I use the "I have read and agree to the contract" option. It is great not having to email a contract, wait for the renter to sign it and then have them either email or snail mail it back to me. However, when there is a contractual dispute (pay for damages), I am leary about how strong that agreement is.
I recently learned that Echosign.com offers a free account where you can have up to 5 transactions signed a month. I created a boiler plate for my rental contracts, which require me to fill in specifics such as rental period, rate, maximum persons, etc. Echosign then sends my partially completed contract to the renter and "requires" them to supply a name, address, telephone, and electronic signature. Echosign automatically completes a 'date signed' and renter's email address field. Then it sends us both a signed copy of the contract (pdf). While this works fine, it would be preferable if Bookerville had an account with a document signing company. All of these fields could be automatically completed from the booking info except the electronic signature field.
John Amato, December 8, 2012:
Another great topic, and we've looked into these services previously. Docusign and HelloFax are two other similar services.
The key question is what exactly are these other services providing that would need to be updated in Bookerville?
Bookerville currently provides custom contracts complete with information pre-population (using the same tags the Email Templates use). Bookerville can also be configured to require the guest to click a check-box that they have read and agree to the contract (after reading it in a pop-up). When the guest clicks to agree, Bookerville records the timestamp and ip address of the customer and this appears in the Booking Details page.
What exactly is the "electronic" signature? Does this add any additional legal validity, and if so how much?
Thanks as always for the discussion, and we encourage everyone to weigh in on this important topic.
dlxhivac, December 8, 2012:
It sounds like Bookerville is capable of doing everything that I desire but doesn't document the renter's acceptance very well. Currently Bookerville sends me a copy of the contract but there is no documentation that the renter agreed to it. Would it be possible to have the contract sent with a notation that the named renter agreed to the document at a specified date/ time? That would be all that I needed!
jmw11, May 4, 2013:
In my real job we provide software that handles documents and their compliance. Our clients have choices; they can click a button that agrees that they accept the terms and conditions of the document displayed in the web web browser or a button on the web form that has the document attached and displaying in their browser, they can have a field where by typing their name in the field says it constitutes a legal signature or they can use Echosign or DocuSign to sign the documents. We deal with a lot of government and large companies as well as 3 person companies and these all meet their legal requirements. So Bookerville's method should certainly meet your requirements. JW
John Amato, May 4, 2013:
If/when the guest clicks the "I have read and agree to the contract" checkbox, and then proceeds to accept the booking, Bookerville records the timestamp, the user's ip address, and some other information about their browser, etc. You can see this information in the Admin. box in the Booking Details page by clicking on the "Details" link (which only appears after they have agreed):
We have not had very many "challenges" between our VR customers and travelers, but on the rare occasion that it has happened, the mere demonstration (to AmEx, in this case) of how Bookerville's procedure works was enough to win the arbitration. For what it's worth...
John Amato, May 4, 2013:
Tom we should be able to do something like that, I would think. Since the accepting of the contract (or terms & conditions) happens pretty much at the same time as the booking, could this simply be included (optionally) in the Guest Confirmation email template?
dlxhivac, May 4, 2013:
How do I add that to my guest confirmation email template?
Better yet would be to add it to the bottom of the contract.