A few days ago I received communication from my domain provider with a bill, which was signed electronically. The paragraph referring to this read:
“Als Anlage finden Sie eine neue Rechnung als .pdf-Datei mit digitaler Signatur (Rechnungsnummer: xxxxxxxxxxxxx).
Bei der Signatur handelt es sich um eine rechtsverbindliche Signatur nach dem Signaturgesetz (SigG). Somit erfüllt die Rechnung die gesetzlichen Vorschriften nach §14 Umsatzsteuergesetz.
Unter diesem Link können Sie die Signatur jederzeit prüfen: http://www.united-domains.de/digitale-signatur/“
[As attachment you will find a new invoice as .pdf file with a digital signature (invoice #).
You can check the signature any time at the link given.]
I sent a reply letter in which I canceled one of the domains which I will not need anymore. I used their PDF form and signed it electronically with my SuisseID.
To make sure the other party will not miss the fact that the document is legally signed I inserted a paragraph into the accompanying letter using their text above:
The following day I received a mail asking me to send the form again by fax and hand-signed. I called to make sure that they understood that I had signed the document electronically and legally binding. But they answered they would need my real signature since this cancellation of a domain is a severe transaction which cannot be done just with an electronic signature.
Take home lesson: Electronic signatures are fine for little things. But when it comes to serious business a faxed (!) signature is needed.
I can’t believe this!
On another note. I recently worked for a company that produces the electronic ID cards which are used for the SuisseID. I signed the contract electronically and legally binding and received a call where I was asked to sign it by hand and send it per post. So even the company producing the cards for electronic signatures does not accept electronic signatures itself.
Digital Signature—Your Day May Come — Eventually!