A Saskatchewan farmer is facing hefty fines after failing to fulfill a delivery agreement and using the thumbs-up emoji as confirmation.
In 2021, Kent Mickleborough, a grain buyer from South West Terminal, engaged in a transaction with Chris Achter, a farmer based in Swift Current, to purchase 86 tonnes of flax.
Mickleborough confirmed the purchase by sending a picture of the contract, which specified a November 2021 delivery date. He wrote, “Please confirm flax contract,” to which Achter responded with a 👍 emoji.
Mickleborough interpreted this as an acceptance of the agreement, considering their previous successful transactions where Achter confirmed orders via text and delivered them on time.
In his affidavit, Achter denied accepting the thumbs-up emoji as a digital signature for an incomplete contract. He clarified that he hadn’t had the chance to review the flax contract and only wanted to acknowledge the receipt of Mickleborough’s message.
However, the court ruled in favor of Mickleborough, acknowledging that the emoji does constitute a contractual agreement.
Justice Timothy Keene referred to Dictionary.com, which defines the emoji as expressing assent, approval, or encouragement in digital communications.
“While a 👍 emoji may be considered unconventional for ‘signing’ a document, it is still a valid method to convey the two essential functions of a signature in this context,” stated Keene in his decision.
Image credit: Shutterstock
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