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Undisclosed commission?!

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  • #21
    I've never gotten a bill of sale directly from the seller that spells out commissions I owe to my trainer. I know that is the law in FL, but not sure if it is elsewhere. I have always had a price list from trainers, and commissions are spelled out there.

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    • #22
      The idea that the trainer didn't 'do much' is meaningless. You could have tried five other horses first, then paid a commissionn on the sixth horse your finally bought. Itr just happens that you didn't. Just as in buying a house, if you but the first one your look at, you still owe a commission.

      My only question would be why she didn't bring up the commission around the time your were writing the checks.
      *****
      You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by EmilyM View Post
        I've never gotten a bill of sale directly from the seller that spells out commissions I owe to my trainer. I know that is the law in FL, but not sure if it is elsewhere. I have always had a price list from trainers, and commissions are spelled out there.
        Bit confusing, but not completely correct from my reading.

        (3) No person acting as an agent for a Purchaser or an Owner, or acting as a dual agent, in a transaction involving the sale or purchase of a horse or any interest therein, may receive consideration, compensation, fees, a gratuity, or any other item of value in excess of five hundred dollars ($500), related directly or indirectly to such transaction, from an individual or entity, including any consignor involved in the transaction, other than the agent's principal, unless:
        (a) The agent receiving, and the person or entity making, the payment disclose in writing the payment to both the Purchaser and Owner; and
        (b) Each principal for whom the agent is acting consents in writing to the payment.

        (6) Except as provided in subsection (4), nothing in this rule chapter shall require disclosure of compensation arrangements between a principal and an agent where no dual agency exists, where the agent is acting solely for the benefit of his or her principal, and where the agent is being compensated solely by his or her principal. Further, for any sale or purchase of a horse or any interest therein in Florida through a public auction or a public sale of thoroughbred horses licensed under Chapter 535, F.S., nothing in this rule chapter shall require disclosure of the reserves, the identity of the Owner or Purchaser, or the auctioneer's commissions.

        So it appears that an agent must disclose their commission to both parties only if they are acting as a dual agent. In Florida.
        "The best of any breed is the thoroughbred horse..." - GHM

        www.mmeqcenter.com

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Midge View Post
          The idea that the trainer didn't 'do much' is meaningless. You could have tried five other horses first, then paid a commissionn on the sixth horse your finally bought. Itr just happens that you didn't. Just as in buying a house, if you but the first one your look at, you still owe a commission.

          My only question would be why she didn't bring up the commission around the time your were writing the checks.
          Agreed.
          Definitely should have been discussed and confirmed at the very beginning. But, hindsight is 20/20.
          If I liked the trainer as much as OP says they do, I'd pay the commission and move on with life. If not, well, I'd decline, and expect to look for a new trainer.
          "The best of any breed is the thoroughbred horse..." - GHM

          www.mmeqcenter.com

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          • #25
            Originally posted by PNWhunter92
            Based on the feedback and the fact that I do want to remain in her barn, I think I am just going to have to have a very uncomfortable and conversation with her to discuss my disappointment with the oversight, and see if we can come to some agreement. HATE that this happened.
            That's the mature way to handle it. They key to these kind of discussions all comes down to how you approach it.

            "Trainer, can we talk for a second? So, I got the bill for the commission in the mail, and I'm so sorry and this feels awkward, but it totally caught me off guard. I don't want you to think that I didn't appreciate your help in the process of buying Sparky, but I wasn't expecting a full 10% commission. I don't remember commissions ever being talked about and I didn't see them listed in any of the price lists or contracts or anything. Did I miss something? I unfortunately hadn't budgeted for this so it's a bit of a surprise, especially since it came several months after the purchase."

            Give her the opportunity to explain, but calmly and non aggressively let her know your side. Maybe she sent you an email and it got lost in cyberspace. Maybe she forgot to mention it entirely. Maybe she was hoping you'd just pay it without questioning. Whatever she says, you can't control her reaction at all. So if she gets defensive or rude, just stay calm, and go into the conversation knowing what you're willing to pay - if anything. Before the conversation, also ask yourself what you would have done if she'd told you ahead of time. Would you have paid it? Negotiated it down? Not bought the horse?

            It is unfortunate that this happened, and hopefully either's either a communication oversight or a billing mistake. But I do think that this industry has generally abided by the rule of "ask for it - they'll keep the peace and just pay it," and us being willing to politely and respectfully ask instead of just writing checks can help influence trainers to be more honest and forthright.
            Jennifer Baas
            It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

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            • #26
              I agree with your approach. It was a big mistake on your trainer's part to forget to discuss commission with you and then to send you a bill. Now, you are put in a very awkward situation as a customer. If she had mentioned her commission fees, that would have given you an opportunity to discuss the charges as well as what services you would be getting for those fees. It would have given you a chance to budget accurately for the actual costs of the purchase. Now, you suddenly have a $$$ bill that you have not planned for, which is very inconvenient. Perhaps you even would have decided to purchase a horse without her input, or used another agent.

              I can guess what your trainer is going to say--that these commissions are "standard" and that she is astounded that you didn't think you were going to have to pay a 10% commission. Well, let's be honest here: many barns and trainers have "standard" commissions, but in MANY instances those commissions are widely negotiated depending on circumstances. People sometimes pay trainers for travel and time for consultations to look at individual horses, sometimes percentages are negotiated (either up or down) depending on the price of a horse, and sometimes commissions are waived for repeat purchases within a short time frame or in barn purchases, and sometimes a finders fee is paid instead of a commission.

              Mac123's post is excellent, a great place to start. It's reasonable to want to maintain this professional relationship, but you are well within reason to question an undisclosed commission being charged months down the road. Your trainer may not be a bad person, but s/he did fail to be be transparent and forthright in his/her dealings.

