Article 40.

Uniform Electronic Transactions Act.

66-311.  Short title.

This Article may be cited as the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-312.  Definitions.

As used in this Article, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the term:

(1)        "Agreement" means the bargain of the parties in fact, as found in their language or inferred from other circumstances and from rules, regulations, and procedures given the effect of agreements under laws otherwise applicable to a particular transaction.

(2)        "Automated transaction" means a transaction conducted or performed, in whole or in part, by electronic means or electronic records, in which the acts or records of one or both parties are not reviewed by an individual in the ordinary course in forming a contract, performing under an existing contract, or fulfilling an obligation required by the transaction.

(3)        "Computer program" means a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in an information processing system in order to bring about a certain result.

(4)        "Consumer transaction" means a transaction involving a natural person with respect to or affecting primarily personal, household, or family purposes.

(5)        "Contract" means the total legal obligation resulting from the parties' agreement as affected by this Article and other applicable law.

(6)        "Electronic" means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.

(7)        "Electronic agent" means a computer program or an electronic or other automated means used independently to initiate an action or respond to electronic records or performances in whole or in part, without review or action by an individual.

(8)        "Electronic record" means a record created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means.

(9)        "Electronic signature" means an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to, or logically associated with, a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.

(10)      "Governmental agency" means an executive, legislative, or judicial agency, department, board, commission, authority, institution, or instrumentality of the federal government or of a state or of a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of a state.

(11)      "Information" means data, text, images, sounds, codes, computer programs, software, databases, or the like.

(12)      "Information processing system" means an electronic system for creating, generating, sending, receiving, storing, displaying, or processing information.

(13)      "Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, governmental agency, public corporation, or any other legal or commercial entity.

(14)      "Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(15)      "Security procedure" means a procedure employed for the purpose of verifying that an electronic signature, record, or performance is that of a specific person or for detecting changes or errors in the information in an electronic record. The term includes a procedure that requires the use of algorithms or other codes, identifying words or numbers, encryption, or callback or other acknowledgment procedures.

(16)      "State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The term includes an Indian tribe or band, or Alaskan native village, which is recognized by federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.

(17)      "Transaction" means an action or set of actions occurring between two or more persons relating to the conduct of consumer, business, commercial, or governmental affairs. (2000-152, s. 1; 2001-295, s. 1.)

 

66-313.  Scope.

(a)        Except as otherwise provided in subsections (b), (c), and (e) of this section, this Article applies to electronic records and electronic signatures relating to a transaction.

(b)        This Article does not apply to a transaction to the extent it is governed by:

(1)        A law governing the creation and execution of wills, codicils, or testamentary trusts.

(2)        Chapter 25 of the General Statutes other than G.S. 25-1-306, Article 2, and Article 2A.

(3)        Article 11A of Chapter 66 of the General Statutes.

(c)        This Article applies to an electronic record or electronic signature otherwise excluded from the application of this Article under subsection (b) of this section to the extent it is governed by a law other than those specified in subsection (b) of this section.

(d)       A transaction subject to this Article is also subject to other applicable substantive law.

(e)        This Article shall not apply to:

(1)        Any notice of the cancellation or termination of utility services, including water, heat, and power.

(2)        Any notice of default, acceleration, repossession, foreclosure or eviction, or the right to cure, under a credit agreement secured by, or a rental agreement for, a primary residence of an individual.

(3)        Any notice of the cancellation or termination of health insurance or benefits, or life insurance or benefits, excluding annuities.

(4)        Any notice of the recall of a product, or material failure of a product that risks endangering health or safety.

(5)        Any document required to accompany the transportation or handling of hazardous materials, pesticides, or other toxic or dangerous materials. (2000-152, s. 1; 2001-295, s. 2; 2006-112, s. 23.)

 

66-314.  Prospective application.

This Article applies to any electronic record or electronic signature created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored on or after the effective date of this Article. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-315.  Use of electronic records and electronic signatures; variation by agreement.

(a)        This Article does not require a record or signature to be created, generated, sent, communicated, received, stored, or otherwise processed or used by electronic means or in electronic form.

