Commissions, fees, kickbacks

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Holy toledo (not that that city has anything to do with this), but did you catch this article from BizBash? A quick taste:

    An independent event planner who has just been given a very large budget to plan an event for a corporate client has a laundry list of decisions to make about the best venue, qualified vendors and miscellaneous expenses for the job. Of course, some planners find it easier to simply pick the subcontractors willing to give a little something back as a way of saying thank you, with the client none the wiser.

    Is the practice unethical? Many would say yes. Illegal? Quite possibly. And picking favorites on the basis of financial incentive rather than ability can easily hurt the quality of an event. But these factors don't prevent what many event planners and vendors describe as a commonly accepted practice.

When does a commission become a kickback? And, while no one I've ever spoken to admits that they've done it, many have said that they been the "donee." So, how prevalent is the line-crossing, really, in this industry?

P.S. There's more good stuff at BizBash now on how special event budgets are changing (click on The Money Store).

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