Hi, I am just looking for some advice regarding a situation I have with an independent product sales agent working for my company. This sales agent works alone to find clients and sell my company's products.
This agent also works for another company (she only works for 2 companies) in the same line of business which didn't bother me initially because our products were not really competing. Recently, however, our products are beginning to overlap and I can see that I am losing business to this other company as sales figures are down by a lot. There is one particular product which bothers me as being very similar, goes by the same product name, has the same minimum quantities and serves the same function. The only difference is the material it is made from and the price. I have spoken to my agent on numerous occasions about this by she refuses to stop selling it. What can I do?
Also, this last week I checked her emails on my server and saw that she sent an email from my company's server using my company signature to the other company she represents in the same industry. The email was about me purchasing four images from this other company she represents. The images were for a project we will be completing for a client. She advised this other company regarding the fee to use their images: "Don't hang back on price is my advice". I was shocked to see this because she has basically said to charge me the maximum price for the images instead of trying to get the best price for my company. Clearly there is a conflict of interest here but is this gross misconduct and do I have the option of immediately terminating the agency agreement? Obviously I have lost all trust in my agent and I don't believe she is acting in the best interests of the company but in the best interests of herself. We don't have an agreement in writing but I assume there are implied contractual terms for an ongoing agency relationship.
Also, how to handle defamation post termination as she is quite the talker and has talked poorly about previous companies she has worked for in the past. No doubt she will defame my company in front of my customers.
Thanks in advance for the advice.