You agreed to a price, you have it in writting (yes, email correspondance can be used as an agreement), a deal is a deal.
Buyers and sellers alike both lie when negotiating, it is part of the game. I have inquiries all the time stating how poor they are when buying a domain. It all depends on the name if I budge or not. Do I believe these people??? heck no. But a sale is a sale. Sometimes, I know better, but just want to move the domain. There have been times where I rejected offers, but then end up selling it at a lower price later down the road...
Why would a poor man spend $2.5k on a .us domain for a Brazilan company, considering .us nexus requirements? Why not just register a new dotcom or a com.br, which may be more appropriate for Brazil? Ethically, you should honor this deal; being unable to spot his white lies is your shortcoming, after all. But legally? There's a chance you can get away with it, specially if the other party used a false identity. I mean, say you made this deal with Joe Diaz, a poor man from Brazil; if he is really John Rockefeller of Chicago, then you might be able to argue that you made no deal with John. Then again this might depend on the laws of where you are. Ask a lawyer...
I don't see any reason you can't back out of the deal, legally, ethically or otherwise. A deal is not a deal when someone has been deceptive.
For example, lets say I sell you a piece of software. I give you a special price because you say you're going to use it in a school. You then use it a business and say haha a deal is a deal. You won't be laughing so much when the software police show up at your office. A nice real world example of how a deal is NOT a deal when someone lies.
Yes, your deal is all in writing. So his deception. Hmm. What do you call it when someone obtains goods or services by deception?.
Without knowing all the details I can't tell you what to do, but from what you have said I would have no problem simply going back to them saying you have decided to not sell at that price. You may want to explain that you've done some research and found that the name is worth far more. You may want to mention that you know they lied. You may not.
Of course you also need to decide whether you think you can get more for the name. Just because they lied about why their budget was low doesn't necessarily mean it is really any higher.
It's certainly a good lesson in why you should thoroughly research a buyer before answering their first enquiry, and hopefully you won't make the same mistake again. But forget all this pseudo moral deal is a deal stuff.
Then again. Maybe he has his fingers crossed when he was lying to you so it doesn't count..
I need to clarify my statement above.
Like many, I believe that negotiation is a kind of mental battle, one in which information is a key weapon. Part of the game is trying to gain as much info as possible about your opponent, while limiting his access to info about you. In the course of negotiation, small white lies are usually anticipated by both parties, such as having to "consult with a partner" (to buy time and to disclaim authority). To simply assume that the other side will tell the truth, the entire truth, etc. as if he were under oath ... is simply unrealistic.
However, I do not condone blatant lying to get a good deal. I'm a believer in karma - what goes around comes around. One cannot lie about material info (like type-in traffic, or who one works for), and expect to just laugh it off when caught.
In this the OP's particular example, you have to examine your negotiation with him. Did he actually blatantly lied to you, or did he merely withhold key information? There is a difference, which in this case might be worth several thousand dollars...
There is where I differ, a lie is a lie whether it is small or big. In negotiations, we both lie, so I can't be too hypocritical is saying the seller blatently lied to me. I had a domain which became nationally marketed for a specific product. (I first it on the radio driving home from a trip, it really freaked me out). Turns out the buyer wasn't such a small guy after all, then again, I claimed I purchased the domain for more than I actually did. We both equally lied.
Sellers lie all the time... "let me talk to my partner", "I have other offers on the domain", "I purchased the domain at $$$" (when in fact we only paid a reg fee or maybe a smal drop price), etc..... Just because a seller became a sucker in believing a buyer, a deal is still a deal. It's called moral and honor.
How many out there lied when trying to purchase a domain?? I gaurentee every one of us had and anyone who says they have never lied during negotiations I will call out as a liar. Like I said, a lie is a lie, whether it's big or small, it is still a lie.
Can I have a hallelujah....
