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Contract by Emoji

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Contract by Emoji meter


A judge in Israel ruled against a couple for misleading their prospective landlord via text. The judge found that a few emojis sent by the couple to the prospective landlord communicated an intent to rent and awarded the landlord $2,200 in small claims court. The landlord claimed that previous conversations and emojis reasonably allowed him to infer that the couple was going to move forward with renting the space. The landlord took down the advertisement for the apartment, but the couple never responded to the landlord’s follow up messages.

The landlord filed a claim in small claims court alleging that the emojis mislead him specifically blaming a dancing lady, two people dancing, a chipmunk, a peace sign, a smiley face, and a champagne bottle. The couple denied their intent to mislead and/or rent the apartment stating that they were not impressed with the apartment’s condition. However, the judge still ruled in the landlord’s favor, finding that the series of emojis while not all contained in one text, still conveyed “a great sense of optimism” and awarded the landlord $2,200.

The Court stated, “Although this message did not constitute a binding contract between the parties, this message naturally led the Plaintiff to great reliance on the defendants’ desire to rent his apartment…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.”


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