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based on ruling 74082 of the Eretz Hemdah-Gazit Rabbinical Courts

Disappointment with Arba Minim Sales Provisions – part II


Beit Din Eretz Hemda - Gazit

Nissan 26 5782
Case: [We will deal with this case’s two elements of dissatisfaction separately.] The defendants (=def) are, respectively, suppliers of arba minim (def2) and the organizer of a "buyer’s group" (def1) to rent the courtyard of a public building (=buil) for over a dozen stands for selling arba minim for three years. There were four empty locations for Sukkot 5774, and def1 raffled them to others. The plaintiffs (=pl; pl1 & pl2 are friends who made a joint claim) won and rented locations for 3,500 NIS for one buying season plus a 500 NIS fee for advertisements (members of the group were exempt from that fee). Pl lost money on the sales, which they blame on def. Def1 provided a map of the premises with 17 sales points. In fact, there were 18, as "the infiltrator" (=inf) operated #18 and an illegal stand on the sidewalk in front of the courtyard; the latter sold at least 100,000 NIS of merchandise. Pl hold def1 responsible for enabling inf to operate in both locations and not telling buyers about them, as inf received electricity from buil, and def1 did not agree to call the police as pl1 requested. Also, def1 added an extra table to his stand on the last day, which prompted inf to start a "price war" that lowered revenue. The claims, for each pl, are: 1,000 NIS due to #18; 5,800 NIS for the sidewalk location; return of the 500 NIS for advertisement, as it was wrong to charge only the four non-group renters. Pl1 admits that he should have told renters about location 18, but explained that he agreed to prevent inf, who has connections with buil, to obtain the whole area, which would have enabled him to raise stand prices. He claims that for years there has been a sidewalk stand, operated by a criminal, so that pl1 who worked there previous years, should have known. Def1 had no way of knowing that the criminal would rent it to inf, or that inf would make improvements. About the price war, all were invited to bring an extra table for the last day, and he is not responsible for inf’s actions.

Ruling: [Last time, we saw that pl1 and pl2 should receive 500 NIS back due to misinformation about #18 but not for the sidewalk stand.]

Regarding the price war, we do not hold def1 responsible. It is agreed that there was a phenomenon of adding on a table on the last day (they disagreed about how widespread it was) and that def1 even tried to help pl do so. Therefore, any damage resulting from this is distant gerama. There was no way for def1 to know inf’s reaction. Even when he saw inf’s reaction and did not back down, pl cannot hold def1 responsible for standing up to him, since pl1 called the police on inf, despite possible repercussions.

Regarding the fee for advertisements, we side fully with pl. If one takes a 500 NIS fee for advertisements, including from people who rented for only a year, the money must be used for that purpose, which def1 was unable to show. Rather, he just broadly claimed that it was needed to strengthen operations over time. Therefore, def must return the 500 NIS to each.
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