Q: What are the different types of brokers recognized in Halachah? What are their respective rights, responsibilities and liabilities?
A: There are three basic types of brokers:
1. One who buys in order to resell, commonly called a sarsur (C.M. 186:2).
2. One who is hired as an agent to buy or sell for his sender, such as a real-estate agent. He is considered an employee, whose wages must be paid on time, if he demands them (C.M. 185:1; 339).
3. One who mediates a deal on his own initiative, such as a shadchan. He is not considered an employee who receives payment for his labor per se; instead, the obligation to pay him is because of the benefit that the parties received from him (Rema 185:6; Gra 185:13).
The last two types are commonly referred to as metavchim (middlemen).
To each of these three types of brokers apply specific halachos, which we will discuss, be”H, in coming weeks.