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Richmond home sale becomes farcical after Chinese contract drawn up on WeChat

A judge decided she couldn't rule on the near-$3 million sale because there were too many inconsistencies and differing translations
This detached home on Blundell Road was at the centre of a home sale gone wrong after a deal was struck on WeChat

A judge has refused to rule in a court case involving the botched sale of a near $3 million Richmond home.

The case revolves around a law suit filed by Hong Yang and Yuzhang Wang – owners of a home on Blundell Road, just west of No. 1 Road – against a former acquaintance, Xue Yun Li.

It centres on a convoluted deal originating from a conversation on Chinese-language social media platform WeChat, ending with a disputed contract drawn up in Chinese and allegedly signed by both parties.

To add to the confusion, Li, a former dance partner of Yang’s, had actually moved into the large, detached home in 2017 and stayed there for almost a year before completing the purchase and had, allegedly, made several deposits totalling $200,000 towards the sale.

Ultimately, Li backed out of the sale and bought another property in Richmond, sparking the law suit from Yang and Wang for breach of contract.

However, in her BC Supreme Court decision, Justice Jacqueline Hughes said it was almost impossible to determine the facts of the case, given the discrepancies in each parties’ evidence and that their individual translations of the “contract” differ.

“As a whole, the nature of the evidence on this summary trial application left the Court in the position where it could not find the facts necessary to determine the issues in this case,” Hughes concluded.

“There are simply too many conflicts in the evidence and issues of credibility that would benefit from…cross-examination by way of a conventional trial.

“In the circumstances, I conclude that this matter is not suitable for determination by summary trial as I cannot find the facts necessary to grant judgment on the claim or counterclaim.”

Hughes added that, even if she was able to find the facts necessary to determine liability on the breach of contract claim, “I would not be able to find the facts necessary to assess the plaintiffs’ alleged damages.”

Hughes then dismissed both parties’ summary trial applications.

WeChat messages led to home sale "contract"

Among the court documents recently published were the alleged contract and WeChat messages between Yang, Li and Li’s son, Yang Zhan — all of which are in Chinese.

The alleged contract between Yang and Li comprises of a single page and was apparently drafted by Yang and her husband, Wang.

Certified translations of the documents were before the court, however the sequence of WeChat messages, said the judge, was “not always consistent and, in at least one instance, two translators provided different translations of the same message.”

Li denied the contract’s validity and blamed the homeowners for not being ready, willing or able to go through with the sale.

By way of counterclaim, Li demanded return of the funds she paid towards the Blundell Property and claims damages for unjust enrichment.

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