Fair Franchising Is Not An Oxymoron: Dispute Resolution

Franchise Owners Should Not Agree to Arbitration If They Can Avoid It

In 1998, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association identified a set of standards called the 12 Points of Fair Franchising by which to judge the actions of franchise companies.  Now, nine years later, AAHOA has updated the 12 points and has embarked on a survey of franchisors to assess their compliance with these fair franchising standards.  In this Hotel Interactive article, I highlight Point 8.

Point 8: Dispute Resolution. In all franchise agreements, Franchisors and Franchisees should commit to establishing an independent and fair process for the resolution of any disputes concerning the terms of an franchise agreement itself, or the relationship between the parties. Specifically, Franchisors and Franchisees should agree in good faith to participate in an informal, in-person meeting between the authorized representatives of the parties in an attempt to resolve a dispute.

If the informal meeting is unsuccessful, the parties should agree to participate in a non-binding mediation, before a mediator who is neutral and mutually acceptable to the parties, including a mediator associated with the National Franchise Mediation Program.

If the mediation is unsuccessful, the dispute should not be submitted to binding arbitration unless and until all parties agree to do so, including mutually agreeing on the arbitrator who will hear the dispute, the location of the arbitration proceedings, and the corresponding rules and procedures for the arbitration.

Absent an agreement by the Franchisor and Franchisee to use binding arbitration to resolve their dispute, any party should be entitled to pursue its claims against another party in a court of law.  There should be no waiver of the right to a jury trial by any party.  There also should be no caps or limits on the amount of damages that a party can seek or recover against another party, including a cap or limit on the amount of punitive damages that can be recovered against a party as allowed by law.

(Quoted directly from AAHOA's 12 Points of Fair Franchising)

Many hotel franchise agreements stipulate arbitration over litigation.  At first glance, this may appear to be more beneficial to franchisees but nothing could be further from the truth.  Compulsory arbitration protects franchisor interests while diluting franchisee remedies.

What are the disadvantages of arbitration?

First, in court you can obtain a jury trial assuming that you have not waived this right elsewhere in the agreement.  Having a dispute resolved by a jury of your peers is a valuable right which should not be underestimated.  Arbitrators are usually lawyers who may be friendly with your franchisor or its attorneys since arbitration clauses typically require arbitration to take place in  the city where the franchisor’s headquarters are located.

Second, arbitration is very expensive, even as compared to litigation.  Unlike state and federal courts where judges are compensated by taxpayer’s dollars, you must pay the arbitrators by the hour (from approximately $250 to 500 per hour), and must pay significant additional filing and administrative fees for the arbitration process.

Third, the discovery process, during which each side gathers its evidence (depositions, documents, etc.) for a trial, is very limited.  This aspect hurts a franchisee disproportionately because he or she has the “burden of proof,” and usually needs additional facts and documents in possession of the franchisor to build the case.

Fourth, the normal rules of evidence and procedure do not apply in the same way as they would in federal or state court.  Instead, the law affords the panel a great deal of flexibility and discretion in conducting the arbitration hearing, and a reviewing federal court will rarely, if ever, reverse the panel’s decision – even if it is legally and/or factually incorrect.

The bottom line is – do not agree to arbitration if you can possibly avoid it.

A close cousin of the arbitration clause, the “no jury” clause, requires that the franchisee waive what would otherwise be its right to a trial by jury.  Franchise companies believe that jurors may be “sympathetic” to a franchisee who has been mistreated.  At the very minimum, the franchisee should be the one to decide whether to have a jury trial.  Do not forfeit this option unknowingly when the franchise agreement is signed.

Who are the arbitrators?

Usually, each side selects an arbitrator and then the two arbitrators pick the third one.  Arbitrators are usually certified by a Bar Association committee.  They are local business people and/or lawyers who have at least two major drawbacks:

  1. Since the arbitration usually takes place in the headquarter city of the franchisor, the arbitrators are likely to know the franchisor’s attorneys.
  2. While the pool of arbitrators may have general business experience, very few have knowledge of the hotel franchise format.

