When I leased my first hybrid vehicle, the amount of paperwork involved surprised me. Naturally, I prepared myself for the lease signing. I knew it would take at least an hour to sort out the details. I packed a book and a bottle of water for the wait. However, the actual amount of paper involved shocked me.
With the details confirmed, I watched in astonishment as the finance person printed out two sets of documents. He even wore a rubber grip on one finger to make sorting through the papers easier. He riffled through the pile of printed papers quickly and efficiently, sorting them into two stacks. I could tell he had done this many, many times before. One stack he signed, stapled, and stuffed into a folder for me.
He explained this was my copy, printed double sided. There was no need for me to sign it, but he signed it. This felt very weird to me that there might not be an original document with signatures of both parties involved. I asked about e-signing. The finance person explained it was no longer an option because of fraud.
While I sat puzzled by this piece of information, the next set of documents slid towards me under the slot of the plastic partition. Printed single sided, I had to sign and initial the papers. Which I did in lots of places, highlighted in bright yellow by the finance person as I skimmed the documents. With the tedious signing process completed, the stack was ready for scanning. The whole process felt strange and outdated to me. And why couldn’t I get a copy of the scanned version? What was the point of giving me my own set of partially signed paper documents to scan myself later?
Puzzling through the sequence of steps later, the records-side of me had to wonder, where was the original? Could there still be an original with only partially signed documents? And if fraud happened in the first rounds of using e-signing, why couldn’t I e-sign directly with the finance person after he confirmed my identity?
As I drove away, listening to the purr of the quiet electric motor, I couldn’t help but wonder if we’ll ever be free of these inefficient, oudated, processes.