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Verbal purchase “agreement”


Kavod haRav,
Thank you sincerely for your help, I really appreciate it.
1. If someone tells a sales lady that they will “take that” or something like “I will buy this item” and then before paying for the item, the buyer decides they no longer want to purchase the items, may the buyer simply not purchase them, or did she obligate herself by saying something to the effect that she would purchase them?
2. Would there be any distinction in terms of obligation if the sales lady may or may not make a commission of the sale? In this particular instance, I asked the sales lady if she works on commission and she said no. The sales lady and the customer are both Jewish.
Thank you sincerely.



Thank you for your question.

In both instances, whether the sales lady is or isn’t making a commission, you can back out and not buy the product. There is a concept called “mechusar amana” (being untrustworthy), and when a person tells agrees to do a deal, and in many cases the person should not back out. Nowadays though, regarding many sales, this halacha will not apply. The reason is because if the law is that the store is obligated to take the product back even after it is sold, then it is as if it is understood that the customer may back out of the sale. This being the case, when telling the sales lady that you would buy it, and she knows that you may back out at any time, it is as if it was conditioned to your not wanting to return it. Therefore, you are permitted to back out and not buy the product.

Best wishes



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