              Editing to add that also, I think when you discuss the situation with the trainer, I think it is absolutely within reason to ask what commission was charged--and paid--by the seller. For the trainer to represent both the seller and the buyer (dual agency) and then to collect a total 20% commission on the sale seems a little over the top to me.

              And it sounds like you trust your trainer, but personally I'd be very uncomfortable paying a trainer a commission to represent me in a sale where they were already representing the seller. I personally just don't feel like I would be getting my money's worth in that situation due to conflicts of interest. For reference, I can think of one instance where I purchased a horse from a trainer that I was lessoning with regularly (but did not have horses at their barn). In that instance we agreed up front that she (the trainer) was clearly representing the seller. The seller paid the commission, and I represented myself and paid no commission.
              Last edited by BeeHoney; Sep. 7, 2018, 10:16 PM.

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              • #27
                It is not so much the failure to mention the commission for whatever reason that bothers me about this situation, so much as the commission bill came months later. IMO, if the trainer realized the mistake months later, it's better to eat cost rather than try to collect after several months have gone by.

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                • #28
                  More should have been said upfront. And the commission should have been collected the time of the sale.

                  When I started to look for horses with current trainer she noted that as soon as she looked at a video the trigger was pulled and a commission would be owed if I bought a horse.

                  As it turns out I looked at two horses on back-to-back days and ended up buying the first one. This was a horse I never would have found on my own: the agent showed her the horse when she was out there looking for something completely different because he thought she might know of someone who was looking for that type of horse. So this was probably pretty easy money for the trainer--we went to two places (albeit one that involved driving in the rain in Friday afternoon L.A. traffic), she was there for the vet check, and made arrangements including purchase price negotiation with the seller's agent. But there are a lot of sales that are more work. Trainers could base commissions on amount of aggravation, and I have seen some websites where the potential seller pays for the trainer's time looking at horses, but that money is applied towards the commission if/when the buyer actually buys a horse. Wouldn't even out things in my situation, but would cover a trainer's expenses if someone looked at an inordinate number of horses or didn't buy one after looking at several or didn't want to pay a commission because they found the horse that was ultimately purchased after they had looked at some with trainer.
                  The Evil Chem Prof

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    The only cure for these kinds of issues is regulation since the "industry" refuses to regulate itself. I live for the day when some state's attorney general starts looking at the horse industry. You can't buy furniture, a car, or a house without disclosure on the seller's part of the entire deal. Plumbers, doctors, lawyers, teachers and almost every other professional has to be licensed (regulated) in some way. Why are horse trainers, sellers, dealers, barn managers exempt. The bad practices and resulting hard feelings will never end until there is a way for those who feel taken advantage of have a way to get their complaints addressed. Moving barns, "bad mouthing" trainers, riders and just being generally angry isn't going to do it. Sorry folks but there is a reason we have state bar associations, licensing bodies and governmental oversight of most of our actions - because for every honest person there is a dishonest one too.
                    kenyagirl

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                    • #30
                      Without have read every response, the commission itself is not unreasonable as the trainer participated in the sale. And usually each side pays their trainers/agents commissions. However to be enforceable the contract for commission needs to be in writing in states that adhere to the Statute of Frauds. I would have offered to pay my trainer a commission. But having it come up much later in time, without a written contract or notice in a boarding contract that barn requires a commission on all sales and purchases, I would question the reasoning. If you want to be friendly and the commission is not too much, I would pay it to keep peace. But that is up to you.

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                      • #31
                        Only in the hunter world would excuses be made

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post
                          Only in the hunter world would excuses be made
                          I'm sure all transactions in the eventing world have been peachy. How you love to come over here to trash us.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Oliver4Ever View Post

                            I'm sure all transactions in the eventing world have been peachy. How you love to come over here to trash us.
                            I've never purchased a horse with my trainer. My hunter trainer when I was growing up made me into a horseman. Take your grudge to PMs. Sorry your trainer made you think you can't function without them.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              So I don't necessarily have a problem with the trainer charging a commission of some sort, but as I think about this I'm actually more curious as to what the trainer charged the other client. Is it reasonable for a trainer to collect a total 20% commission on an in house sale? That seems really steep to me.

                              And just to be crystal clear, in cases of dual agency this is NOT private information, both parties have a right to know about any and all commissions their agent receives, so the OP should feel perfectly comfortable asking for this information.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                BeeHoney isn't it weird though that' the commission bill was months later? I have no grudge against a commission but begrudge the time line. And I'm flummoxed about people saying don't make waves because of the time line

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post
                                  BeeHoney isn't it weird though that' the commission bill was months later? I have no grudge against a commission but begrudge the time line. And I'm flummoxed about people saying don't make waves because of the time line
                                  It could be that the trainer just expected the OP to pay the commission without having to be billed, and only sent the bill once they realized that wasn't happening.
                                  Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by CHT View Post

                                    It could be that the trainer just expected the OP to pay the commission without having to be billed, and only sent the bill once they realized that wasn't happening.
                                    How would they know what the bill is without something stating so?

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post

                                      I've never purchased a horse with my trainer. My hunter trainer when I was growing up made me into a horseman. Take your grudge to PMs. Sorry your trainer made you think you can't function without them.
                                      I bow down.

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                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Oliver4Ever View Post

                                        I bow down.
                                        Whateves yo.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Midge View Post
                                          The idea that the trainer didn't 'do much' is meaningless. You could have tried five other horses first, then paid a commissionn on the sixth horse your finally bought. Itr just happens that you didn't. Just as in buying a house, if you but the first one your look at, you still owe a commission.

                                          My only question would be why she didn't bring up the commission around the time your were writing the checks.
                                          Buyers never pay a commission when buying a house. The seller pays the commission

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