Judge Rules Against A Couple Because of "Misleading" Smiling Emojis

May 24, 2017

The emoji you use in a text are cute and fun but they could also be used against you in a court of law.  As odd as that sounds (and the way some emojis look) that is the case for one couple, who must pay a landlord up to $2,200 in damages for a misleading emoji-filled text.  A landlord in Israel had posted an online ad for a house to rent to which a potential tenant replied with a text message of "Good morning (smiling emoji).  Interested in the house (dancing emojis).  Just need to discuss the details.  When is a good time for you?"  Thinking it was a done deal the landlord eventually took down the ad, thinking he had found a promising renter.   However the perspective tenants were not ready to commit after hearing the terms of the deal, which included a slew of texts and conversations.  The landlord felt the tenants had sent mixed messages and had played around too long, which cost him other potential renters, so he took them to court.  In what many would consider a surprise, the judge ruled in favor of the landlord.  Apparently the tenants used numerous smiling emojis throughout the negotiations and the judge agreed that all those smiling emojis were misleading. In his summary, the court said "The [emoji laden] text message sent by [the] Defendant 2 on June 5, 2016, was accompanied by quite a few symbols” which “convey great optimism.”  Even though there was no binding contract to rent, the “message naturally led to the Plaintiff's great reliance on the defendants' desire to rent his apartment."   The judge ruled against the couple citing the "bad faith" of the defendants. "Even towards the end of the negotiations... Defendant 2 used 'smiley' symbols. These symbols, which convey to the other side that everything is in order, were misleading." A final judgement in damages is expected.


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