Are You “Betting the Company” Through Your Handling of Customer Funds or By Virtue of Transfer of Title Provisions Related to Acquisition of Goods?

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Two common types of arrangements between contracting parties can create excessive financial risk for a party. The first is a company serving as a middleman or payment agent by accepting funds from a customer and then disbursing funds received to pay for goods or services that benefit the customer, not the agent. Examples include ad agencies accepting customer funds and paying for ad creation and placement, and logistics companies paying freight bills of their customers from customer funds.

The doomsday scenario is as follows. Big Retail Co. incurred $3 million of shipping bills over a 90-day period. Freight Agent Co. received funds from Big Retail to pay the shipping bills, but the funds were not paid timely to Freight Agent and then Big Retail filed bankruptcy at the end of the 90-day period.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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