Clicking I Accept

Topics: Contract, Contractual term, Sale of Goods Act 1979 Pages: 6 (2478 words) Published: May 2, 2013
To what extent is there sufficient clarity and certainty in the establishment of contractual terms for transactions completed online. Incorporation of terms by signature and notice. The astonishing electronic creation of the internet has changed the boundaries of business-consumer contracts, presenting an economic rise of businesses and individuals (Saul). Development of traditional contract law was formed to deal with unfair communication though its effectiveness is raised; current principles of contract law are hardly applicable and insufficient to determine the formation of an electronic contract. The innovation of online contracting and the development of new technologies need be determinative of whether those principles will apply to an online transaction (Siemer). It is questioned whether there is any crucial difference between electronic contracts and those concluded in the form of traditional paper-based means (Saul). The elements of forming a contract online include of an offer being placed, Acceptance, Intention to create legal relations and consideration. Offers and acceptances over the internet can arise when parties exchange e mail messages, engage in electronic data interchange, or fill out forms on Web pages (Gary P). The requirements for forming a valid contract in an electronic commerce transaction are met, for example through actions such as an exchange of an email, Click warp agreement and downloading software or programs. The basic components of a buyers contract to buy goods are the same whether the transaction is completed formally in person or online. Only the form of the offer and acceptance are different in the two environments. When a seller advertises goods for sale on a Web site, that seller is not making an offer, but is inviting others from potential buyers. When a buyer submits an order, which is an offer, the seller can accept that offer and create a contract. If the seller does not have the ordered items in stock, the seller has the option of refusing the buyers order outright or counter offering with a decreased amount. The buyer then has the option to accept the sellers counteroffer.

The rules relating to contracts within Australia are carefully conceived, whereby a contract is formed when and where the offeror manifests acceptance (George B delta). Contracts accepted online should be deemed formed when the offerors computer receives the message. Thus, if a consumer contract is formed online, the contract should be deemed formed when and where the consumer receives the seller’s acceptance. Australia’s Electronic Transactions Act of 1999 (ETA) also plays an important role in determining the place of an offer or acceptance of a contract by imposing default on the transmission and receipt of electronic messages. There are various methods of online contracting. Commonly, contracts formed via e-mail exchange resemble traditional contracts insofar that a ‘human decision-maker reviews the contractual relationship at both ends of the deal’ in the following way: A sends an e-mail offer to B proposing a contract and, after reviewing the proposal, B indicates his or her acceptance by e-mail or in some other way. Email is simply the digital equivalent of a letter, and for authentication and verification purposes, the sender can digitally sign emails (T Siemer). Pursuant to The Electronic Transactions Act of 1999, where an email is contemplated as a means of acceptance, that acceptance occurs when the email is sent and it will be deemed to have been received at the address of the customer, regardless of where in fact the email has been received by them or not, in this situation there is no confirmation or nor any other alert to the customer and the contract will be completed without any further notice to the customer. Bearing in mind the fact that e-commerce actions take place inside a cybernetic system, there are many legal issues that arise from e-commerce which are linked with the...
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