The Fifteenth Arbitrazh Court of Appeal in Rostov-on-Don confirmed the decision of the court of first instance, which recognized the “thumbs up” emoji in correspondence as confirmation equivalent to a signature under an additional agreement.
According to the circumstances of the legal dispute, individual entrepreneur Siranush Harutyunyan in March 2022 entered into a purchase and sale agreement with individual entrepreneur Rodion Rudenko for the supply of a Volkswagen T1 van. The agreement provided that the colors of the kiosk would be approved by the parties by an additional agreement to the agreement until 30 April 2022. The seller undertakes to ship the goods by 30 June 2022.
The van was not delivered on time, and therefore on 4 July 2022, Harutyunyan sent a claim demanding the return of the deposit within ten banking days. In response to the claim, Rudenko indicated that no additional agreement was concluded between the parties, which does not allow the production of the kiosk to be completed on time. Then the entrepreneur filed a claim with the Arbitration Court of the Krasnodar Territory to recover 480 thousand rubles, as well as interest for the use of other people's funds. The court decided to recover from Rudenko unjust enrichment in the amount of 480 thousand rubles. and interest in the amount of 27.5 thousand rubles. for the period from 15 July 2022 to 13 April 2023. Rudenko appealed the decision to the Arbitration Court of Appeal in Rostov-on-Don.
Rudenko argued in his appeal that without agreeing on the colors of the kiosk with an additional agreement, he could not fulfill the terms of the contract and transfer the van to the buyer on time.
The court, however, ruled that the WhatsApp correspondence presented in the case file showed that the parties discussed the color and size of the kiosk. On 6 April 2022, Rudenko wrote: “Okay, yellow stripe on a white background,” and received a “thumbs up” emoji in response.
“This sign in the generally accepted and common understanding when communicating via electronic correspondence means “good,” the court notes.
In addition, the court considered that the absence of an additional agreement approving the color of the van does not deprive the plaintiff of the right to demand a refund for goods not delivered on time.
See Resolution of the arbitrazh court of appeal in Case No. A32-36944/2022 15AP-8889/2023 dated 29 June 2023