“Fee’s Too High” Is No Defense When You Have a Contract

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Dec 1, 2014

Editor’s note: Jeff Allen has heard every employer excuse you can imagine for not paying up — and dozens more that defy imagination. A few years ago he began documenting them in a weekly collections column. Because of the importance of collections, Fordyce will periodically reprise the most common situations he addressed. The complete collection is here.

What Client Says:

The fee’s too high.

How Client Pays:

Recruiters laugh or get angry at the “fee’s too high” position. But courts will arbitrarily reduce placement fees in the name of equity (fairness) unless there is a written, signed, or otherwise fully accepted contract introduced into evidence.

The reason for judicial fee reductions is the mindset of judges and juries. The vast majority of judges were “low-billers” when they practiced law. They’re security-conscious, status-conscious, conservative types who have opted for the benefits of government work.

Juries are usually blue-collar types. If they’re employed, their employer is paying for their jury duty. If not, they’re either unemployed or retired. Like judges, they’re not risk-takers, and certainly don’t understand why five-figure placement fees are such a bargain.

If you’re gonna laugh, laugh last.

And don’t get angry, get even. Get paid – in full.

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