(b)        This Article applies only to transactions between parties each of which has agreed to conduct transactions by electronic means. Whether the parties agree to conduct a transaction by electronic means is determined from the context and surrounding circumstances, including the parties' conduct.

(c)        A party that agrees to conduct a transaction by electronic means may refuse to conduct other transactions by electronic means. The right granted by this subsection may not be waived by agreement.

(d)       Except as otherwise provided in this Article, the effect of any of its provisions may be varied by agreement. The presence in certain provisions of this Article of the words "unless otherwise agreed", or words of similar import, does not imply that the effect of other provisions may not be varied by agreement.

(e)        Whether an electronic record or electronic signature has legal consequences is determined by this Article and other applicable law. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-316.  Construction and application.

This Article must be construed and applied:

(1)        To facilitate electronic transactions consistent with other applicable law;

(2)        To be consistent with reasonable practices concerning electronic transactions and with the continued expansion of those practices; and

(3)        To effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this act among states enacting it. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-317.  Legal recognition of electronic records, electronic signatures, and electronic contracts.

(a)        A record or signature may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form.

(b)        A contract may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because an electronic record was used in its formation.

(c)        If a law requires a record to be in writing, an electronic record satisfies the law provided it complies with the provisions of this Article.

(d)       If a law requires a signature, an electronic signature satisfies the law provided it complies with the provisions of this Article. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-318.  Provision of information in writing; presentation of records.

(a)        If parties have agreed to conduct a transaction by electronic means and a law requires a person to provide, send, or deliver information in writing to another person, the requirement is satisfied if the information is provided, sent, or delivered, as the case may be, in an electronic record capable of retention by the recipient at the time of receipt. An electronic record is not capable of retention by the recipient if:

(1)        The sender or its information processing system inhibits the ability of the recipient to print or store the electronic record; or

(2)        It is not capable of being accurately reproduced for later reference by all parties or persons who are entitled to retain the contract or other record.

(b)        If a law other than this Article requires a record (i) to be posted or displayed in a certain manner, (ii) to be sent, communicated, or transmitted by a specified method, or (iii) to contain information that is formatted in a certain manner, the following rules apply:

(1)        The record must be posted or displayed in the manner specified in the other law.

(2)        Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (d)(2) of this section, the record must be sent, communicated, or transmitted by the method specified in the other law.

(3)        The record must contain the information formatted in the manner specified in the other law.

(c)        If a sender inhibits the ability of a recipient to store or print an electronic record, the electronic record is not enforceable against the recipient.

(d)       The requirements of this section may not be varied by agreement, but:

(1)        To the extent a law other than this act requires information to be provided, sent, or delivered in writing, but permits that requirement to be varied by agreement, the requirement under subsection (a) of this section that the information be in the form of an electronic record capable of retention may also be varied by agreement; and

(2)        A requirement under a law other than this Article to send, communicate, or transmit a record by regular United States mail may be varied by agreement to the extent permitted by the other law. (2000-152, s. 1; 2001-295, s. 3.)

 

66-319.  Attribution and effect of electronic record and electronic signature.

(a)        An electronic record or electronic signature is attributable to a person if it was the act of the person. The act of the person may be shown in any manner, including a showing of the efficacy of any security procedure applied to determine the person to which the electronic record or electronic signature was attributable.

(b)        The effect of an electronic record or electronic signature attributed to a person under subsection (a) of this section is determined from the context and surrounding circumstances at the time of its creation, execution, or adoption, including the parties' agreement, if any, and otherwise as provided by law. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-320.  Effect of change or error.

If a change or error in an electronic record occurs in a transmission between parties to a transaction, the following rules apply:

(1)        If the parties have agreed to use a security procedure to detect changes or errors and one party has conformed to the procedure, but the other party has not, and the nonconforming party would have detected the change or error had that party also conformed, the conforming party may avoid the effect of the changed or erroneous electronic record.

(2)        In an automated transaction involving an individual, the individual may avoid the effect of an electronic record that resulted from an error made by the individual in dealing with the electronic agent of another person if, at the time the individual learns of the error, the individual:

a.         Promptly notifies the other person of the error and that the individual did not intend to be bound by the electronic record received by the other person;

b.         Takes reasonable steps, including steps that conform to the other person's reasonable instructions, to return to the other person or, if instructed by the other person, to destroy the consideration received, if any, as a result of the erroneous electronic record; and

c.         Has not used or received any benefit or value from the consideration, if any, received from the other person.

