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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 118761
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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I have a business that uses the services of independent

Customer Question

I have a business that uses the services of independent agents. They general income by the use of my name and writing authority. They are appointed through me and I hold the liability on everything they write.I typically pay commissions from 20% of the bond to 60% of the bonds. Each agent individually typically meets the clients and receives the money directly from the client. The deduct an amount we agree on typically the before mentioned. I do not have any signed agreements or contracts with any agent. When they first start out I will allow them to keep 20% second year 30% and so on depending how much volume they are writing.As a licensed bail agent you are responsible for any bonds you sign. Even though the bond is insured, the clerk looks to the agent first then the GA (me) then the insurer doe payment against a forfeiture. Forfeiture means the person has failed to appear and the Courts are demanding money within 60 days of failure to appear.I have an agent that is suing me for breach of contract. And demanding $700. She wrote a bond and didn't collect the entire premium due. When she collected the money I have her $300. The client did a payment plan to pay the other $2,000 due on the bond. The total due was $4200. The agent opened her own office and location three weeks later without my knowledge. She still had access to my office and was still writing bonds using my name. She asked for a meeting and a day before the meeting I found out about her new location. I terminated her appointment and authority to write for my office. I told her at the meeting that we can sign an agreement for the payment plan left for that bond and a few others only if she agreed to not have future contact with the clients. I told her I will take the risk of not getting full payments from the clients but if we go over her files and they are in good standing I will give her $700 to leave amicably. The agreement also included the statement that after payment she would attempt to or collect payments from the client if I pay her up front. She refused and said that I am trying to trick her. I told her I am trying to preserve a future good working relationship as you have no contract or agreement for compensation now. It's not in my best interest to allow her to leave angry and so forth because I am a GA and happy agents is what I need. When we network socially I don't need her bad mouthing me. She refused to sign so I terminated her appointment and contacted the client myself. The lady stated the agreement that the agent had her sign was impossible for her to pay. The agreement was $500 every two weeks. I explained to the client she was no longer there and that all payments belong to the office. I also explained that it would be inappropriate for her to contact her so if she did to please let me know. This was August 2015. February 2016 the lady finished paying, the agent contacted her several times during this time. July 2016 the client failed to appear and is now on the run. The agent continues to contact them demanding a copy of the payments they made. The defendants current fortune is for $42,000. The agent is suing me for breach of contract and loss of wages income and being deprived of financial means. She states that I created a hardship for her by terminating her contract. She states she was expected the $700 and I failed to sign my own agreement. We went to mediation and the mediator referred us to the judge. The question is how can she sue me for breach of contract we we had no signed agreements. I typically let her keep 20% but I have also let her keep way more than 30% plus I've given her tips gas etc. Also our license doesn't allow for you to be with one surety and represent another. When she opened her office it by effect terminated her appointment. My official termination had to go through the insurer and each jail. I am clear that I don't owe her because what was due to her at that time she received and we agreed $300 she didn't collect all of the money. If we had an agreement different I would be suing her because the client puts the money in her hand. She gives me what we agreed on lee bond. I have no way to not pay her considering the money is in her hand and she has control at that Moment. She went to court and lied telling the mediator she didn't get $1.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
You have no written agreement at all, or is the only written agreement the original agent agreement you had with her? I understand she refused to sign your settlement agreement, so that agreement would not be an enforceable agreement.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No agreement ever, the agreement I tried to work out prior to termination she refused to sign it. It was basically a verbal agreement that she would beget paid a minimum of 20% per bond but I usually paid her more that that always.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She was under my appointment and only wrote 13 bonds in 3 years. A volume like that we would never sign a contract with her because of performance.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
So all you had was an implied contract or verbal contract with her over this time. There is no other contract for her to sue over. She was free to go off on her own and you are free to cut ties with her and she has no legal contractual claim that would prevent you from doing so.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This's what I thought but I was wondering could the court enforce an implied agreement or because that is how she was paid in the pass. This one bond I couldn't pay her like that because she didn't collect all the money. She was gone while the lady continued to pay. She's claiming she's entitled to the money because had she not been terminated she would be paid or there is an established history of receiving payments of 20% on other bonds.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes a court can enforce an implied or verbal agreement if that agreement was proven by how she was paid in the past. However, if she did not collect the whole amount she is not entitled to the full payment and her opening her own business is conflicting with your business and that would terminate the contract for that conflict.