Published on May 17th, 2017 | by Ido Kenan7
💃🏻👯✌️☄️🐿️🍾 Show Intention to Rent Apartment, Says Judge
Emoji and emoticons just cost an Israeli couple a couple thousand dollars.
Yaniv Dahan posted his house for rent on Yad2, an Israeli classified ads site. Shortly thereafter, on June 5, 2016, Yarden Rosen texted him:
The message, originally in Hebrew, reads:
“Good morning 😊 Interested in the house 💃🏻👯✌️☄️🐿️🍾 Just need to discuss the details… When’s a good time for you?”
Dahan removed the ad from Yad2 and went on to negotiate with Rosen and her partner, Nir Haim Saharoff.
In their exchanges, Dahan texted Rosen asking for the couple’s corrections to the apartment contract so it can be signed the following week. Rosen replied (originally in Hebrew): “It’s just that we’re moving the entire house to storage on Tuesday so we’re a little busy.. No worries! I will update Nir :)”
In another text, four days later, Dahan asked if the contract may be signed on Tuesday – two days later – and Rosen replied (in Hebrew): “Tuesday we’re moving the apartment. Maybe Wednesday? By then Nir will have corrected the contract :)”
The couple then “disappeared as if they had never existed,” Dahan claimed in his Herzliya Small Claims Court lawsuit. Rosen and Saharoff later claimed they were unhappy with the house’s physical condition. They went on to rent a different apartment. Dahan eventually found another renter, and then sued Saharoff, Defendant 1, and Rosen, Defendant 2, for ₪14,500 (~$4020), reports Nexter.
In his verdict, Judge Amir Weizebbluth devoted a paragraph to the negotiatory and contractual meaning of emoji and emoticons.
“This is the place to refer once again to those graphic symbols (icons) sent by Defendant 2 to the Plaintiff. As stated, they do not, under the circumstances, indicate that the negotiations between the parties have matured into a binding agreement. However, the sent symbols support the conclusion that the defendants acted in bad faith. Indeed, this negotiation’s parties’ ways of expression may take on different forms, and today, in modern times, the use of the “emoji” icons may also have a meaning that indicates the good faith of the side to the negotiations. The [emoji laden] text message sent by Defendant 2 on June 5, 2016, was accompanied by quite a few symbols, as mentioned. These included a “smiley”, a bottle of champagne, dancing figures and more. These icons convey great optimism. Although this message did not constitute a binding contract between the parties, this message naturally led to the Plaintiff’s great reliance on the defendants’ desire to rent his apartment. As a result, the Plaintiff removed his online ad about renting his apartment. Even towards the end of the negotiations, in the same text messages sent at the end of July, Defendant 2 used “smiley” symbols. These symbols, which convey to the other side that everything is in order, were misleading, since at that time the defendants already had great doubts as to their desire to rent the apartment. The combination of these – the festive icons at the beginning of the negotiations, which created much reliance with the prosecutor, and those smileys at the end of the negotiations, which misled the Plaintiff to think the defendants were still interested in his apartment – support the conclusion that the defendants acted in bad faith in the negotiations. Even if I assume that the reason for the withdrawal from the negotiations was justified, the defendants should have notified the Plaintiff on 8 July, 2016 that they are not sure of their desire to rent the apartment, and that the Plaintiff should consider his steps accordingly. The defendants “dragged” the Plaintiff, “lulled” him, until he found himself close to the beginning of the lease period without having found a renter.”
Judge Weizebbluth ruled partial compensation and trial expenses, totaling ₪8000 (~$2200).