A December 4, 2006 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Nagrampa v. MailCoups, Inc.) found that an arbitration clause in a franchise agreement was unenforceable under California law.  Some observers believe that if the arbitration clause in this case is unenforceable, then no arbitration commitment is safe.  This decision calls into question all arbitration clauses.  Be sure to have your attorney check it out.

Is there a better way to resolve problems?

Yes there is and it’s called mediation.  It can solve many business problems quickly, cheaply and on terms acceptable to all sides.

Unlike arbitration, mediation is non-binding.  Because the mediator doesn’t decide anything, the parties can, if they choose, ignore anything he or she says.  A mediator is a go-between who tries to help the parties come to an agreement, not to tell them who is right or wrong.  Mediations usually last one day and either result in agreement between the parties or continuation of the dispute, not an award, decision or judgment.  Either party is free to file a lawsuit.  Mike Amin, former Chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association said, “Fostering dialogue is a necessity in the pursuit of a healthy system and non-binding mediation between the franchisor and franchisee could be a “win-win” situation.  Not only is it a less costly process, but it’s also a system that could foster a stronger partnership between the parties rather than the adversarial roles that can come with legal intervention.”

The Senior Vice President of the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution says “Mediation works almost every case.  Of the franchise disputes that have been formally submitted to the National Franchise Mediation Program, more than 80 percent were resolved amicably.”

The NFMP has earned the endorsement of the International Franchise Association, the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers, the National Franchise Council and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.

Here’s how mediation works: With CPR’s help, the parties decide who the mediator will be, how much the mediator will be paid, when the mediation will take place, how long it will take and other details.  Control of the process is a key feature of mediation.  Parties can use a mediator listed with the program or pick one of their own choosing who is not affiliated with it.

Disputing parties who decide to use the program split the administrative fee and usually also split the fee of the mediator.  In the course of negotiation and mediation, the parties may agree to reallocate the fees.

In actual practice, a mediator will typically meet with both parties separately to get their complaints or points of view and then bring the two parties together to attempt to reach compromise that will result in a solution.  A good mediator will listen to both sides of the story and try to discern common threads among the arguments.  Mediators are free to devise solutions that a judge or even an arbitrator might not be able to suggest.  Judges are bound by legal precedent and arbitrators by the terms of arbitration agreement.  But mediators have much more latitude.

Ronald K. Gardner, Jr. of Dady & Garner, a well-known Minneapolis law firm, warns that in order for mediation to be successful, the decision makers from both sides have to be present.  For the franchisee that’s not usually a problem but franchisors do not always send a decision maker to an individual mediation.  “You need someone high enough up, that they don’t have to make a call to the home office,” Gardner said.

You can find out more about this important program by logging on to www.franchisemediation.org.

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This is part of a series. Please read:

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Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC, is a New York-based hotel consultant specializing in hotel franchising issues, asset management and litigation support services. He is also available for due diligence studies for an acquisition, a third-party audit of a marketing or operational problem, an expert review of a management contract or a franchise agreement, or litigation support. Mr. Turkel is a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants and can be reached at 917-628-8549 or email at [email protected]

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If you would like to reserve an autographed copy of Stanley’s new book, “Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of Hotel Industry” (to be published by Fall 2008), send an email to [email protected]

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Comments

Arbitration Fairness Act

This is an excellent article that deals with the disadvantages of mandated arbitration in franchise agreements.

Hopefully, Stan Turkel will furnish this article to the Committee in the Congress who now has this Bill, and the Bill will come out of Committee for a vote on the floor.

Only when there is full agreement to arbitrate by both parties and only when some of the conflict of interest is removed from the process will arbitration be a safe harbor for franchisees.

Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation

Stan;

I disagree with the assertion that mediation is always better than litigation or arbitration.

