Historically, a contract between two parties required a hand-written signature from each party to make it law. As technology has advanced making our lives easier (and more complicated at the same time), so too has the ease of being held liable of what we say, imply and text through technology.
A recent decision in a court cases (case law), has pointed out the liabilities we open ourselves through text messages. In 1475182 Ontario Inc. o/a Edges Contracting v. Ghotbi, the Court confirmed that a text message can qualify as a signature in a contract. In this case, the Defendant, Dr. Ghotbi acknowledge a debt owed to the Plaintiff, Edges Contracting, therefore creating a contract of which held Dr. Ghotbi liable for.
In Ontario, a Plaintiff has 2-years to bring a civil matter to the Court. This 2-year period is legislated by the Limitations Act. If a claim is filed after the 2-year period it is considered to be too old (Statue Barred). However, in the Ghotbi Case, by acknowledging the debt, via text, allowed the claim to move forward beyond the original 2-year period.
As business attempts to rebuild itself after COVID-19, it is too easy to send a quick text when dealing with ad-hoc business deals. It is advisable to stay clear of such practices, but if operationally required, always follow-up with an email to further explain and clarify any particulars that may not be captured or explained using text messages.
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