Reduce Risk

Identity Checks & eSignatures

There are steps you can take to reduce risk by checking the identity of the company and individual you are dealing with. Once you are sure of your partner's identity. You can also sign legally binding contracts via the internet.


Introduction

There are 4 steps you should take here:

  1. Have you checked that the company is registered with the relevant Official Company Registration Office?
  2. Is the person you are dealing with authorised to negotiate\contract with you i.e. a director?
  3. Is the person you are dealing with actually that person?
  4. Have the documents you exchanged been legally signed by your counterparty?

Whether in the digital or physical world, you should carry out the same level of due diligence regarding both sets of identity.


Identities

We have suggested using Graydon with regard to credit standing – but you can start with:

  1. In the UK, (free) searches at Companies House provide the details of UK companies
  2. The equivalent of Companies House for companies based in other countries. These are listed under “Company Register” in the relevant Country Commercial Contacts Profile The ExportersAlmanac.

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Once you have confirmed the details of the company – and possibly also checked their entry in Kompass for further details – you can cross-check the identity of the person with whom you are dealing (are they a director)? (listed on the website?). Can they be reached via the company’s switchboard? Do they have a company email address?


eSignatures

eSignatures are now recognised under English Law. In fact, from a number of points of view, they are preferable to signatures written by hand. This greatly facilitates B2B eCommerce allowing for the electronic exchange of signed commercial documents.

LawBite's Document Management Platform provides not only a legal library, and a system for the management of electronic documents but also the facility to e-sign documents. Print or e-sign - You have the option to download, print or send your documents digitally to use e-signing.

LawBite's Document Management Service.png

See the video: Checking, e-Signing and filing.

N.B. An eSignature is not simply a scanned image of a handwritten signature pasted into a document. There are a number of companies that provide eSignature services – some of these are listed under The ExportersAlmanac - eSignature Solutions.

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