SALT LAKE CITY, UT, June 1, 2023 – Tour operators who guide people through activities that run the gamut from river rafting to rock climbing use waivers to help protect themselves from activity-related liabilities.
But what constitutes a solid waiver?
WaiverSign recently engaged Chun T. Wright, who serves as legal counsel to businesses across the country, to answer questions from tour operators who are currently using or considering using WaiverSign’s digital liability waivers.
Q: Can one person sign a liability waiver on behalf of a whole group?
Wright: This strategy tends not to hold up in court. The purpose of the waiver is to inform the signer of risks involved with an activity and to give the signer a chance to release the tour operator from liability. If only one person reads and signs, there’s no guarantee that others have been properly informed. Also, without individual signatures, no one else has officially waived their rights.
Q: Is there a family or group booking option that makes collecting online waivers with WaiverSign easy?
WaiverSign: The WaiverSign platform makes it easy for parents to sign for themselves and minors with a single link. If groups of adults are traveling together, the signature link for the required Waiver can be shared with everyone in the group and each individual gets their own signed copy of the liability waiver.
Q: When should guests sign digital waivers?
Wright: Email the digital waiver to guests after they have booked and paid for an activity. This gives them time to focus on the waiver, then to read and to sign.
Q: If signers need ample time to read the waiver, what about walk-ins?
Wright: If businesses ask clients to sign after walk-ins and they are required to sign during a time crunch before a tour departs, those clients may make a “signing-under-duress” argument later in court. This is something to consider when thinking about the timing of signing or electronically delivering the waiver prior to departure when possible.
Wright: Give them a refund. A reluctance to sign indicates that they are uncomfortable with the risks of the activity.
Wright: You just need to show that the person got the waiver, that it's conspicuous, it's stand-alone, that they had time to read it, and that they signed it -- clearly agreeing to a release.
Q: Can I require a signer to initial a paragraph on a digital waiver?
WaiverSign: WaiverSign provides for a final signature at the bottom, requiring a signer to acknowledge the whole document. The platform also allows signers to initial specific paragraphs or sections and even provides for an accept/decline selection at the bottom of any paragraph or section.
Wright: Statutes of limitations for someone to bring a lawsuit against you vary by state and nation (think global customers). In certain jurisdictions, minors can potentially retain the right to sue when they become of age. This means some years can pass from the time of the alleged incident to a lawsuit. WaiverSign offers indefinite storage, making it easy to exceed the statute of limitations.
Q: How do you track clients to ensure they've signed their waivers?
WaiverSign: If utilizing the RESMARK booking system together with WaiverSign, you can take online bookings, and the system automatically sends out emails to collect waivers. If someone hasn't signed by a certain date, the system tracks that and will continue to remind the participant about collecting a signature.
Q: If you're only using WaiverSign (without the RESMARK booking system) do you need to track manually which ones haven't signed?
WaiverSign: Yes. Many companies will utilize a flag in their reservation system that shows whether or not the waiver has been collected. Ideally, they could then trigger messages from that reservation system to let participants know that the waiver has not been collected. With just a digital waiver app, however, that becomes more difficult.
Q: Is there API integration for WaiverSign?
WaiverSign: Yes, WaiverSign offers an API that allows clients and software partners to integrate with the digital signature and data collection process.
Q: What are the main differences between an online waiver service like WaiverSign and a service like DocuSign?
WaiverSign: DocuSign does a great job with custom agreements between two or more parties where the agreement (think real estate) is different every time. With WaiverSign clients sign the same document every time; the same link goes to every participant and a new signed document is created every time. WaiverSign automatically handles the variations of an adult signing for themselves or a parent/guardian signing for a minor. And it creates a contact database of who signed when inside the application.
Q: Can I use my waiver to collect emergency contact information?
WaiverSign: Information such as emergency contact, dietary requirements, height, weight, etc., is collected digitally in advance of signing the waiver itself and then the fields necessary for signing the waiver are auto-populated with the waiver.
Q: Can WaiverSign take payments, or do I need a separate service to do that?
WaiverSign: When using RESMARK together with WaiverSign, each time someone signs, all of the information you collect on that waiver is inserted into the booking and payment collection, providing a manifest with complete data for each participant stored in the system. Using only a stand-alone WaiverSign, you create the booking, collect payment to secure the booking, then send out a link for all participants to sign the required documents.
Q: Does WaiverSign play well with other booking systems?
WaiverSign:The robust WaiverSign API can be integrated into other booking systems or simply send the WaiverSign link when customers make a booking.
Q: What if my company works with a local tour operator and we both have waivers? Do all the participants need to sign all the waivers from both companies?
Wright: One way is to have a single waiver that covers both your business and your partner. Include language that specifically names your partner as a covered entity, so the signer is releasing both businesses from liability. Or, have two separate-but-coordinated waivers that don’t undermine each other and both of which are to be signed.
Q: What is the contractual period for WaiverSign? Would we still pay monthly for off-season times?
WaiverSign: WaiverSign offers a month-to-month subscription that can be canceled and revisited based on seasonal operations.
For more details regarding this Q&A please see https://www.waiversign.com/blog/online-waiver-questions-from-tour-companies
Sign a sample activity waiver and release form and learn more about how the system works specifically for tour and activity companies.
Founded in 2013, WaiverSign offers one of the most efficient, easy-to-use digital liability waivers and electronic liability release solutions available in today’s marketplace. An API (Application Programming Interface) allows other reservation and customer relationship databases to push and pull customer data directly to and from WaiverSign. This provides a simple and fool-proof way for collecting customer information in whatever reservation system being used. For more information, visit https://www.waiversign.com/or call 877.741.7705.
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