Geof: Yes, when I have handed over the money the deal is made and it is too late to ask questions but before this time the saleman is desperate for a sale and has to give me an answer even if it is a lie. Knowing how the saleman makes his money is important to me because if he doesn't make it on the sale of the machine then he must make it on the sale of spares. It also gives an indication of the relationship between the manufacturer and the salesman. It will tell me if the salesman is employed directly by the manufacturer or is self employed. Also, once I have purchased this machine I will effectively be tied into a relationship with the salesman, or his company, for the life of the machine as he will hold the franchise so I really need to know everything.
I agree that earnings are private and you can't go round willy nilly asking people what they earn but when a salesmen is making a large amount of commission on a deal he is making with you then I think there is an argument for him to disclose this information as in the way financial advisors have to.