Mediation works when the relationship is ongoing - both parties have an interest in making the solution their solution.

Arbitration or litigation makes sense when there is a serious chance that the relationship is over.

Frankly, if the large independent franchisee associations provided either mediation or arbitration representation to their franchisees as a service, much of the failings of arbitration in the franchise context would be addressed.

The franchisee associations with the most to gain out of this is the new CFA: neither the AAFD nor AFA have much to gain one way or another.

I would hope that the CFA would step up to the plate and accept mandatory arbitration for franchise systems only if there was an independent franchisee system which was both capable and willing to defend its members before an arbitration. 

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

Arbitration

Stan I can not tell you how happy I am that you wrote this article. I intend to send it to Paul Bland, who will have an interest in what is being posted.

Paul has been fighting these arbitration clauses in contracts for years. When we talked he told us that our case was the worst he had seen. He had suggested that zees take this opportunity to make sure that thier voices are heard.

People need to remember that our arbitration clause was amended and a seperate agreement was signed by both parties at the same time the FA was signed. CB attorneys lied in much of the brief that was given to Duggan.

Anyone thinking that you get a fair deal in arbitration need only look at our case and remember that Joanne Barron was selected 6 months prior to filing to compel arbitration. That should scare the hell out of anyone who reads this. The FA agreement aslo required Mediation prior to Litigation or Arbitration and CB drug that process out for 11 months and not one time was there ever a counter to any offer we made. Laura Demming flew to Michigan from Texas with attorney in tow to Mediate with CB and Fink walked in said that there was not going to be any offers until our case was decided. Knowing this Fink had Laura spend $6,000 to get her and her attorney to Michigan and then would not even talk.

There is much abuse in the CB system that it should be against the law for them to sell anything.

Maryland and Illinois requires CB to identify the cafe concept and to tag the cafe as a high risk investment. The choice CB made was to not sell in these 2 states. They are back to not identfying this concept again.

As far as I'm concerned the attorneys are just as guilty of fraud as CB is. It is one thing to do what your client wants but another to do it when you know it is fraud

The Cost to Arbitrate

Was is excess of $18,000 for filing and paying the arbitrator. 11 days of flying back and forth, hotels, meals, rental car was more then $100,000, in total. I already pay taxes to support a judicial system.
The Transcribers charged $36,000.

I did want add that the IFA has already started lobbying againxt the AFA. I knew that they were involved the day I testified. Congressman Chris Cannon's last remark was "I guess all franchisors are bad." Well that was a dead give away.

We were sent additional questions by the committe and had until the end of December to get them back to Congress.

5 questions were from Congressman Cannon and there was 1 from Chair Person Sanchez.

It was obvious Cannon had been Schooled. Unfortunatley he had been given bad information and at least 3 times I had to tell him that he was misinformed. The IFA wrote to both Sanchez and Cannon back in August of 2007. So they have a jump. There is a web site for anyone wishing to write thier State Representives asking them to support this bill. The Web Site has the letter already written and all you have to do is click on your State and sign your name, or you can write your own letter. I called my State Reps.

Richard How

do you know what kind of money any of these zees have that are fighting back?

It's amazing that you keep posting that all of these zees did not perform DD.

I think that there was some DD in R&D's case. After all the FA was amended in writing and both parties signed.

Just for one minute read what is going on here. It could be anything, the fact is R&D were forced into arbitration and thier Chute was packed 6 months prior to jumping

Arbitration Fairness Act: Waiting for Others to Act

Up until now, franchisees have given little support and thought to the Arbitration Fairness Act, with the exception of courageous but lonely Deborah Williams, who went and testified before Congress about her franchise arbitration experiences.

The American Association of Franchisees and Dealers recently announced that they are looking into the act and plan to support it. The American Franchisee Association said the Arbitration Fairness Act should be on every franchisee's radar of top priorities to support. The AFA is watching the bill.