EDIT TO ADD: if there is a special condition to which you sold the domain or special circumstance for a discount, write up a contract and include language which involves the circumstnace, include a timeline and a penalty clause. (IE- for a non profit purchased the domain, you gave them a break. State if used for commercial use in a year, they have to pay a penalty unless agreed to in writing)...
What?? I can't believe my eyes. [[Crosses DNQuest.com off the list of people to do business with]]..
First off, I won't address the irony that a "poor Brazilian businessman" is buying a .us name from you which, according to the .us rules and regulations, is supposed to only go to someone with a residence or business presence in the US. Oops, too late. You should have told him to get a .com.br, the ccTLD for Brazil, as his generic term was probably available in it. That part of this equation just doesn't make sense.
Anyways, I don't see how you made this post and didn't see the other irony in it. You searched his email address...AFTER the sale? Why not BEFORE the sale? Granted, it doesn't matter whether or not you were able to find him to not be what he claimed, as a sale is a sale no matter who it's to. That's like selling something at a garage sale, watching the buyer pull out a wad of hundreds from their wallet, then saying "waaaait just a minute there buddy...the price just went up." Couldn't happen in real life - can't happen online...
If you do not wish to sell at 2.5K and you think the "buyer" would still be interested even raising the price on him/her then I would say go for it.
Email him/her back and say you have made an error in your estimation and you where not expereinced enough to place a value on it..
You have consulted a partner with years of experience in the domaining industry and you have to raise your price with a certain percentage.
It's your right to place your own price on the domain and it's your right to cancell the sale in the proceedings of this sale how it took place.
No contracts or whatso ever..
Just your wriiten word in a email stating you are prepared to sell for 2.5k...
This is not sufficient enough to win a legal dispute. You can back out any time if you do not wish to sell unless you have commited to a contract by agreeing to certain terms and conditions.
And even in real life this can be aplicable,.
Using Crooky's example...
-Imagine a young car sales man being asked how much a certain car costs.
-He answers 2.5K.
-Customer agrees to buy and pulls out a wad of cash, a lot more then 2.5K.
-Young car sales man tells the buyer please hold and wait here for a minute and I will return with some paperwork.
-In the meantime he tells his employer about the buyer and his wad of cash.
-The employer instructs the young sales man to tell the buyer to come to his office.
-The employer tells the buyer due to the lack of experience and the young sales man being misinformed about the details of the car and the expected sales price he has to mark up the sales price with a x amount percentage.
-Ending up the buyer A still buying the car or B being dissapointed and moving on.
Can this be done in real life? Yes it can but obviously you can't mention this directly to the buyer in the sense of "I did not know you had so much money, so now you have to pay more!" Of course this is absurd but with a twist like above it is applicable.
But is it acceptable? I think the majority would say "Thanks but no thanks" and will move on to find another car of the same type from another sales man since he/she feels like being scammed or just (if the thought of being scammed doesn't cross their mind) thinks the price is too high.
Now a domain is unique regarding keywords and extension so this is a advantage unless the buyer thinks he has viable alternatives.
This could be your pitfall! If the buyer really wants it and you think the buyer can afford it easily then you could mark up the price. Just don't over do it!.
Regarding the USA residence requirements is also something you should think about!.
Maybe they don't have a USA business presence or person working for their organization..
And it would mean if they would find out they would drop it from their side.
Remember a email is not a contract. At least from the point of view in my own country this is not something I should worry about..
I don't think a email with an agreement to sell something is regarded as a legal obligation.
I would find that hard to believe actually.
So ask yourself the following questions:.
Is there a chance another buyer will come along paying the same exact price or even more in a time period you find acceptable?.
Is your answer No?.
Then Sell it!!.
Is your answer Yes?.
Then take the chance! And mark up your price and restart negotiations..
Just don't start asking $xx.xxx figures!.
But to answer your innitial question (And this my own personal opinion)...you can withdraw your sale and say there has been a miscommunication with your partner(s)..
Of course at your own risk of losing the sale entirely.
People don't like to be dissapointed.
