A Merchant’s Guide To Channel Management Cases
If you are a merchant involved in a Channel Control violation, there are many things that can be done to protect your legal rights and maximize your chances of getting what is rightfully owed to you. A successful lawsuit can help you recover lost revenue, reduce the cost of an investigation or reduce the damage caused by the illegal activities of your competitors. However, the first step in preparing for a Channel Control lawsuit is filing the complaint.
The date on which the complaint should be filed is called the complaint date.
You need to know this date and have all of your information ready before you submit your claim. Some states allow you to request an investigation date. When this date is requested, you should provide all the documentation you need to support your claim, including copies of invoices, sales slips, bills, shipping labels, etc. Make sure that you obtain copies of these items from the entities you intend to sue.
Once the complaint date has been set, you must prepare it. If a Channel Control violation is discovered within the complaint period, it is not necessary to file a counter-claim. However, if you do so, you must wait until the date specified in your complaint expires. Furthermore, merchants who discover the illegal activity within two months of discovery must file a counter-claim against the other entity, or they lose their right to continue in the dispute. To do otherwise, they risk being assessed penalties for failure to timely pursue the dispute.
Once your complaint has been submitted, it must be reviewed by the Commission.
Unless the case is voluntarily dismissed, the Commission will attempt to investigate your complaint before granting it full consideration. It is at this point that the Commission will ask you to appear before them to answer questions regarding your complaint. You must be prepared for this meeting. Your lawyer may be able to assist you in providing a reasonable answer to any questions the Commission asks you during this meeting. If not, you may wish to contact a private investigator or other appropriate professional immediately to assist you in this task.
Generally, you will be asked to attend two meetings during the course of the case.
One meeting is called an Employment mediation conference. The purpose of this meeting is to determine whether you and your Channel Management Company have reasonable common interests regarding the dispute. If you are able to resolve the dispute, you must advise the Commission about the resolution.
At the conclusion of the Employment mediation conference, you will be asked to inform the Commission of your decision.
If you do not, you must notify them within forty-five days of the conference, stating why you failed to inform them of your intent to terminate your employment. The Commission will then determine if you fulfilled your obligations in this regard. You must also explain why you were unable to complete the agreed term of employment. This portion of the case can be quite lengthy, sometimes exceeding one hundred pages. However, this is typical and generally requires an attorney to participate in the proceedings.
The second meeting, called an Employment termination conference, is a more formalized version of the first meeting.
Here, you again will be asked to advise the Commission of your intention to terminate your employment. You will again be expected to comply with the mandatory time constraints and the procedures that are required of you, as a matter of federal law. If you do not comply, you may be sanctioned a penalty.
If, on the other hand, you did inform the Commission about your intent to pursue a claim for wrongful termination, the case will proceed as described above. If you fail to obtain any monetary damages, or if the case against you is eventually dropped, you must repay all fees and costs that you have been assessed. You must also comply with the provisions of the settlement agreement.