a “transaction” as “an action or set of actions occurring between 2 or more persons relating to the conduct of business, commercial, or governmental affairs.”  Subsection 668.50(2)(p). However, UETA only applies to transactions where each party to the transaction agrees to conduct the transaction by electronic means. Subsection 668.50(5).  A party’s context, conduct, and the surrounding circumstances, are used to determine whether or not a party agreed to conduct the transaction using electronic means. 

Exclusion

Despite Florida’s adoption of the UETA, electronic forms and electronic signatures are not tolerated in: (1) documents for the creation and execution of wills, codicils, or testamentary trusts; (2) matters governed by the Uniform Commercial Code (except those under Sections 671.107 and chapters 672 and 680; or (3) the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act. Subsection 668.50(3).  In addition, per Subsection 668.50(3)(c), the Florida UETA does not generally apply to a transaction to the extent the transaction is governed by rules relating to judicial procedure.

Electronic Signature

Under Florida law, any of the following is deemed to be an electronic signature: “any electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” Subsection 668.50(2)(h). Clearly, many options can qualify as an “electronic signature” such as a voicemail expressing assent, a digital picture of one’s handwritten signature, a typed out name, or even clicking a button labeled “I Agree.” An electronic signature is attributed to a particular person “if it is the act of the person,” and the act can be shown in some way, such as one first going through certain security procedures (perhaps answering certain security questions) before providing an electronic signature.

Pursuant to Subsection 668.50(11) even a notarized or signature under oath can be achieved via electronic signature.

If a law requires that a record be retained, the requirement is satisfied if the record accurately reflects the information after it was first generated in its final form and remains accessible for later reference.  Subsection 668.50(12). Retention of a check is satisfied by maintaining an electronic record of the information on the front and back of the check. Subsection 668.50(12)(e). Records may also be kept for evidentiary, audit, or similar purposes, unless a law specifically prohibits it. Subsection 668.50(12)(f).

Print Checklist

Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (Alabama/Florida): Checklist

  1. Is the document one that is covered by the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act?
    • Make sure the document is not:
      • Wills, codicils, or testamentary trusts;
      • Secured transactions.
      • Investment securities;
      • Letters of credit;
      • Funds transfers;
      • Bank deposits and collections;
      • Negotiable instruments;
         
  2. Is it concerning a transaction that was entered into on or after January 1, 2002?
     
  3. Have both parties agreed? 
     
  4. Can the recipient store or print the document from the format that you provided it to him/her? 
     
  5. If the transaction is delivery of a document to a consumer:
    • Has the consumer been given a clear and conspicuous statement covering:
      • Right to a paper copy;
      • Right to withdraw consent;
      • Method of withdrawing consent;
      • Any charge associated with requesting a paper copy;
      • Software and hardware requirements for storing and printing the document;
      • Scope of what is being sent electronically
    • Has the consumer given consent?
      • In the same manner that the document will be delivered?  (ie, e-mail or through web-site).
Print Laws & Regulations

Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (Alabama/Florida): Laws & Regulations

Laws & Regulations (Alabama)

Laws & Regulations (Florida)

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