sales-rep-articles

From Toothless to Tigers: A Look at State Sales Rep Statutes

“Hey, Adam,” begins many an incoming office call, “the principal who owes me back commissions didn’t remember that our contract says Tennessee law (or Utah, Colorado, New Jersey, Georgia, etc.) applies. I can get triple commissions, right?”

“Well,” begins the formal, technical response to many such calls, while stalling for time. Then, the very first legal phrase taught in law school is invoked: “That depends.”

Many independent reps are familiar with sales rep protection statutes. These state laws are generally intended to help level the playing field with their principals when a commission dispute arises.

Determined Sales Rep Recovers Commissions Plus Exemplary Damages from Bullheaded Principal

Most reps hunt for some valuable takeaways when a relationship with a principal ends badly. No hard searching was necessary after a recently completed rep-principal trial in Chicago, where the final count of useful "lessons learned" proved nearly as abundant as the sales rep's recovery.

Two Ships May Pass in the Night But Not Commission-Free

In certain industries, sales reps are accustomed to fighting tooth and nail to recover commissions from manufacturers, both during and after their representation. And in situations where the rep procured sales before termination that do not close until after — when a new rep is in place — the hunt for commission dollars can grow fierce, even cutthroat.

The Procuring Cause Doctrine Enables Even Employees to Recover Post-Termination Commissions

Employed for several years as a field sales representative for Paul M. Wolff Co., a subcontractor specializing in concrete finishing services known as PMW, Miller was responsible for facilitating and overseeing projects within his territory. When a project is awarded to PMW, the rep completes the final step toward earning a commission by managing the company’s performance through completion of the project.