Sales Agents

Have you been unfairly dismissed?

Sales agent compensation

Have you been working as a sales agent and had your contract changed or terminated? Have you been unfairly treated by your principle? If you have been subject to this treatment then call us as you may be due compensation. 

It is not uncommon for many industries to engage Agent’s to sell their products. The Toy, Gift, Greeting Card, Homewares and Clothing industries are just some of the many, where traditionally self-employed Agents are found in large numbers. One would also argue that, of the 2,500 companies that exhibit at the International Spring Fair at the NEC in February each year, that more companies will engage Agents as opposed to employing a sales force.

Many Sales Agents will sell products for more than one company, which may mean that they are under pressure to devote their time equally between stands at exhibitions, and it is important that the ranges they carry don’t conflict with each other. For many Agent’s and Principal’s time allocated to attend trade, stands can be a very contentious issue and one which may result in the start of the breakdown in the relationship.

The relationship between Agent and Principal

While Agents are free to choose how they spend their time representing different companies, one of the key issue’s is they are self-employed and not salaried. Thus, they are reliant on their Principal’s paying them promptly for any orders that they take. It is also important that the orders they make, are supplied by their customer’s needs, and that they are paid for any orders placed with their Principal, either that they take personally, or are phoned through to their Principal’s offices. In the case of customers placing telephone orders directly with a Principal, it is important that the Agent is made aware of the value of the orders placed, and they are paid accordingly for these too.

An Agent also needs to be made aware of which of their customers visit their Principal’s trade stands, and place orders, when they are attending the trade stand of one of their other agencies, and that they are not penalised for not being present. It is also crucial that Agents are made aware of any new accounts or leads that are taken on their area at trade shows, and are given the opportunity to follow these up. It is not uncommon for the Principal to decide to “cherry pick” what they tell Agents, which is unfair unless there is a written agreement which includes a “non-exclusivity” clause. In addition, an Agent wants to be assured that if they do develop a significant turnover with a certain customer, that the Principal will not try and nominate the account as being a “house account”, and thus try and remove any obligation to pay the Agent any commission.

We are also aware that sometimes after an Agent has been working with a Principal for some years that the Principal may decide to produce a contract that they wish the Agent to sign, which may be on less beneficial terms than what they currently have. Such conditions may include a provision to pay the Agent “indemnity” rather than “compensation” should the Agency end, which only serves to benefit the Principal and not the Agent. Other issues that may arise include either changing territory boundaries, or reducing commission rates, either of which is probably likely to adversely impact on the Sales Agent.

What can I do?

If you are an Agent and you have been affected by any of the above issues, or you believe that you are Agency has been unfairly terminated, then please call us on 03003 033 819 or leave a message via our contact form and we will get back to you within 2 business days.

How can we help?

The information on our website is intended to provide an overview of the services that we provide and does not constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss your particular circumstances please contact us.

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