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Over the Range!     Issue #: 098

Over the Range!    "Your fresh-cooked vegetables shouldn't come out of the microwave soft ...

Over the Range!


"Your fresh-cooked vegetables shouldn't come out of the microwave soft and mushy. Our sensor-equipped models take the guesswork out of cooking many common foods by using built-in sensors to automatically set power and time based on food moisture levels." [GE Website]

"Convection oven cooking combined with microwave power produces beautifully baked and roasted foods fast. The convection fan is mounted on the right side of the oven and is surrounded by a 1550-watt heating element, allowing you to convection bake in your microwave oven at any temperature between 225 and 450 degrees." [GE Website]


Anita Gross drove by  David's Appliance Depot on Reisterstown Rd. in Baltimore, MD and saw her to dream GE Profile 1790 sensor technology Convection over-the range Microwave oven featured in the storefront window.

"We have one left. We'll give it to you at our bargain giveaway price of $950. We offer optional payment plans as well with no extra fees! You won't find a better deal anywhere in town...Don't give up this once in a lifetime opportunity. By the next shipment, we're raising the price to $1050", pressed the salesman... Persuaded...though a bit wary...Anita handed the salesman three hundred fifty dollars cash and two post dated checks for three hundred dollars each.

Driving home with her prize in her trunk, Anita stopped off for a pizza at a local Kosher Pizza Shop when she eyed an advertisement in the "Where What When" Jewish Monthly on one of the tables. Abe's Appliances featured her dream 1790 for $694. Mortified, she went home, did some homework and found that she was duly ripped off - over the range! GE's suggested retail price was indeed $694. Incensed, Anita returned the next day to David's Appliance Depot and demanded a sale reversal. "It's a done deal Madam..."


May David's Appliance Depot charge $950 for merchandise valued at $694?


Does Anita have any recourse on the day of purchase?


Does Anita have any recourse the next day?



What's the Law?


The Answer

Generally, David's may not charge $950.  If Anita discovers that she was overcharged 16% of the going rate, she may have recourse (see detailed explanation).


Detailed Explanation


Over the Range! Implicates the following four laws.

Taking advantage of an individual by overcharging or underpaying is generally prohibited [Choshen Mishpat 227: 1].


A customer who discovers, within the timespan necessary to ascertain the true value of the article (and return to the proprietor), that he or she paid more than 16% of the going rate, may generally rescind on the sale and demand his/her money back  [Choshen Mishpat 227: 2].


After the timespan necessary to ascertain the true value of the article (and return to the proprietor, the customer forfeits this right to retract on the deal. We assume that the customer ascertained the value, pardons the proprietor and consents to having been overcharged [Choshen Mishpat 227: 7].


Is a consumer who has not yet paid in full likely to consent to the degree of overcharge after the timespan necessary to ascertain the true value of the article, or does he/she view their holding on the money as leverage through which he/she can use to ensure a fair price as long as he/she still is in possession of the money?   [Ketzos HaChoshen 227: 3]


As valid arguments can be made to both sides, we would leave the status quo, and would not obligate the consumer to continue paying the full agreed upon price.


Are head-checks considered having paid for the article in full?


This depends upon the society. Generally in America one cannot receive cash for head-checks. Additionally, the issuer retains the right to cancel the check. A check is simply an IOU.


However, in Israel it is common to be able to redeem third party head checks for cash. In addition, in Israel, like in Old British Law, it is a felony to indiscriminately cancel a check.


Thus, in an American style society, having given head checks is deemed as though the merchandise has yet to be paid for in full.  Whereas, there is strong reason to believe that in an Israeli style society, forwarding head-checks is as though the merchandise is paid for in full.




David's Appliance Depot overcharged Anita more than 16% of the going rate. Anita did not notify David's or return until the next day which was after the timespan necessary to ascertain the true value of the article. Thus, she theoretically, forfeited her opportunity for recourse. However, two thirds of the payment were in head checks. In America, we will assume that full payment was yet to be paid. We would therefore, allow Anita more time to rescind on the deal.

Busted Refrigerator & Cold Feet!     Issue #: 141b

Issue 141b.pdf (1.30 mb) Busted Refrigerator & Cold Feet!   Refrigerator Their lifelong dre ...

Issue 141b.pdf (1.30 mb)

Busted Refrigerator & Cold Feet!