(3)        If neither subdivision (1) nor subdivision (2) of this section applies, the change or error has the effect provided by other law, including the law of mistake, and the parties' contract, if any.

(4)        Subdivisions (2) and (3) of this section may not be varied by agreement. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-321.  Notarization and acknowledgment.

If a law requires a signature or record relating to a transaction to be notarized, acknowledged, verified, or made under oath, the requirement is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform those acts, together with all other information required to be included by other applicable law, is attached to or logically associated with the signature or record. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-322.  Retention of electronic records; originals.

(a)        If a law requires that a record be retained, the requirement is satisfied by retaining an electronic record of the information in the record which:

(1)        Accurately reflects the information set forth in the record at the time it was first generated in its final form as an electronic record or otherwise; and

(2)        Remains accessible for later reference.

(b)        A requirement to retain a record in accordance with subsection (a) of this section does not apply to any information the sole purpose of which is to enable the record to be sent, communicated, or received.

(c)        A person may satisfy subsection (a) of this section by using the services of another person if the requirements of that subsection are satisfied.

(d)       If a law requires a record to be presented or retained in its original form, or provides consequences if the record is not presented or retained in its original form, that law is satisfied by an electronic record retained in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.

(e)        If a law requires retention of a check, that requirement is satisfied by retention of an electronic record of the information on the front and back of the check in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.

(f)        A record retained as an electronic record in accordance with subsection (a) of this section satisfies a law requiring a person to retain a record for evidentiary, audit, or like purposes, unless a law enacted after the effective date of this Article specifically prohibits the use of an electronic record for the specified purpose.

(g)        This section does not preclude a governmental agency of this State from specifying additional requirements for the retention of a record subject to the agency's jurisdiction. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-323.  Admissibility in evidence.

In a proceeding, evidence of a record or signature may not be excluded solely because it is in electronic form. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-324.  Automated transaction.

In an automated transaction, the following rules apply:

(1)        A contract may be formed by the interaction of electronic agents of the parties, even if no individual was aware of or reviewed the electronic agents' actions or the resulting terms and agreements.

(2)        A contract may be formed by the interaction of an electronic agent and an individual, acting on the individual's own behalf or for another person, including by an interaction in which the individual performs actions that the individual is free to refuse to perform and which the individual knows or has reason to know will cause the electronic agent to complete the transaction or performance.

(3)        The terms of the contract are determined by the substantive law applicable to it. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-325.  Time and place of sending and receipt.

(a)        Unless otherwise agreed between a sender and a recipient, which in a consumer transaction must be reasonable under the circumstances, an electronic record is sent when it:

(1)        Is addressed properly or otherwise directed properly to an information processing system that the recipient has designated or uses for the purpose of receiving electronic records or information of the type sent and from which the recipient is able to retrieve the electronic record;

(2)        Is in a form capable of being processed by that system; and

(3)        Enters an information processing system outside the control of the sender or of a person that sent the electronic record on behalf of the sender or enters a region of the information processing system designated or used by the recipient which is under the control of the recipient.

(b)        Unless otherwise agreed between a sender and a recipient, which in a consumer transaction must be reasonable under the circumstances, an electronic record is received when:

(1)        It enters an information processing system that the recipient has designated or uses for the purpose of receiving electronic records or information of the type sent and from which the recipient is able to retrieve the electronic record; and

(2)        It is in a form capable of being processed by that system.

(c)        Subsection (b) of this section applies even if the place the information processing system is located is different from the place the electronic record is deemed to be received under subsection (d) of this section.

(d)       Unless otherwise expressly provided in the electronic record or agreed between the sender and the recipient, an electronic record is deemed to be sent from the sender's place of business and to be received at the recipient's place of business. For purposes of this subsection, the following rules apply:

(1)        If the sender or recipient has more than one place of business, the place of business of that person is the place having the closest relationship to the underlying transaction.

