Obtaining Sales Commissions

New York Sales Commission Disputes Lawyer

 

New York employment attorney Steven Mitchell Sack owes his knowledge in this area to his father of blessed memory, Bernard Sack, who was a successful sales rep in the garment center in NYC.

Mr. Sack is the author of The Salesperson's Legal Guide which was published by Prentice-Hall 1981 together with a series of other books entitled Sales Rep Strategies for Dealing with Principals Successfully.

During his career, Mr. Sack has represented thousands of salespeople and helped them collect commissions from their companies as well as negotiating contracts of employment for them. He also serves as an expert witness and, in one case, helped a salesperson obtain a $4.9 million jury verdict in Beaumont, TX. Mr. Sack serves as general counsel for many national sales associations and lectures frequently throughout the United States on important legal subjects and developments affecting commission salespeople.

 

Commissions

Most states require that salespeople receive earned commissions immediately after a firing or resignation. Often these laws provide independent contractor representatives up to three times additional damages in excess of the commission, plus attorney fees, costs and interest when monies are not promptly paid. Determine if you are entitled to commissions. If so, have you promptly computed how much money is due? This is done by understanding how commissions are paid (e.g., when your orders are accepted by the company, shipped by the company, or paid by the customer) and being able to prove such an arrangement from documents or other evidence, such as checks received from the company with notations indicating the commission rate paid on previous transactions.

Some dishonest employers fire salespeople right before they are supposed to receive or earn commissions. For example, it is not unusual for an employee to solicit and procure a large order but be fired just before the company fulfills the contract or the customer finalizes the deal. Don’t let this happen to you. Speak to an employment attorney immediately to enforce your rights. Always send a detailed written demand for unpaid commissions. This should be done by certified mail, return receipt requested, to document your claim and prove delivery. Such a demand will “start the clock” for the purpose of determining the number of days that commissions remain unpaid and put the employer on notice that additional damages and penalties may be owed if money is not received immediately. A written demand is essential in enforcing your rights and may get the employer to contact you and resolve the matter amicably out of court. An example of such a letter follows.

 

Sample Demand Letter for Earned Commissions

Your Name
Address
Telephone Number
Date

Name of Officer or Employer
Title
Name of Employer
Address

Re: My Commissions

Dear (Name of Officer):

It has been (specify) days from the effective termination date of our agreement. Despite our discussions and your earlier promises that all commissions

presently owed would be paid immediately, I still have not received my money. Please be advised that under this state’s law, unless I am provided a final, accurate accounting together with copies of all invoices reflecting shipment of my orders (or state if you require anything else) and payment of commissions in the amount of (specify $X if you know), within (specify, such as five days) from your receipt of this letter, your company will be liable for additional damages, attorney fees, costs, and interest upon my institution of a lawsuit to collect same.

Hopefully, such action will not be necessary, and I thank you for your prompt attention to this apparent oversight. If you wish to discuss this matter with me, feel free to contact me immediately at the above phone number.

Very truly yours,
Your name

Sent certified mail, return receipt requested

 

Always send a detailed written demand for unpaid commissions. This should be done by certified mail, return receipt requested, to document your claim and prove delivery. Such a demand will “start the clock” for the purpose of determining the numbers of days that commissions remain unpaid and put the employer on notice that additional damages and penalties may be owed if money is not received immediately. A written demand is essential in enforcing your rights and may get the employer to contact you and resolve the matter amicably.