Refrigerator Their lifelong dream was slowly becoming a reality.  Dr. and Mrs. Jerome Adler (see Issues 107, 108) were relocating from Flatbush to a mountain view apartment on Rechov Nachal Dolev  st. in Ramat Beit Shemesh. 


To ease her transition, Mrs. Adler included American style appliances with 220 voltage in her lift;  a new stainless steal double sided LG Ultra-Capacity 3 Door French Door Refrigerator with Smart Cooling, a matching Over The Range Microwave, and large Whirlpool washing machine. David’s  Appliances on   13th Ave in Boro Park benefitted from her shopping spree.


Mrs. Adler fell in love with the refrigerator. So much so, that she designed her kitchen to fit and match her silver colored cooling treasure.


While keeping their eyes on the prize, their excitement in setting up their kitchen was challenged upon discovering that their refrigerator was a lemon. 


Chagrined, Mrs. Adler complained to David. “We’re presently out of stock of this model. Send it back and we’ll give you a refund,” David generously replied.”


“David! Who’s paying for the space on the lift to and from Israel? If I can’t get this model anymore, what’s with the expenses of reconfiguring my counter space and color scheme?


Cold Feet Meira’s commitment challenges became apparent only after a modest engagement party was held in the local High School’s Auditorium.


Moshe demanded she reimburse his family for the expenses for the party.



What’s the Law?


The Answers


Refrigerator: Purchasing 220 voltage appliances, David knew that the Adlers intended on exporting them abroad. As such, in addition to refunding the value of the refrigerator, David assumes the responsibility and liability for the shipping of the defective refrigerator back to the store.


Unless David knew of the defect before the sale, he is absolved from paying for the costs the Adlers incurred by shipping it to Israel as well as from the costs to reconfigure the kitchen.



Cold Feet: Assuming Moshe followed the prevalent custom to throw a party, Meira must compensate him for the financial loss she consciously caused him to lose.


 Detailed Explanation

Busted Refrigerator & Cold Feet invokes the following laws:

  1. A merchant must stand behind his/her product even if he/she did not know that the sold merchandise was faulty [Choshen Mishpat 232: 18].
  2. It is the merchant’s responsibility to retrieve the defective merchandise. The merchant assumes retrieval costs which should be expected and may not coerce the consumer into paying for its return. As costs for international shipping can be reasonably unexpected, they are assumed by the merchant only if he/she knew at the time of sale that the consumer intended on exporting the merchandise [Choshen Mishpat 232:21, Nesivos 10].
  3. The consumer’s ultimate useless secondary outlays as a result of having assumed that the merchandise was sound is considered a grama, an indirect damage, for which Beit Din will generally not obligate the merchant to reimburse, unless the merchant intentionally sold the defective merchandise to the consumer, whereby the merchant would have a moral obligation to pay for intentional indirect damages which he/she caused [Choshen Mishpat 232: 21].
  4. If the accepted custom is for the groom to sponsor an engagement party, he may demand reimbursement from the girl if she subsequently got cold feet [Shulchan Aruch Even Ezer 50: 3].

Although, one might argue that the outlay for the engagement party seems comparable to Mrs. Adler’s secondary outlays resulting from her assuming that the refrigerator was sound, a number of distinctions can be made.

a) David’s selling of a defective product was unintentional. As such, secondary costs are viewed as grama,

    Consciously breaking off an engagement after expected expenditures were spent is a direct act of damage [ Taz ibid.]

b) Mrs. Adler’s secondary expenditures were voluntary and not part of the essential purchase. When the accepted custom is for the groom to foot the bill of the engagement party, the bride may compel him to do so through a Beit Din order. As such, upon betrothal, she “forces him to pay for the party”. Hence, if she dissolved the engagement, she must compensate him for the loss she perpetrated against him [Magid Mishna].



Refigerator  David is required to reimburse the Adler’s for their defective refrigerator. As they purchased 220 voltage appliances, he knew that they were intending to export them abroad and cannot claim that the reshipping costs are unexpected. David is thus required to arrange for the refrigerator to be returned and must reimburse the Adlers regardless if he succeeds in doing so.

The costs of bringing the refrigerator to Israel and of the kitchen configuration are secondary. David is absolved from paying for them unless he intentionally sold them defective merchandise.

Cold Feet  Assuming Moshe followed the prevalent custom to throw a party, Meira must compensate him for the financial loss she consciously  caused him to lose. ◆