Established 1958 ~ Hardball Business Litigation & Complex Negotiations

The Pennsylvania Commissioned Sales Representative Act

The Pennsylvania Commissioned Sales Representative Act (“PCSRA”) provides that a “principal shall pay a sales representative all commissions due at the time of termination within 14 days after termination” and “all commissions that become due after termination within 14 days of the date such commissions become due.” 43 Pa. Stat. §§ 1473–74.  If a principal “willfully” violates these provisions, then the sales representative may bring a civil action to collect all unpaid commissions plus exemplary damages in an amount not to exceed two times the commissions due to the sales representative, and costs of suit and attorneys’ fees. Id. § 1475.

Under the PCSRA, a “principal” is defined as any person who does all of the following: (1) engages in the business of manufacturing, producing, importing or distributing a product for sale to customers who purchase such products for resale; (2) (2) Utilizes sales representatives to solicit orders for such product; and (3) Compensates sales representatives, in whole or in part, by commission. Id. § 1471.

Furthermore, the PCRA defines a “sales representative” as “[a] person who contracts with a principal to solicit wholesale orders from retailers rather than consumers and who is compensated, in whole or in part, by commission.” Id.   A sales representative, as that term is defined in the PCRA, explicitly excludes “one who places orders or purchases for his own account for resale or one who is an employee of a principal.” Id.

Although the PCRA is an important and beneficial statute for sales representatives, it is important to keep in mind that it does not provide protection to all sales agents who work on commission. Not only does the precise language of the PCRA limit its coverage to the types of sales representatives described above, but the courts have often strictly construed the terms “retailers” and “consumers” to further limit the applicability of the PCRA, despite the fact that those terms are not defined in the statute. SeeKamco Indus Sales Inc. v. Lovejoy Inc., 779 F. Supp. 2d 416 (E.D.Pa.2011); Total Control, Inc. v. Danaher Corp., No. 02–668, 2004 WL 1878238, *3 (E.D.Pa.2004); United Products Corp. v. Admiral Tool and Manufacturing Co., 122 F.Supp.2d 560, 564 (E.D.Pa.2000).