Because of this I would say sell it and experience this matter as a lesson learned. They made a mistake but you did not act upon it...your mistake..
If you act upon it now...you risk loosing the sale.
It's a calculated decision that only you can fully calculate regarding the domain and company in question.
Good luck with your proceedings...
I somewhat disagree with what others have posted above. People are correct that there is a bit of (what some people consider) lying that goes on in negotiations. However, the central issue here is if you detrimentally relied on the statement that then induced you to sell the domain AND if you had known the truth, you would not have sold the domain.
Based on what you have said, it appears you made a deal and then did more research on the prospective buyer. Once you found out he/she/they had deeper pockets than you first anticipated, you want to rescind the deal and up the ante. The trouble with what you are wanting to do is twofold:.
First, before making a deal, it is your responsibility to do all the due diligence (e.g. research). Second, as part of the deal, it was your responsibility to draft a contract to protect your interests (that including all material elements of the deal). In your case, you failed to do either.
Your situation is a good lesson to us all that we need to be more careful with the research we do BEFORE making a deal AND that contracts should be made with the sale of domains.
In the end, I still think you have to live with the deal you made. The opposing party may be ethically challenged (if what you say is true and depending on your viewpoint). Pleading to be poorer than what you are, is a legitimate tactic in negotiations. Lying and saying you a particular entity (e.g. a charity) when you are not, may provide grounds to rescind an agreement. Unfortunately, in your case, the former only appears to be true.
Live and learn.
BTW, $2.5k isn't a bad sale...
Legally you should sell. Morally...do what you feel is right. Doubtful this guy will use any laws against you to force the sale at $2500 but you gotta consider that you did make the deal. If this guy passes will you be able to still sell this domain for $2500 easily? If not then just sell and be done with it. Sorry but that's not correct. If you are referring to educational licensed software...it's a LICENSE...which means you agreed to use it for certain circumstances.
There are no laws violated if I as a customer go into a store and haggle the price down using 150 lies (my mom is sick, my dog ate my old one...blah blah). However salesman can't lie about their products or what they do.
As for that scenario with the car sale...the buyer can easily take the seller to court to force the sale at agreed upon price. Each state has varying laws though. Take Nevada for example...the contract law here for construction contractors states that no deal is binding unless in writting from the OWNER. This happened to me where a pool salesman gave me a great quote...we agreed..I signed the paperwork, I even gave a deposit check that they cashed. However a month later...the owner nixed the deal saying it was too cheap. In Nevada I had no legal recourse.
Jurisdiction is a problem in this case for the Brazilian.
I do agree with one poster saying it can't hurt to see if you can UP the ante a bit..maybe another $1k on top?..
You have already agreed to sell the domain name for the said price of 2.5K and you need to honor that contract. If the buyer lied about his status to gain hand in the deal and you failed to research before you agreed to the final sale price than there is nothing you can do. You should always do your research before you settle on a price for sale, the fact that he lied does not give you any right to pull the sale or ask for more since he did not break any agreement. If you said a factor in buying the domain name was he had to be 18 or older and you found out he was only 17 then yes you have every right to pull the deal off the table.
You did not figure this into your agreement and therefore you will be in the wrong if you pull out of the deal or try to gain more from the deal after the deal was made.
Do the right thing...
So the OP is in a legal position that he is obligated to sell because he agreed to sell in a email?.
Not trying to dispute this but just asking?.
For me in writing would mean a legally qualified contract and not just some correspondence.
An invoice or legal contract that complies to the legal qualifiactions it must meet to be a legal document is a type of writing that would be something that can be presented as binding.
But can just any correspondence qualify as binding? Let's say if I would write on a piece of notepad paper or yellow post it paper I agree to sell a domain for 2.5K then it would mean I would have to legally sell it to you?.
And I can not pull out legally? Would you actually have a valid case in court?.
Like said before I am not fully disputing this but I find this very VERY hard to believe.
It is a very interesting topic actually...
