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AUSTRALIA - Chew & Matthews law firm have successfully applied to represent 35 Allphones franchisees in a class action against their franchisor in retaliation to the forced introduction of new franchise agreements.The new agreements are said to attempt to counter the issues raised in the Hoy Mobile case in 2008 where the Federal Court ruled that Allphones were ‘dishonest’ and acted with ‘deceit’.
‘The new agreements were proposed late last year and faced the first hurdles in January when the corporate watchdog won a court order that banned Allphones from offering preferential treatment to franchisees that took up new agreements. The AustralianIn April this year it was reported that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was to pursue Allphones to a class action on behalf of 100 franchisees.
‘The ACCC has declined to comment on the possible class action. The proposed class action will be based on similar grounds to the ongoing proceedings between the ACCC and Allphones Retail and key personnel -- chief executive Matthew Donnellan, chief operating officer Tony Baker and former national franchising manager Ian Harkin -- alleging the retailer breached franchise agreements.’
Earlier today it was reported that Allphones had lodged an appeal against the decision. When contacted, a franchisee suggested; ‘The case will be very important to franchising with unfair contract legislation not available to us and no thanks to that bastard Emerson [Minister for Small Business].’
Franchisor Allphones, another member of the Franchise Council of Australia, has continued to find itself in hot water with franchisees, media and Courts for a number of years. The Australian franchisee community appears to be in shock that the ACCC has pursued Allphones where they complain that the regulator has given ‘anyone else’ a free reign on alleged unscrupulous behaviour and abuses of the Franchise Code of Conduct since it opened for business in 1998.