(2)        If the sender or the recipient does not have a place of business, the place of business is the sender's or recipient's residence, as the case may be.

(e)        An electronic record is received under subsection (b) of this section even if no individual is aware of its receipt; provided, however, in a consumer transaction, a record has not been received unless it is received by the intended recipient in a manner in which the sender has a reasonable basis to believe that the record can be opened and read by the recipient.

(f)        Receipt of an electronic acknowledgment from an information processing system described in subsection (b) of this section establishes that a record was received but, by itself, does not establish that the content sent corresponds to the content received.

(g)        If a person is aware that an electronic record purportedly sent under subsection (a) of this section, or purportedly received under subsection (b) of this section, was not actually sent or received, the legal effect of the sending or receipt is determined by other applicable law. Except to the extent permitted by the other law, the requirements of this subsection may not be varied by agreement. (2000-152, s. 1; 2001-295, s. 4.)

 

66-326.  Transferable records.

(a)        In this section, "transferable record" means an electronic record that:

(1)        Would be a note under Article 3 of Chapter 25 of the General Statutes or a document under Article 7 of Chapter 25 of the General Statutes if the electronic record were in writing; and

(2)        The issuer of the electronic record expressly has agreed is a transferable record.

(b)        A person has control of a transferable record if a system employed for evidencing the transfer of interests in the transferable record reliably establishes that person as the person to which the transferable record was issued or transferred.

(c)        A system satisfies subsection (b) of this section, and a person is deemed to have control of a transferable record, if the transferable record is created, stored, and assigned in such a manner that:

(1)        A single authoritative copy of the transferable record exists which is unique, identifiable, and, except as otherwise provided in subdivisions (4), (5), and (6) of this subsection, unalterable;

(2)        The authoritative copy identifies the person asserting control as:

a.         The person to which the transferable record was issued; or

b.         If the authoritative copy indicates that the transferable record has been transferred, the person to which the transferable record was most recently transferred;

(3)        The authoritative copy is communicated to and maintained by the person asserting control or its designated custodian;

(4)        Copies or revisions that add or change an identified assignee of the authoritative copy can be made only with the consent of the person asserting control;

(5)        Each copy of the authoritative copy and any copy of a copy is readily identifiable as a copy that is not the authoritative copy; and

(6)        Any revision of the authoritative copy is readily identifiable as authorized or unauthorized.

(d)       Except as otherwise agreed, a person having control of a transferable record is the holder, as defined in G.S. 25-1-201(21), of the transferable record and has the same rights and defenses as a holder of an equivalent record or writing under Chapter 25 of the General Statutes, including, if the applicable statutory requirements under G.S. 25-3-302(a), 25-7-501, or 25-9-330 are satisfied, the rights and defenses of a holder in due course, a holder to which a negotiable document of title has been duly negotiated, or a purchaser, respectively. Delivery, possession, and endorsement are not required to obtain or exercise any of the rights under this subsection.

(e)        Except as otherwise agreed, an obligor under a transferable record has the same rights and defenses as an equivalent obligor under equivalent records or writings under Chapter 25 of the General Statutes.

(f)        If requested by a person against which enforcement is sought, the person seeking to enforce the transferable record shall provide reasonable proof that the person is in control of the transferable record. Proof may include access to the authoritative copy of the transferable record and related business records sufficient to review the terms of the transferable record and to establish the identity of the person having control of the transferable record. (2000-152, s. 1; 2000-140, s. 97; 2006-112, s. 24.)

 

66-327.  Consumer transactions; alternative procedures for use or acceptance of electronic records or electronic signatures.

(a),       (b) Repealed by Session Laws 2001-295, s. 5.

(c)        Consent to Electronic Records. - In a consumer transaction in which a statute, regulation, or rule of law of this State requires that information relating to a transaction or transactions in or affecting commerce be made available in writing or be disclosed to a consumer, the consumer's agreement to conduct a transaction by electronic means shall be evidenced as provided in G.S. 66-315, and shall be found only when accomplished in compliance with the following provisions:

(1)        The consumer has affirmatively consented to the use of electronic means, and the consumer has not withdrawn consent.

