The man answers incorrectly with an emoji and has to pay €56,000
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iPhone: Theresa Toth

Emojis save a lot of time in communication. However, the case of a farmer from Canada shows that an answer with an emoji can be considered binding.

OTTAWA – Instead of long text messages, many are just using emojis as answers. Al-Mersal Service WhatsApp about expanding it Choose emoji regularly: From all facial expressions to different animals to classic emojis, everything is included. The man now had to painfully realize that the emoji sent must be chosen carefully.

The farmer responds to a contract sent with a thumbs up emoji

Farmer Chris A. from Canada received a contract offer in the form of a text message in March 2021. At that time, South West Terminal wanted to place a large flax order, for which they contacted several Canadian farmers, including the news agency. Reuters mentioned. In the news, the company said it would buy a total of 86 tons of flax at C$17 a bushel (about 25 kilograms) in the fall of that year.

It was reported that Chris A. He responded to the offer, after which a telephone call took place between him and the grain buyers. The Canadian company agreed to write a written agreement for the grower to purchase the flax. Shortly thereafter, the contract was said to have reached Chris A, with a request to confirm it. In lieu of the message, the Canadian replied with a thumbs up.

In court, the judge asserts that emoji can be considered a pledge of contract

South West Terminal took the answer as a promise of contract. However, the supposed agreed linen delivery did not materialize in the fall. The reason: According to Chris A, he didn’t send the emoji as a confirmation of the contract, but only as a confirmation that the message was received. However, as the buyer of the grain was very much expecting delivery, he went to court.

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In the ruling, the court explained that the emoticon is a valid confirmation of the contract.
In the ruling, the court explained that the emoticon is a valid confirmation of the contract. © Canadian Legal Information Institute / Screenshot

There the judge confirmed that although the thumbs up symbol was a somewhat unusual form of binding obligation, it still applied. As flax prices had increased by November 2021 and the buyer had suffered a significant loss due to non-delivery, the court ordered the farmer to pay damages* of approximately CAD$82,200, equivalent to approximately €56,185.

An emoji instead of a signature is a “valid way” to confirm a contract

The court said the emoji sent was a “valid way to achieve the purpose of the signature”. Judgment logicAbout Canadian TV in the beginning CBC mentioned. The ruling went on to say: “Accordingly, the court finds that there is a valid contract between the two parties, and that the defendant breached it by not delivering the linen.”

Laura E. Little, a professor at Temple Paisley University School of Law, described the decision New York times “A great example of the new world of communication.” Anyone who receives a contract or the like via WhatsApp or SMS in the future should think carefully about how they respond to it.

In the past they had to do that Whatsapp users should also be aware of malware. However, Whatsapp is one of the most popular messaging services out there. In addition to emojis, there is one more Well hidden feature that makes chatting easier. (tt) * Dear readers, we wrote in an earlier version of this article that the farmer was fined. This was an error and we apologize for that.

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