It sounds like people and organizations are waiting on each other to act. Anyone want to bet that while the franchisee community waits, the International Franchise Association will lobby the bill behind the scenes into oblivion?

Make it personal

Guest wrote: The Web Site has the letter already written and all you have to do is click on your State and sign your name, or you can write your own letter.

No. Such letters are routinely ignored on the Hill.

Instead, send a short note in your own words explaining why this bill is important to you. Sign your name and be sure to put your address-- yes, the staff will check to see if you are a constituent in the congressman's district.

And find out when the next public ("town meeting") forum is, and speak directly to your Congressman. Better yet, bring some fellow franchisees. Grass roots lobbying is important. 

I have spent enough time reading up

on what has been made available here to be satisfied that there was no competent due diligence. There may have been superficial inquiry directed largely by what the franchisor told these poor people, but there was no killer due diligence.

I have jumped in enough chutes to know that at no time did these people vet the lawyers they used. They didn't ask them the important questions before they hired them. HOW MANY OF THESE CASES HAVE YOU HANDLED? HOW DID THEY COME OUT? Questions like that make big differences in the quality of representation. They hired an OJT. I know that their lawyers did not explain to them that if they continue to do business using their accused franchisor's trade identity, not tendering it back - either in actual present tense fact or in a law suit/arbitration - they would be held to have waived the claim and ratified the franchise contract. That's the law in every state. It is basis Contract Law 101. It's not franchise specialty stuff.

These lawyers also apparently thought that the state enforcement agency would not only get them rescission damages, but also fraud damages. When the state did only what the state could/would do, and refused to act as their personal lawyer for free, they got what everyone who thinks that way gets.-

This goes way beyond jumping in chutes packed long ago. They jumped in chutes they should have thrown back in the rigger's face and told him to jump in them.-

Richard Solomon, FranchiseRemedies.com,  has over 45 years experience with franchise litigation and crisis management. He is a graduate of The Citadel and The University of Michigan Law School

IFA will of course lobby against Arbitration Fairness Act

The Bill is in Committee and we would hope that the AFA and the AAFD will stay on top of things and try to explain to the Congressional Committee just how MANDATED arbitration in franchise agreements and the standard FA Clause wherein franchisees give us their rights to jury trials works greatly to the advantage of the franchisors and injures franchisees.

All of the Franchisee Associations should NOTIFY their members to call or write their Congressmen and their Senators, etc.. but this Bill is still in Committee and hasn't been brought to the floor for a vote.

Is NOW the best time lobby the Congress on the Fair Arbitration Act?

The AFA hearings are a charade

just like the LaFalce hearings were several years ago. It's just theater. The same groups of impotent whiners testified in the LaFalce hearings in favor of "fair franchising" who are lined up to whine in this episode. FORGETABOUTIT!

The Federal Arbitration Act applies to other industries as well as franchising. It is in agreements relating to very important financial transactions industries, like stockbrokers.

Big money interests represented by effective lobyists will oppose this legislation, and it will breathe its last after the chipmunks and other poor souls have had their crying towel wetting turns. Groups of no money people never get anywhere in these fights.--

Richard Solomon, FranchiseRemedies.com,  has over 45 years experience with franchise litigation and crisis management. He is a graduate of The Citadel and The University of Michigan Law School

Make your Voice Heard

Thanks Paul for putting the important message of making yourself known in such matters as writing to your State Representives.

You are correct in your statement.

As I said, we called our State Representitives and even had the Speaker of the House and 2 other reps write to our AG in an effort to help.

While it appears that this was for not. I have at least been able to get 4 to endorse the AFA. Most important, my voice has been heard and I will continue to make sure I tell everyone about arbitration.

Chair Person Sanchez asked: " What can we do to ensure the fairness of arbitration?"

My answer: "Make arbitration a choice to both sides. Then the little guy will have as much control as the contract writer. The little guy will have as much say so as to arbitration being the course of action. The arbitrators would have to be fair in order to pursuade the little guy into trusting the system. Then maybe arbitration would be on equal footing."

