Classification of Agents

Specific or particular agent: Specific or particular agent is an agent who is appointed to do a single act for the principal. He is appointed mostly by a special power of attorney. He is also called a Special Agent. His authority ends no sooner the particular act is performed.

General agent: General agent is an agent who is appointed to do all or general acts concerning a particular trade or business of the principal. He is appointed mostly by general power of attorney. His authority continues until it is terminated.

Mercantile agents:

Broker: He brings two parties together into a contract. He is employed to find a buyer or seller. He is intermediary. He has no possession of the goods and the contract is entered into by parties directly. He buys and sells goods on behalf of another. His contract is essentially wit a person who employs him. He is an agent of both the seller and the buyer. He negotiates and contracts for the principal. He cannot act or sue in his own name. He has no implied power to delegate his authority.

Commission agent: he buys or sells the goods for the buyer or the seller and receives commission. He may or may not have possession of the goods.

Factor: He is entrusted with the possession of the goods with discretionary authority to sell, pledge or create any right on the goods with the third person. He sells the goods in his own name at such price as he thinks fit. He has the authority to receive the price of the goods. He has a general lien on the goods for the monies due to him.

Auctioneer: He has an authority to sell the goods of his principal in public auction. He has no implied authority to sell by private contract. He has the possession of the goods. He cannot sell the goods on credit. He cannot accept any payment other than each. He performs a dual role. He is the agent of the seller till the time of sale and when the goods are sold, he becomes the agent of the purchaser. He has aright of a particular lien on the goods. He has authority to receive the price of the goods. He can sue the buyer in his own name or the whole of the purchase price. He has an implied authority to sell without any restrictions.

Auctioneer is under an obligation to use reasonable care and skill in and about his work. He must for example, obtain the best price and ensure that contracts made are binding. Also, he must act in accordance with the terms of the contract. However, auctioneer is under no duty to get purchase money from the buyer, not withstanding that he has authority to receive it and account for it to the vendor.

Del-credere agent: he is an agent who for an extra commission or remuneration guarantees the performance of the contract by the third person with whom he enters into the contract on behalf of his principal. His extra commission is known as del-credere commission. He becomes responsible if the other party does not perform the contract. His liability is therefore secondary. His legal position is partly that of an insurer and partly that of a surety. However, if the default is on the part of the principal and the buyer refuses to buy, del credere agent is not liable. A del-credere agency may be inferred from the course of dealings.

Sub agent: An agent appointed by the original agent is called a sub agent. He is under the control of the original agent to the business of the agency (Sec 191).

Co-agent: When two or more persons are appointed as agents by the principal to act as such jointly or severally, they are called Co-Agents. Co-Agents should concur together in exception of their authority to bind the principal. Unless contrary is proved, they are jointly responsible. An agent who is appointed as co-agent must exercise some amount of discretion as a man of ordinary prudence would exercise in his own case. If he does this, he is not responsible to the principal for acts of negligence of the co-agent.

Substitute agents: (Secs 194 & 195) Where an agent holding an express or implied authority to name another person to act for the principal in the business of the agency, has named another person accordingly, such person is not a sub agent, but an agent of the principal for such part of the business of the agency as is entrusted to him. Such as agent is called substitute agent. A substitute agent is the agent of the principal and as much he is responsible to the principal.