Agency and distribution disputes

Agents and distributors can help a business to expand its commercial reach. These agreements can be extremely rewarding for all parties, but can be equally damaging if things go wrong.

Agency and distribution agreements play an important role in many business models and help organisations to maximise their opportunities and manage their risk.

What is the difference between agency and distribution?

It is important to be aware of the difference between an agent and a distributor before entering into any arrangement. An agent concludes sales in the name of your company and is paid commission on these sales, whereas a distributor purchases goods from you and then sells these on in its own name to the end user.

We regularly handle agency and distribution disputes relating to:

  • Misrepresentation
  • Non-disclosure of true sales figures
  • Breach of confidentiality obligations
  • Misuse of intellectual property rights
  • Setting up a competing business
  • Selling competing products or services in breach of an exclusivity clause
  • Selling outside a permitted geographic area
  • Wrongful termination of the agreement.

Whatever the circumstances of the dispute, SA Law’s specialists are here to help.

How we help you

  • We understand the unique relationship between a supplier and its agent or distributor. This makes it easy for us to understand the specific circumstances of your situation and identify an appropriate solution.
  • We also understand the critical importance of agreements with agents and distributors and the need to resolve differences as soon as possible. This is especially important if you are trying to preserve the long-term relationship.
  • If the business relationship is at an end we work to ensure that your rights are protected and your losses are compensated.
  • We help suppliers, agents and distributors enter agreements that optimise their success and minimise the risk of disputes arising. We can represent you in negotiations, draft the initial contract, and any amendments.

It’s good to bear in mind...

  • Make sure you have a well-drafted agreement that sets out the parties’ rights and obligations.
  • If a dispute arises, be aware that many international distribution agreements may contain arbitration clauses which means that disputes are kept private and confidential.
  • If a supplier terminates an agency agreement the agent has a right to be paid either compensation or an indemnity. We can advise you as to whether this is payable and how to calculate the payment.
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