Q: I was given an item to sell for a certain price. I decided to acquire it for myself. The price rose, and the owner insists on my paying the higher price. I claim that I already acquired the item at the initial price. What is the halachah?
A: Shulchan Aruch rules that the broker cannot acquire for himself without the owner’s knowledge or agreement. This is because the agent is like the owner, and a person cannot sell to himself. However, if the owner agreed to sell to you explicitly or implicitly (through silent acknowledgment), he annulled your agency and you acquired at the initial price (C.M. 185:2; Sma 185:4).
Others maintain that the broker can acquire, since the owner’s intention is to sell to whoever will pay the set amount, including the agent, so that the agency is null when you decide to acquire (Shach 185:3; Machaneh Ephraim, Shluchim #20).
Thus, on account of the dispute, you cannot be charged the higher price, since you are in possession (Mishpat Shalom 185:2).