What to do about an Agent who isn’t Paying – Entertainment Law Asked & Answered


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What could you do if your agent is taking too long to get you your money after they've been paid.

Hi, I'm Gordon Firemark, and this is Asked and Answered, where I help you take your career and business in entertainment to the next level.

David wrote in:

What can an actor do when their SAG franchised agent is taking more than 6 months to pay them for a particular non-union job (the agency has been paid by the production company)? This happened in TX where the agencies are no longer licensed by the state.

Hi David, I handled a case like this a few years ago, and it's not easy to collect. First, contact the production company. They'll deny that they're responsible, but that's not strictly true. Under most state wage-and-hour laws, the employer gas to make sure you are actually paid… At the very least, you need the employer to rattle the agent’s cage, and to provide you with proof that the agency received the money.

Next, you, or better yet, your lawyer, write a formal letter to the agency demanding immediate payment. The agency, licensed or not, is a fiduciary… Which means they're in a special position of trust, and thus held to a high standard. If they don't pay in a timely fashion, they could wind up on the hook for as much as three times the amount in question.

But ultimately, I think you'll have to resort to the courts. Does your contract specify a time frame for payment? Does it provide for attorney's fees? If so, hire a lawyer to file suit. If not, consider whether the amount involve justifies hiring a lawyer, or whether small claims court is a good approach.

And, you should certainly report this to your Union, if for no other reason than to help other actors avoid the same problem in the future.

That's it for this round of Asked and Answered. If you've got a question you'd like answered here, just head on over to http://firemark.com/questions.

This is intended as general information only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It is not a substitute for a private, independent consultation with an attorney selected to advise you after a full investigation of the facts and law relevant to your matter. We will not be responsible for viewers'’ detrimental reliance upon the information appearing in this feature.

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