A verbal contract is a legally binding contract (as long as you can prove it was made). A written contract even if it's on the back of a napkin is actual physical evidence of a contract being made and is much easier to prove, the same goes with emails (unless there are some falsification issues). Contracts are the easiest thing to get into, but there has to be reasonable proof that the contract was made for a court to validate a contract...
I think this is the issue at hand and therefor not anything in writing is binding...specially the back of a napkin..
Something in writing can in my opinion (hence my opinion) only be legally binding if such an agreement is validated by a notary or court. And even then the form of the contract needs to be constructed in the proper form.
If I would write on the back of a napkin or post it paper or A4 piece of paper I would sell a domain to you for a x amount and signed it then it still would not be binding in my opinion.
If i'm wrong I would very much like to be proven wrong with actual proof.
Emails the same: If you would ask me to sell a domain for a x amount and I would say "Yes, sure that sounds good, I agree" then it's still not binding since the agreement is not properly structured and validated to be recognized by a court.
I apologize for my stubbornness but unless someone can show me undeniable proof I just can't believe above examples can be binding..
Also a verbal agreement I find hard to beleive to be binding even if it can be proven it happend...
Here's a link to a very simplified explanation of a contract. Of course contracts can vary by state and different outcomes can happen in any court situation. http://www.nolo.com/definition.cfm/t...623482AE9D47FC Here is some more contract information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract pay special attention to the section that says Written Contracts...
The lasher.com link is very good. It even answers his question with the best example:..
This is an interesting thread, indeed, specially in the context of DNOA. Now is the time to nail down ethical issues like these.
Here's a similar question: assume the same deception (buyer misrepresented who he works for), would it matter when the deception is discovered?.
A. during negotiations.
B. after a price is agreed on.
C. after money is sent.
D. after money is received (in case of check, when it is deposited to seller's account).
E. after the item is sent.
F. after the item is received.
What if it were a more serious deception, like outright lying about who you are?..
IMHO A is the only logical and honest answer, you are making a deal based on money and value not personal status and personal values. The question is why does it matter if he lied or not, how exactly does that help/harm the deal...
Deception has nothing to do with the deal. Actually that might be a seperate lawsuit based on fraud. Again...judisdiction and law of the land has to be considered. If 2 people are in the same state/county it's much easier to settle this in a court. Across state lines makes it more difficult but not impossible. And globally...well let's just say if yer screwed if you want to sue someone OUTSIDE the USA.
It's kind of crappy but it's true. A person from China could rip you off for thousands and you have little to no recourse. If you ripped off someone from China...he can turn your world upside down. Not fair but it's reality...
Thanks guys! This is a real eye opener for me!.
Something I found very interesting on the Lasher site: No wonder the U.S. is a law suite happy country.
Thanks for providing the links guys, very informative!..
So because I have morals and honor, you won't do business with me?!?!? That is too funny. Well, there are several less honorable domainers I guess you would be more than happy to deal with Sorry, but this has to be on of the stupidest things I've read in a while.
Again, there is an legal agreement here in the form of emails. Yes, they are a valid form of a written contract. The original question is, is there a legal way to get out of it? the answer is probably "no". But enforcing the contract is another issue.
Now look at it this way, what if you were the buyer and the seller caught you in a lie and wanted to back out of the deal? Would you just say "ok, you caught me, I'll be happy to pay for more for the domain".
A contract = An agreement of parties that has offer. concideration and acceptance.
There is nothing that says a lawyer needs to draw up papers, there is nothing that says a contract must be a certain amount of pages long. It is simple as, I'll sell the domain (offer) for 2.5K (concideration) and the other party says, "I agree" (acceptance) or it can be "I will buy the domain (offer) for 2.5K (concideration) and you say "I agree" (acceptance).
That is the simple way of explaining it. Now, the reason contracts are so long and that there are provisions which one parties wants to address for thier own protection.
So, is it a legal contract? yes it is, is it enforceable? yes, but the buyer would have to do all the work to enforce it. Chances are, they will just not bother...
