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ACCC Supports Dedicated Franchise Dispute Resolution

The outgoing head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is backing a dedicated franchise dispute resolution system acknowledging that the sector’s complexities warrant a different approach.

All of a sudden everyone opposed to franchising reform sees a federal variation on current dispute handling as a worthwhile distraction from the WA Franchising Bill 2010 from delivering the tools critical to ensure change is effective change.  

The only positive on the table at any federal level in this little charade is an acknowledgement that West Australia and South Australia will have the necessary support to stand up for a healthy franchising industry where balanced franchisee protection through explicit good faith is a critical cog.

The Australian federal small business minister had recently tabled options for small business dispute resolution which did not offer desperate franchisees any joy. The ACCC has been a constant hindrance to franchisee protection from abuse but now;

There are many thousands [70,000]of franchise arrangements in Australia and they give rise to a reasonable number of complaints.

… the process of sorting out whether a matter of contractual dispute is appropriate for mediation or whether a breach of law has taken place.  SmartCompany

Give it a new office and change the name over the door but if it isn’t locked in with an explicit obligation on all parties to franchising agreements the endgame of distraction will have simply produced another round of Déjà vu.

Mr Andrew Lovitt, Franchisees Association of Australia Inc.

There is a whole class of investors out there who tend to be easily led astray by the franchising dream and what it could be but they are unequal in the eyes of the law as they are not given the same protections as someone who invests in the stock market and had the protection of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. (AFR)

Mr Isaac Chalik National Franchisee Coalition

The ACCC has admitted to me that they simply don't have the resources to follow up all the complaints. (AFR)

The original and detailed article, Regulator Backs Franchise Dispute Shake Up, authored by Emily Parkinson at the Australian Financial Review (AFR) 5 July 2011.  I will attach the article below when able.

Related Reading at BMM:

National Franchisee Coalition Pushes WA Bill

West Australia Franchise Hearings Close

Franchise Council Gets Desperate

FCA in West Aus

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