Wish you weren't right. AFA hearings are a charade!

I wish you weren't right! "Groups of no money people never get anywhere in these fights."

If you can't buy a Committee majority, the Bill will never get out of Committee if the IFA opposes it.

Afterall. It is money and not justice that makes the world go round and that finances the rule of law.

FFA Changes

Richard: just where do you think that American Trial Lawyer's association is going to side?  Do they have any money, I wonder? 

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

IFA Says Arbitration Act Harmful to Franchising

Yes. We know the IFA will put their considerable influence to stop the arbitration bill.

Just two weeks ago, Mr. Matt Shay, president of the International Franchise Association, told Nation's Restaurant News that he had a different view from the franchisee associations; namely, American Franchisee Association and Association of Franchisees and Dealers. This arbitration bill is a top worry, not one of the top acts to support.

Says Mr. Shay, "The introduction of a bill that would amend the Federal Arbitration Act threatens to inflict serious harm on the franchising industry if it becomes law."

Will the IFA put their considerable lobbying abilities to work for their 10,000 franchisee members?

The End Is Not Yet Written to the Arbitration Fairness Act Story

Mr. Solomon speaks with enormous confidence about the future, and it is grim: the powerful will continue to consolidate greater power, and the weaker will lose and whine.
My view is different. I believe that if most Americans were aware of the way that mandatory arbitration is handled in the U.S., that they would strongly disagree with the current state of the law. I have spoken to literally hundreds of individual consumers, employees, medical patients, investors and franchisees who were FURIOUS -- really outraged -- when they discovered for the first time not only that they had supposedly agreed to give up various rights, but that they were being funneled into a system with strong incentives to rule for the other side, that was non-public (nearly secret), and unreviewable.
In my experience, a rapidly growing number of Americans are learning about this issue. More and more reporters are alert to it. People are incensed when forced to sign an arbitration clause to put a parent in a nursing home. More and more employees are angry being treated that way by a job. And with the National Arbitration Forum repeatedly entering awards against the victims of identity theft, it is single-handedly creating a growing number of furious people.

Who knows if the AFA will pass? Did Mr. Solomon predict that Enron/Worldcom/Tyco would lead to the dramatic reforms of Sarbanes Oxley? From what I've just read, I would have guessed that Mr. Solomon would have smugly predicted that Sarbanes Oxley could never pass, it would just be more hand-wringing by the whiney weak. Well, this year we'll probably have FAR more than a million foreclosures. Is it possible that a growing number of Americans might think perhaps it wasn't such a great idea to let financial institutions become completely immune to consumer protection laws?

Maybe it will take a long time. The Family Medical Leave Act took a bunch of Congresses. Many nay-sayers (the kindred spiritis of Mr. Solomon) said this could never happen in America, but it did pass.

If the Arbitration Fairness Act passes, it won't be because of campaign contributions by trial lawyers. The trial lawyers can't come within 1% of the money that the Chamber puts up. Banks, insurers, wireless companies, brokerages, etc., will outspend the trial lawyers by a huge factor. If Mr. Solomon is right, and the only factor in passing legislation is who has the most money, then the Arbitration Fairness Act will surely die, with weeping or not.

But I feel like there are more possibilities in America than Mr. Solomon's grim view suggests. (Did you see "No Country for Old Men" too many times?) I can picture a situation in which a growing (and growing and growing) number of people don't think it's funny to have big corporations strip them of their rights, and where they begin to speak out. Lots of Senators and Representatives will take big contributions from the banks, etc. to look the other way, for a while. But if the pressure just keeps building, and more and more individuals become angry at losing their rights, maybe -- unlike Mr. Solomon, I don't know -- but just maybe, Congress will look past its contributors to its constituents.

One last point about tone: My clients aren't whiny weepers. People who have been cheated, lied to, injured, etc. who call me are MAD. They aren't weaklings, asking for someone to solve their problems. They're angry Americans who demand their rights. You can laugh down your sleeve at them, but they aren't laughing back. As Ani DiFranco might say, they're coming up.