Thank you for eloborating as well on the matter DNQuest but the matter was already explained by other members posting some very informative links.
Quite amazing actually and ridiculous at the same time..
There is a simple solution here. Email the buyer that you are not allowed, per registrar rules, to sell the domain to a non US entity. End of story. If he wants the name badly enough, he will admit to his deception, or further attempt to deceive you by claiming he has an office or resides here. This is called fraud. If I walked into Best Buy and applied for credit claiming to be John Doe, but my real identity is John Smith, I am going to be hauled in front of the judge.
If he really wants it and admits his deception, then you are in a clear position to change the terms of the deal. It is your property until you have been paid. I would also assume that your state has a right of rescission law if you really want to get into the weeds.
This joker isn't going to come after you for backing out of a sale. It simply isn't going to happen and his case would be weaker than a wet paper sack. DO NOT SELL unless, in your opinion you absolutely will get more money for this name. Yes, ethics are important. But don't for one minute think that you are a bad person for feeling like you have been taken advantage of and terminating the deal...
What! You are not doing biz with my man DNQ just because he has some ethics? I guess that means you would screw someone over in a heartbeat if it meant extra bucks in your pocket.
*scratch* *scratch* (sound of me crossing YOU off my deal list)..
My bad. Should have known the deal is a dealers wouldn't accept a simple proof of concept that you have the right to sell the same thing at different prices to different people.
So how about a tangible non-licensed real world example. Lets say I sell medication. I sell it to poor countries at a lower price. I do this because I care, or because it's good PR, whatever. You buy some meds from me at a discount claiming they are going to help starving children in Africa. You then sell them in the US.
As you have already realised the buyer misrepresenting himself will result in fraud. The OP does not need to complete the deal and then claim fraud. If the OP did the deal knowing it would result in fraud he would be knowingly assisting the buyer commit fraud. Not only would doing this be incredibly stupid, but it would no doubt be a crime. Commit a crime by helping a crook defraud yourself simply because a deal is a deal You have got to be joking!.
What I truly find amazing is this concept that it's ok to lie and cheat in negogotiating a deal, but once you have a deal it's a done deal. Why can't the OP simply go back to the buyer, and say he was lying when he said he agreed to sell the name at that price? Isn't that all part of negotiating by lying?.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If you're open to deception in negotiating a deal then you have to be open to deception up until the instant it's done. Or perhaps people with twisted moral values are hypocrites as well?..
In the domain name world once you make a deal you need to stick with it, this is a big problem in this idustry of people backing out of deals and making high bids only to disapear for ehatever reason. Even some sellers will make a deal with one buyer and then sell the name to another buyer for a higher price. You have the responsibility as both a buyer and seller to get all the facts and do the research before you agree to a deal. You sell a domain name at a price you think is fair and if someone talks you down on the price with some sob story that isn't true then that is on you the seller as you decide the final price. We can go around in circles about this forever as there are many variables that can come into play that will change the right/wrong legal/illegal factor of this discussion.
In this situation the seller has already agreed to sell at a price and apparenlty for some reason the price was based on the buyers sob story instead of the value of the domain. The seller needs to complete the sale and consider this situation a lesson of negotiations...
I can see both sides here, but I agree with the OP not completing the sale.
I believe in being ethical. I also believe that there has to be a line in the sand. I guarantee that any one of these people that are claiming a deal is a deal, under any circumstance, would'nt stop dead in their tracks if they had made an agreement to sell a name for $50 and before they transferred it, learned that is was going to be the next big Microsoft, Mac, etc. product. You can bet your tail that a refund would be on the way.
I don't advocate backing out as a rule. There has to be a sense of trust between parties. However, In the REAL world, if someone decieves you, you are not obligated to let yourself be taken advantage of...
Wow! It's the 11 different opinions from 10 different people thread. Nice!..
