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Question: Reuven is making a bar mitzvah for his oldest son. He plans on making a lavish event and intends on hiring the most sought-after singer to entertain his guests. He calls an agency and tells them to send their top star. When the big night comes, he discovers that the agency sent a singer who is not a “big name”, and who is relatively new to the industry. Is that a mekach ta’os?
Answer: The simple definition of mekach ta’os is that when I buy a product, I expect to receive that specific product. If I receive something else, which is of lower quality, that is not what I agreed to buy; therefore, the entire deal is null and void because there never was a sale to begin with for this inferior product.
If Reuven would make a deal with the agency to have them send him Singer A, and they send him Singer B, that would certainly be a mekach ta’os, as he never contracted with them for Singer B. This means that Reuven has the option to send Singer B home and render the entire deal null and void. Even if Reuven would come to terms with the situation and agree for Singer B to perform at the bar mitzvah, it would be a new deal, with no connection to the original contract; therefore, he would not have to pay the amount he signed to pay for Singer A, and would only have to pay the value of Singer B.