(2)        The consumer, prior to consenting to the use of electronic means, is provided with a clear and conspicuous statement:

a.         Informing the consumer of any right or option of the consumer to have the record provided or made available on paper or in nonelectronic form.

b.         Informing the consumer of the right to withdraw consent to have the record provided or made available in an electronic form and of any conditions or consequences of such withdrawal. Those consequences may include termination of the parties' relationship but may not include the imposition of fees.

c.         Informing the consumer of whether the consent to have the record provided or made available in an electronic form applies only to the particular transaction which gave rise to the obligation to provide the record, or to identified categories of records that may be provided or made available during the course of the parties' relationship.

d.         Describing the procedures the consumer must use to withdraw consent as provided in sub-subdivision (2)b. of this subsection or to update information needed to contact the consumer electronically.

e.         Informing the consumer how, after the consent to have the record provided or made available in an electronic form, the consumer may request and obtain a paper copy of an electronic record.

(3)        The consumer, prior to consenting to the use of electronic means, is provided with a statement of the hardware and software requirements for access to and retention of the electronic records; and the consumer consents electronically, or confirms his or her consent electronically, in a manner that reasonably demonstrates that the consumer can access information in the electronic form that will be used to provide the information that is the subject of the consent.

(4)        After the consent of a consumer in accordance with subdivision (1) of this subsection, if a change in the hardware or software requirements needed to access or retain electronic records creates a material risk that the consumer will not be able to access or retain a subsequent electronic record that was the subject of the consent, the person providing the electronic record provides the consumer with a statement of the revised hardware and software requirements for access to and retention of the electronic records, provides a statement of the right to withdraw consent without the imposition of any condition or consequence that was not disclosed under sub-subdivision (2)b. of this subsection, and again complies with subdivision (3) of this subsection.

(d)       Written Copy Required. - Notwithstanding G.S. 66-315(b), in a consumer transaction in which a statute, regulation, or rule of law of this State requires that information relating to a transaction or transactions be made available in writing or be disclosed to a consumer, where the consumer conducts the transaction on electronic equipment provided by or through the seller, the consumer shall be given a written copy of the contract or disclosure which is not in electronic form. A consumer's consent to receive future notices regarding the transaction in an electronic form is valid only if the consumer confirms electronically, using equipment other than that provided by the seller, that (i) the consumer has the software specified by the seller as necessary to read future notices, and (ii) the consumer agrees to receive the notices in an electronic form.

(e)        Oral Communications. - An oral communication or a recording of an oral communication shall not qualify as an electronic record for purposes of this section, except as other provided under applicable law.

(f)        Consumer Transaction Entered Into in North Carolina. - If a consumer located in North Carolina enters into a consumer transaction which is created or documented by an electronic record, the transaction shall be deemed to have been entered into in North Carolina for purpose of G.S. 22B-3 which shall apply to the transaction. (2000-152, s. 1; 2001-295, s. 5.)

 

66-328.  Procedures consistent with federal law.

Consistent with the provisions of section 7002(a) of the Electronic Signatures in the Global and National Commerce Act, 15 U.S.C 7002(a), this Article sets forth alternative procedures or requirements for the use of electronic records to establish the legal effect or validity of records in electronic transactions. (2001-295, s. 6.)

 

66-329.  Choice of law in computer information agreement.

A choice of law provision in a computer information agreement which provides that the contract is to be interpreted pursuant to the laws of a state that has enacted the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act, as proposed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, or any substantially similar law, is voidable and the agreement shall be interpreted pursuant to the laws of this State if the party against whom enforcement of the choice of law provisions is sought is a resident of this State or has its principal place of business located in this State. For purposes of this section, a "computer information agreement" means an agreement that would be governed by the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act or substantially similar law as enacted in the state specified in the choice of law provisions if that state's law were applied to the agreement. This section may not be varied by agreement of the parties. This section shall remain in force until such time as the North Carolina General Assembly enacts the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act or any substantially similar law and that law becomes effective. (2001-295, s. 7.)

 

66-330.  Severability clause.

If any provision of this Article or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this Article which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Article are severable. (2000-152, s. 1.)

 

66-331 through 66-339.  Reserved for future codification purposes.