I think we are talking about two entirely different things within this thread - the legal side of this and the ethical side of this. I am no lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one, so I am not going to comment on the legal side of things, however when it comes to the ethical side of this, I think the seller has the right to back out of the deal because the buyer flat out lied when it came to his identity. My idea of a good business deal is two people shaking hands to close the deal, knowing that they have reached a good compromise for both people. That is not saying that there can not be little lies within the negotiations, but I think it is the seller's right to know who he is doing business with. He doesn't have to know the person's financial history, or employment status, but with the buyer lying about his country and possibly his name, I think the buyer also is sacrificing his ability to do good ethical business.
As to the theory of "a deal is a deal", I believe that as a general rule, but as with every rule there are exceptions. If I agree to purchase a domain for $20,000, but all of a sudden a family member has an injury, and I find myself in $50,000 of medical debt, I don't think it is unethical to ask the seller to cancel the deal. Now from a legal point of view this may be different, but I don't consider it unethical.
Stop people.. I dont see what the big question is here..
First up, ref contract law: Offer, acceptance, consideration. DNQ explains it (as usual) in clear, laymans terms and since the OP demonstrates how each factor is present here, in legal terms (provided the buyer represented himself (in terms of his real name) accurately) a binding contract exists..
Secondly, morally speaking: backing out of any deal once it is binding (binding in the mind of both buyer and seller) then this is never a good thing and as someone has mentioned here previously, what goes around comes around and reputations in this game can take a second to lose and a lifetime to rebuild. So you might want to think on that one..
Thirdly, lets take the two hypothetical situations in discussion. The first (again as DNQ points out) is a non-starter. If anyone here thinks they are ever going to get a mail from a company informing a domain owner that they need their domain to support their multi million $ product of the same name, then people will be very much mistaken. And from the point of view that you could carry on negotiating once you found out the buyers credentials is laughable. And if you have a reg fee name that youve been offered $2.5k for, then continue negotiations at your peril.
The DNOA imho should be beyond reproach. Its members should be the likes of which that understand what is legally and morally correct. And theres not a lot of grey area here to discuss I dont think.....
I consider a deal done when everyone involved has done what they have agreed to. Sorry if this is a bit vague, but a deal can be anything from hiring a babysitter for a few hours and paying cash to merging two multi billion dollar companies. Deals can be agreed and completed in a few seconds or take decades to complete and require dynamically adjusted exchanges over the course of time.
My point was not to endorse lying, but rather to point out the hypocrisy of the moral argument that it's ok to lie one moment but not the next.
Legally you may lie about many things in negotiation a deal. In fact there are only a few things you can't lie about. In a nutshell this boils down to facts which are material to the transfer. In this case I would consider obtaining a discount by pretending to be someone else qualifies,.
The buyer is perfectly entitled to say All I can afford is $xxx even if it is not true. However when his misrepresents his identity to obtain a discount is a different story. It is a fundamental right that you can choose who you want to sell to. The buyer could have negotiated this anonymously or through a third party. The minute he lied about who he was he had no deal.
Were I stuck in a situation such as the OP now is I would simply respond saying Great, now that we have agreed a price let me draw up a sales contract for you to sign. I would include all the necessary information discussed via email. This would be things such as identity given to me by the buyer and a statement that the name is being offered at a discount. It is then up to the buyer to fill the terms of that contract. If he wants to continue negotiating he would be free to do so...
Excellent discussion, that, to my thinking, defines the issues from several differnt angles that are based upon POVs that are not mutually exclusive. Once I've gotten beyond the black and white, (ie situations governed by law, blatant lies, theft, etc.) and moved into regions that are governed by the grayscale, I take a, very, subjective approach to ethics- call it an "Aikido" approach.
In it's simplest, (perhaps, overly simplistic) form, and as I apply it to business ethics, aikido is a method of blending, (unifying with) the mat, (the ground, the situation, the offer, the negotiation), and your "attacker", (the advertiser, the seller or the buyer.) In short, the way I will approach a situation, (that does not have absolute right and wrong attached to it), will depend upon my dance partner and what the other dancers around us are doing...