Paul Bland

Effective Arbitration Control, The Moral Majority and The Church

Anyone who thinks that if there is "fair" arbitration the investment ruination issues of franchising will go away needs to reassess what happens when impossibilist theories are loudly bruited about.

If you invest in a bozo franchise deal, your ability to obtain redress through litigation won't be worth anything either, because the circumstances will be that you can't afford a lawyer to litigate for you by the time you get ready to make a stand.

That is in fact the experience of fleeced franchisees all over the USA. They are broke. They can't provide resources for a fight unless the figfht is a simple knife fight in the alley - literally.

Where does that leave these folks?

It leaves them with having to practice safe franchising. Unlike pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, you can't condomize franchise risks and then engage in safe franchising.

If you lack the intelligence to abstain from any but properly vetted opportunities, it won't matter what the dispute resolution protocols are.

Jerry Falwell's and The Church's admonition to abstain is the only way to beat the system of the thieves. You have to be able to keep your investment panties on, no matter the level of excitement.--

Richard Solomon, FranchiseRemedies.com,  has over 45 years experience with franchise litigation and crisis management. He is a graduate of The Citadel and The University of Michigan Law School

Too many AFAs Floating About

AFA = Arbitration Fairness Act

Not to be confused with:

AFA = American Franchisee Association

So the AFA is watching the AFA, but the AFA is not capable of watching the AFA.

Michael, I have no idea, but if I were a betting man...

I would tend to believe that they (being as astute as they are) will realize the futility of this and simply elect not to waste resources on it.--

Richard Solomon, FranchiseRemedies.com,  has over 45 years experience with franchise litigation and crisis management. He is a graduate of The Citadel and The University of Michigan Law School

Franchising Industry

Shay used the magic words "franchising industry"?   

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

Bland Hope and Solomon Pessimism on AFA

Thank you, Paul Bland, for your comments and your HOPE that is backed by courageous representation of those who are the victims of the corporate caputure of the law in this country.

It may be the difference in your ages that contributes to the difference in your perspective of what is possible and what is impossible. Hopefully, there will be a new cry for change in our country and the young people will join together with their parents to demand change and justice from their government.

Richard Solomon has lived in the World of Franchising for a long time and has worked both sides of the fence but he is a truth teller and has my respoect for telling hard truths. He has FranWhacked bad franchisors on this site and has given the best advice possible to whiney failed franchisees and has tried to warn potential franchisees. His cynicism may be armor against a reality that is ugly and which he believes he cannot change.

You cannot chastise Richard Solomon without chastising the American Bar Association who has enabled the IFA and the Lenders and Banks, and Insurance Companies, Brokerages, and Wireless Companies to have their way with our elected representatives and with the law.

Richard Solomon is a trial lawyer and like you, I believe he would celebrate if the Arbitration Fairness Act became law.

Arbitration Act

Paul Bland writes: " One last point about tone: My clients aren't whiny weepers. People who have been cheated, lied to, injured, etc. who call me are MAD. They aren't weaklings, asking for someone to solve their problems. They're angry Americans who demand their rights. You can laugh down your sleeve at them, but they aren't laughing back. As Ani DiFranco might say, they're coming up."

Paul, why do you think that for franchisees they would be better off before Judges instead of Arbitrators, if the franchisee was competently represented by their independent franchisee association? 

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

Well

I would think it is more accurate to state that the AFA most likely is watching the AFA but realizes that the AFA can realistically do nothing about the AFA because of the IFA/SBA/FTC/CIA/MI6/leprechauns.

Consumer Class Actions

No money for attorneys in consumer class actions? 

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

Richard don't make the bet

You will lose. The Trial Lawyers for Justice take these case pro bono. They have other legal cases outside of fighting against arbitration. There are members of The Trial Lawyers For Justice all over the Country, in every State.

