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I'm self-employed with a company who send out automated e-mails to clients supposedly from me, with my name at the bottom. I have no control over those e-mails - I don't even have input on what is being sent out - and replies get sent to a central address so I don't even see replies to people who think they are speaking to me! Is this legal and what can I do about it?

Added: Sorry if it wasn't too clear. I don't want to be too specific for obvious reasons. I'm a self-employed agent for a reasonably well-known brand. There are several of us across the UK. The easiest comparison I could make is to something like Weight Watchers or Uber taxis. So there is an umbrella company but its agents are all self-employed in their local area. There is a central office who now handle automated communication to all new clients who sign up to the service on the brand website (this has recently changed - we were originally sending e-mails ourselves to new clients and could personalise them as we liked). My concern is that e-mails are going out from a central office with my full name at the bottom, when I've actually had zero input into writing the content, and that the clients think that they are talking to me when they reply. I hope that makes things clearer?

Any customer response goes to the company HQ who then respond if necessary, albeit not as me that time.

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    You need an attorney to tell you if it's legal. Were I you, I'd engage one to send a cease-and-desist letter to them immediately. You'll lose this client, but I don't see a way you can keep them or would want to if they're doing this. – Wesley Long Nov 22 '16 at 17:00
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    How did you find out about this? – David K Nov 22 '16 at 17:13
  • Thanks for your comments so far. I've just edited my question as I realise I could have made things a little clearer. DoritoStyle, I think you have hit the nail on the head - an automated service is sending the e-mails. I would be ok with it as long as they weren't signed by me, but rather by the company in general, so there is no confusion for the client. I just wonder where I stand legally i.e. are they allowed to do this? – Kelly Nov 22 '16 at 18:20
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    @Kelly - Sorry for me asking the obvious question here, but have you tried to seek clarification from your employers and/or people who have implemented this in your company? If so, what was the response? – user44108 Nov 23 '16 at 7:20
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    Is there a contract linking you to the umbrella brand ? If there is one, there will be a part about names, data, etc. in this contract. – Thalantas Nov 23 '16 at 8:35
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In most jurisdictions, you have the right to your own name. So for example if you were to quit and the company has someone impersonating you in order to keep your clients, that would usually be illegal.

In many jurisdictions you can also sell/license the right to use your name to someone, within some limits.

So what remains are two questions:

  • In your jurisdiction, do they have the right to use your name against your will?
  • Did you unknowingly sell/give them the right to use your name? (By not protesting within X days, by not reading section 17.1.3 in the employment contract, etc.)

Both of these are questions for a lawyer. Of course if you just ask them to stop and they stop you won't even need a lawyer.

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