The Gemara states:

One who presents a dinar to a money changer [to assess its authenticity] and it is found to be bad, it is taught in one baraita that if the money changer is an expert, he is exempt from liability, but if he is an ordinary person he is liable. [Bava Kamma 99b]

Why is that so? Shouldn’t it be the opposite? If you go a known expert and he tells you wrong, he should be liable; but if you go to someone who tells you up front he is an amateur, and he tells you wrong, well, you knew the risks, so he should not be liable.

  • רמב"ם מכירה 12.5 עד מתי יהיה לו לחזור ולתבוע ההונייה או לבטל המקח עד כדי שיראה לתגר או לקרובו ואם שהה יותר מזה אפילו לקח שוה מאה במאתים אינו חוזר. – kouty Jul 27 at 3:25
  • Please confirm that my edit matches your intent. – DonielF Jul 27 at 23:39
  • The line breaks? They are fine. Sometimes when my posts are edited to add a Sefaria link the line breaks get messed up and I have to go back in to correct them. – Maurice Mizrahi Jul 28 at 0:02

Being that a money changer is expert he isn't liable for a mistake. The Gemara is clear that it is a situation where the money changer had no reason to think he may wrong.Therefore if he is, it is considered beyond his control so he has no liability.

A guy on the street who doesn't know so much about coins shouldn't be offering his uneducated opinions and potentially misleading others to begin with. Therefore if he is wrong he is liable.

The Gemara is not referring to a situation where the money changer was getting paid for his opinion.

The Rambam Hilchos Sechirus 10:5 says as follows

הַמַּרְאֶה דִּינָר לְשֻׁלְחָנִי וְאָמַר לוֹ יָפֶה הוּא וְנִמְצָא רַע אִם בְּשָׂכָר רָאָהוּ חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא בָּקִי וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהִתְלַמֵּד. וְאִם בְּחִנָּם רָאָהוּ פָּטוּר וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בָּקִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהִתְלַמֵּד. וְאִם אֵינוֹ בָּקִי חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא בְּחִנָּם וְהוּא שֶׁיֹּאמַר לַשֻּׁלְחָנִי עָלֶיךָ אֲנִי סוֹמֵךְ אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים מַרְאִין שֶׁהוּא סוֹמֵךְ עַל רְאִיָּתוֹ וְלֹא יַרְאֶה לַאֲחֵרִים.

When a person shows a coin to a money changer and he says that it is acceptable for use, and it is discovered to be unacceptable, if he charged for his services, he is obligated to pay even though he is an expert and does not require further training. If he did not charge, he is not liable, provided he is an expert and does not require further training. If he is not an expert, he must reimburse the questioner even when he does not charge for his services. The above applies when the questioner tells the money changer: "I am relying upon you," or it is obvious from the situation that he is relying on his opinion and is not seeking another opinion

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  • Looks like the Rambam is just repeating the Gemara. Does not answer the question. – Maurice Mizrahi Jul 27 at 1:40
  • 2
    @MauriceMizrahi did you read the Rambam as quoted? It supports this answer. – msh210 Jul 27 at 3:32
  • Doesn't liability go well beyond whether or not you are paid for your services? – Maurice Mizrahi Jul 27 at 18:31
  • Liability does go beyond whether or not you are paid for your services or not but why would an expert voluntarily giving his opinion be responsible for a mistake that was beyond his control? If he took money for his opinion, however, then he also took responsibility. – Schmerel Jul 27 at 18:58

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