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Does the seller owe me a commission for helping me sell his business


Thanks for “hearing” my sheilah. A few weeks ago I saw an ad in a Jewish newspaper for a small online business for sale. I called and spoke to the seller (lets call him Abe) a few times & was interested in possibly buying it. He also emailed me the business tax return & ledger. In the course of our conversation it turned out that the business was located in my city (somewhere in the USA) & I knew the landlord (let call him Moe) that the business was renting space from. Abe told me that in the past the landlord has expressed interest in buying the business but they couldn’t agree on terms. I, the prospective buyer told Abe that I would like to visit his business to check it out. As Abe lives in Israel & runs this business remotely he told me to contact Moe to arrange a time as he has access to the office. I did that & was scheduled for the next day. On the day that I was suppose to visit the business I received an email from Abe telling me not to go as something had come up. It turns out that Moe I guess after receiving the call from me, emailed Abe & did a deal with him to buy the business. My request to visit the office must have pushed Moe into doing the deal before losing it. My question is 1) was Moe allowed to do that 2) Was Abe allowed to accept that offer 3) does Abe owe me any brokers commission for in a way I helped him sell his business Thank you.


Answer from Horav Y. Fleishman shlit”a

  1. If you didn’t make a firm commitment to buy it he isn’t an oney hapehapeich becharoro and as such neither buyer or seller violates this din. If he made a firm commitment even verbally to sell to you the seller could be a mechusar amono but if not he won’t have the prob either. The buyer perhaps wasn’t a big tsaddik in grabbing another person’s deal
  2. You are not entitled to commission bec-you weren’t hired to do that job. Therefore you could only request payment as a yoreid. The Nesevos says in a few places that a yoreid is a person who acts in order to help another. In your case you did it for yourself so you are not  a yoreid



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