Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Thumbs-up emoji over text message amounts to contractual agreement, says Canadian judge

A judge in Canada has said that a thumbs-up emoji can amount to a contractual agreement, while ordering a farmer to pay over $82,000 for not delivering product to a grain buyer after he responded with a thumbs-up image over text.

The Court of King’s Bench ruled that the grain buyer, Kent Mickleborough, sent a text to the farmer, saying he was looking to buy 86 tonnes of flax for $17 per bushel, reports CBC News.

He later spoke with a farmer named Chris Achter and texted a picture of a contract to deliver the flax, adding “please confirm the flax contract.” Achter texted back with a thumbs-up emoji.

However, when the delivery time came, the flax was not delivered and prices for the crop had increased, the report mentioned. The farmer argued that the emoji indicated only that he’d received the contract in the text message.

“I did not have time to review the Flax Contract and merely wanted to indicate that I did receive his text message,” he was quoted as saying.

However, Justice Timothy Keene said, “The thumbs-up emoji did meet signature requirements and therefore the farmer breached his contract”. “This court readily acknowledges that a (thumbs-up) emoji is a non-traditional means to ‘sign’ a document but nevertheless under these circumstances this was a valid way to convey the two purposes of a ‘signature,”‘ Keene wrote in his decision.

“This court cannot (nor should it) attempt to stem the tide of technology and common usage — this appears to be the new reality in Canadian society and courts will have to be ready to meet the new challenges that may arise from the use of emojis and the like,” Keene added.

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