Uniform Electronic Transactions Act Law and Legal Definition

The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), which was adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) in 1999, guarantees that electronic transactions are just as enforceable as their paper counterparts. UETA provides that: "a contract may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because an electronic record was used in its formation." The act states that any law that requires a physical record will be satisfied by an electronic record and that any signature requirement can be met by an electronic signature.

UETA rules are primarily for "electronic records and electronic signatures relating to transactions" that are not subject to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). But they do affect sale transactions under Articles 2 and 2A of the UCC.

What this means for business-to-business e-commerce users is that if you engage in electronic purchases, you can be held liable for them. Similarly, you also have legal recourse when things go wrong.

The act provides uniform rules to govern transactions in electronic commerce. The rules are primarily for electronic records and signatures relating to a transaction that occurs on and after the act's effective date. "Transaction" means an action or set of actions occurring between two or more people relating to business, commercial, or governmental affairs. UETA applies only to transactions where the parties have agreed to conduct business electronically. The context of the agreement and the surrounding circumstances are the determining factors when the parties' agreement to conduct a transaction electronically is at issue.

UETA does not apply to

  • (1) wills, codicils, or testamentary trusts;
  • (2) the UCC, other than sections 1-107 (rights after a breach) and 1-206 (statute of frauds), and Articles 2 and 2A (sales); (3) transactions governed by UCITA; or (4) transactions states identify as not being covered. Some of the main issues covered under the act are security procedures, record retention, admissibility of electronic records, time and place of sending and receiving electronic records, and errors in and changes to electronic records.