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Is a text message offering to buy something legally binding?

Buffalo, NY |

I sold someone an item (in perfect working condition) At the exchange I even showed the buyer it worked. They sent me a text message later saying it didnt work and that they were going to take it to someone to make sure they were using it properly. I sent one back saying I would buy it back if the expert found it to be not in working condition. (Which i was sure that they would find it to be working fine and the the buyer was not using it properly.)They then replied saying since I offered to buy it back that they just wanted their money back and said they will take me to small claims court if i didn't since i gave them "an offer to buy". I am sure that the item works and that they just decided later they could not afford it as they haggled with me on the price in the first place.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. That someone is wrong. You made an offer and they did not accept that offer. They can't construe the offer as they see fit (the money back) and make that somehow binding

    As another issue, generally items are sold "as is." So unless there are other facts to the contrary (some aspect of fraud or a representation), the fact that it may or may not work for the seller does not matter. Now, as always, they certainly can try to sue in small claims and the judge may or may not find in their favor. Going forward, you are best off using a written agreement that makes clear that the item is sold as is for your records. Good luck.

    This answer is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice regarding your question and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


  2. Agree with Mr. Murello. Your offer was conditional on the item not working, but you demonstrated it was working when sold. If there was no return policy when sold (as on eBay or Craigslist) or just a casual sale with no documents, they're stuck with it and you don't have to offer any refund. Save the text messages on your phone or any other documents (print out of craigslist/eBay listing) in case they bring a small claims action. Good luck!

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  3. As written, your offer was conditional on the item not working. If the item works then you do not have to take it back.

    If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email - Jgold@goldbenes.com