Why is this such a threat to you? Do you really believe that people should have Constitutionsl Rights stolen from them. Son't even start with the DD. Our case proves that did not work.

Just think where you would be if they continue to take away Constitutionsl Rights. You could be censored. They are working on our right to bear arms as well.

IFA President Says Franchising Is an Industry

Michael asks, Shay used the magic words "franchising industry"? 

Yes. He did. It is a new day at the IFA. 

Well

I would think it is more accurate to state that the AFA most likely is watching the AFA but realizes that the AFA can realistically do nothing about the AFA because of the IFA/SBA/FTC/CIA/MI6/leprechauns.

Richard Pessimism

This is a dangerous attitude for any attorney.

When attorneys get in the habit of believing that there will never be change, then its time for a new career.

It is the people who believe that change is within thier grasp, that has set the tone for legal reform in our country. Without reform in our legal system, there will no hope for any of the much needed changes that exist in our country.

To put Franchising in a corner that has no hope of ever seeing daylight is a message that has been sent by the IFA since the beginning.

We don't need a cynical attorney telling people that to hope and act on trying to change the system is a waste of time.

I believe that BMM has started something in Franchising that has been instrumental in getting information to people at a record breaking speed.

People like the Trial Lawyers and others are taking notice of these issues as never before.

As far as the AFA Bill passing this time or next, is not the point. The sooner zees learn to make thier voices heard and stand up for what they believe, the sooner the changes will become a reality. Don't discourage them, encourage them to demand that they be heard.

Once the zees have a voice, the attorneys who represent the zees will become better known.

There is a much greater need to make DD Attorneys, the only choice a prespective zee has in the Franchise buying process. The way things are as we speak, is an attorney is an attorney. We all know that is dangerous. Franchising Attorneys are the only attorneys who know what to look for.

So make sure that in your belief and your public remarks, that things will never change, that you are not aiding those who continue to keep you in the closet as well

Well --You May be Right

You may be right about the IFA/SBA/FTC/CIA/M16 leprechauns. How come I didn't think of this?

AFA

Guest states:

'People like the Trial Lawyers and others are taking notice of these issues as never before.'

Of course, Trial Lawyers are watching this closely. The class action trial attorneys out there look for any way that they can make money. Read the following article and tell me if this person was damaged by having 4 of 16 credit card numbers showing and her expiration date.

So, why do companies put arbitration clauses in? To protect themselves from people that aren't damaged and attorneys that are looking to make easy fees by settling in a court rather than a possible loser pays system in arbitration.

If people want their day in court instead of arbitration, how about instituting a loser pays system to flush out those frivilous lawsuits that are out there.

Franchisees not considered "Consumers"

Franchisees are not protected under Consumer Protection Laws and this is a problem beyond mandated arbitration in franchise contracts.

Apparently, the courts have not clearly and precisely defined the relationship that exists between the ZOR and the ZEE and it is defined in court by the terms of the contract that ALWAYS favors the ZOR under case law and governing contrract law.

It appears that case law and contract law permit franchisors to act in bad faith as long as the bad faith is spelled out in the contract terms. Obviously, attorneys do not take franchiSEE cases on contingency because they know the deck is stacked and they can't affort to take the long shot that some judge might see things differently.

Britain's MI6 Finds New Recruiting Source

You may be right about the .../CIA/M16 leprechauns. - Guest

I didn't realize that Britain's MI6 was recruiting leprechauns. This is hard proof that nowadays it's harder to find good recruits.

JD

Sorry the comment "Trial Lawyers are taking notice" was not more clear.

It was The Trial Lawyers for Public Justice that was being refered to.

However, your point about the loser pays all is fine by me. I agree that many law suits have no merit.

I also want to point out that the reason you hear more about those law suits is because the other 98% are being silenced in arbitration.

There are a very limited number of contracts today that do not have arbitration clauses, so you only hear about those who don't