FRANCE: Commercial agency – assessing the power to negotiate

Didier FERRIER | FRANCE | 2015-03-18


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An intermediary whose role consisted of presenting and promoting a company’s products, without having the power to enter into contracts on behalf of the company or modify the terms and conditions of sale set by the company, claimed entitlement to commercial agent status. In support of his argument that he had power to negotiate prices, he relied on a clause which provided that “if the company was ever to find itself forced, particularly for competition-related reasons, to accept an abnormally low price in isolated cases, it [could] reduce the commission […].”

The Court of Appeals denied the intermediary’s claim on the ground that “the terms of the clause show that it was referring to exceptional situations, the negotiated price being otherwise always subject to the prior approval of the employer, who had sole power to conclude the contracts.”

Didier Ferrier, IDI country expert for France

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