Attorneys of Attorneys’ Association «Modus Zilver» won the case (№ 911/1375/21) in the Commercial Court in a dispute about the contract, “concluded” on the platform Freelancer.com
Sole proprietor (“Customer”) appealed to the Commercial Court of Kyiv Oblast with a claim to another sole proprietor requiring to terminate the contract for the provision of IT services and to recover the advance payment, penalties, inflation losses and 3% per annum. As evidence, the applicant presented a “screen printout” of the correspondence between the parties, which, according to the screenshots, was made on the Freelancer.com website.
Defendant’s attorneys argued that neither applicant’s nor defendant’s identities are identified on Freelancer.com, it is impossible to establish whether the parties actually entered into a contract on Freelancer.com. There is no text of the contract itself and it is impossible to establish the agreements of the “parties” based on screenshots. Moreover, in the absence of the text of the contract it is also impossible to apply punitive damages. And also cancellation of the contract doesn’t cause restitution (return of the received items) by virtue of the Civil Code of Ukraine. And, no less important, the defendant did not receive funds from the applicant. In turn, without involving Freelancer.com administrators to the case (as was stated by Zilver attorneys) it’s impossible to establish the terms.
As a result, the attorneys of Attorneys’ Association «Modus Zilver» defended the interests in the case of IT-services.
Based on this practice, we recommend that when entering into contracts on any Internet platforms:
- Save the text of the contract (example of a contract with a developer from law firm Zilver).
- To fix any agreements with signatures of the parties, including digital signatures. We wrote in detail about using digital signatures in our post about digital signatures and contracts on the Internet.
- Identify the parties to the contract/correspondence.
- Make payments by bank transfers or through financial institutions with identification of the sender and the recipient.
A general recommendation for concluding contracts: not only use appropriate online services, but also consult lawyers in advance.