In Avoiding the Top 10 Mistakes with Distributor Agreements, Glen Balzer, management and forensic consultant and expert witness in domestic and international marketing and sales, shares a checklist of ten common mistakes to avoid when drafting your next distributor agreement. Mistake #2 is entitled Termination for Cause Only.
Most distributor agreements involving seasoned distributors and manufacturers allow for termination for cause and termination for convenience, (or no cause at all). Less experienced partners sometimes attempt to allow for termination for a limited set of specific causes. Termination for cause is sometimes straightforward and without controversy, as when one partner declares bankruptcy. However, partners sometimes disagree over the presence of cause. Partners often disagree over responsibility for cause.
The best distributor agreements allow for termination for cause and for termination for convenience. When an agreement allows termination for convenience, a partner wishing to disengage from the agreement serves Notice of Termination to the other partner with 30 days notice. When the convenience clause is invoked, cause and responsibility for cause need not be argued. More important, the distributor agreement does not end in a legal skirmish. Without a legal confrontation, the distributor and manufacturer are able to focus on their respective customers and businesses without consuming management time, corporate focus and financial resources on attorneys, courts and arbitration.
Glen Balzer, President of New Era Consulting, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.