Urgent warning issued after man is ordered to pay $61,600 after sending an emoji

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By Nasima Khatun

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An urgent warning has been issued after a man suffered major financial consequences for sending an emoji.

Now, in the past decade, communication has changed a lot thanks to the internet.

Communication across the internet, especially with the importance of social media, has now made it easier to say more without actually having to say a lot at all. From acronyms such as LOL (laugh out loud), GTG (got to go) NGL (not gonna lie) all the way to GIFs and memes.

But perhaps the most effective way of communicating now is through the use of emojis.

wp-image-1263221579 size-full
Emoticons are displayed on the Touch Bar on a new Apple MacBook Pro laptop. Credit: Stephen Lam/Getty

That's right, over the past few years, emojis have become a staple for the majority of us when it comes to texts, social media comments and they've even managed to seep into emails.

But just how important are they?

One man from Saskatchewan, Canada found out the hard way after he was fined a hefty sum for using an emoji to respond to a contract sent to him by text message.

Chris Achter, who is a farmer, argued his case, telling a judge that he used the "thumbs up" emoji to acknowledge receipt of the contract rather than agree to it, but a judge ruled that it stood as a contractual agreement.

According to a report published by the BBC, he has now been ordered to pay 82,000 Canadian dollars (approx 61,610 US dollars).

Legal action was taken against Achter by Kent Mickleborough after he failed to deliver 86 tonnes of flax to the grain buyer back in November 2021.

Mickleborough alleged that the pair had spoken on the phone about the purchase but after texting the farmer a draft of a contract, alongside the message "please confirm flax contract", Achter failed to pull through by the specified date.

However, he responded to the message with a thumbs up emoji.

The customer also stated that he and Achter had been in business with each other for a long time, and agreed to contracts via text message in the past, which prompted him to believe the emoji signified full cooperation.

However, the farmer argued that the thumbs-up emoji "simply confirmed that I received the flax contract. It was not a confirmation that I agreed with the terms."

In June this year, a judge sided with Mickleborough, citing the official definition of the said emoji stating that "it is used to express assent, approval or encouragement in digital communications."

"I am not sure how authoritative that is but this seems to comport with my understanding from my everyday use - even as a latecomer to the world of technology," Justice Timothy Keene wrote after investigating all the evidence presented in the case.

"This court readily acknowledges that a thumbs-up emoji is a non-traditional means to 'sign' a document," he continued. "But nevertheless under these circumstances this was a valid way to convey the two purposes of a 'signature'" he said - to identify the signatory, which is done using Mr Achter's cell phone number, and to convey acceptance of the contract.

"I agree that this case is novel (at least in Saskatchewan), but nevertheless this Court cannot (nor should it) attempt to stem the tide of technology and common usage," the judge concluded.

Now, a legal expert is warning that judges in other countries may see the ruling as a precedent for rulings in their respective countries.

Andrew Rich, the head of national industrial and employment law at Slater and Gordon in Australia, told 7News: "An Australian court can consider this legal decision when making a ruling. It can be thought of as a suggestion or advice from another court."

Let this be a life lesson to you all.

Featured Image Credit: Chesnot/Getty

Urgent warning issued after man is ordered to pay $61,600 after sending an emoji

vt-author-image

By Nasima Khatun

Article saved!Article saved!

An urgent warning has been issued after a man suffered major financial consequences for sending an emoji.

Now, in the past decade, communication has changed a lot thanks to the internet.

Communication across the internet, especially with the importance of social media, has now made it easier to say more without actually having to say a lot at all. From acronyms such as LOL (laugh out loud), GTG (got to go) NGL (not gonna lie) all the way to GIFs and memes.

But perhaps the most effective way of communicating now is through the use of emojis.

wp-image-1263221579 size-full
Emoticons are displayed on the Touch Bar on a new Apple MacBook Pro laptop. Credit: Stephen Lam/Getty

That's right, over the past few years, emojis have become a staple for the majority of us when it comes to texts, social media comments and they've even managed to seep into emails.

But just how important are they?

One man from Saskatchewan, Canada found out the hard way after he was fined a hefty sum for using an emoji to respond to a contract sent to him by text message.

Chris Achter, who is a farmer, argued his case, telling a judge that he used the "thumbs up" emoji to acknowledge receipt of the contract rather than agree to it, but a judge ruled that it stood as a contractual agreement.

According to a report published by the BBC, he has now been ordered to pay 82,000 Canadian dollars (approx 61,610 US dollars).

Legal action was taken against Achter by Kent Mickleborough after he failed to deliver 86 tonnes of flax to the grain buyer back in November 2021.

Mickleborough alleged that the pair had spoken on the phone about the purchase but after texting the farmer a draft of a contract, alongside the message "please confirm flax contract", Achter failed to pull through by the specified date.

However, he responded to the message with a thumbs up emoji.

The customer also stated that he and Achter had been in business with each other for a long time, and agreed to contracts via text message in the past, which prompted him to believe the emoji signified full cooperation.

However, the farmer argued that the thumbs-up emoji "simply confirmed that I received the flax contract. It was not a confirmation that I agreed with the terms."

In June this year, a judge sided with Mickleborough, citing the official definition of the said emoji stating that "it is used to express assent, approval or encouragement in digital communications."

"I am not sure how authoritative that is but this seems to comport with my understanding from my everyday use - even as a latecomer to the world of technology," Justice Timothy Keene wrote after investigating all the evidence presented in the case.

"This court readily acknowledges that a thumbs-up emoji is a non-traditional means to 'sign' a document," he continued. "But nevertheless under these circumstances this was a valid way to convey the two purposes of a 'signature'" he said - to identify the signatory, which is done using Mr Achter's cell phone number, and to convey acceptance of the contract.

"I agree that this case is novel (at least in Saskatchewan), but nevertheless this Court cannot (nor should it) attempt to stem the tide of technology and common usage," the judge concluded.

Now, a legal expert is warning that judges in other countries may see the ruling as a precedent for rulings in their respective countries.

Andrew Rich, the head of national industrial and employment law at Slater and Gordon in Australia, told 7News: "An Australian court can consider this legal decision when making a ruling. It can be thought of as a suggestion or advice from another court."

Let this be a life lesson to you all.

Featured Image Credit: Chesnot/Getty