Monthly Archives: July 2017

Key Considerations for Evaluating Territory Rights in Franchise Opportunities

Jul 31, 2017 - Blog by |

You are planning to buy a franchise, and one of the benefits you are most looking forward to is the fact that you will have an exclusive territory. Once you sign your franchise agreement and pay the initial franchise fee, you will be the only one operating under your franchisor’s trusted brand and proven business system for miles around. But, is your territory really exclusive? Not all franchisors offer exclusive rights, and those that do not are not necessarily forthcoming about the limited protections they offer (if they offer any at all). Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when trying to interpret the territory provision of your franchise agreement: 4 Ways Territory Rights Not Be What They Seem 1. Your Territory is Protected but Not Exclusive. Many franchisors offer territory rights that are protected but fall short of being truly exclusive. The most common example of this is a reservation of rights for the franchisor to sell, “through alternate channels of distribution.” The territory may even be labeled as “exclusive,” and then have this carved out as an exception. 2. Your Territory is Not Protected at All. Some territory provisions are written to exclusively protect the franchisor. Consider this: “Franchisee’s territory (the ‘Territory’) is the geographic area within a two-mile radius of the franchised outlet. Franchisee may not sell outside of the Territory without Franchisor’s express written consent.” This provision “grants” a territory, but what does it really say? There is no protection, and all it really […]

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How to Gather Information from New and Existing Franchisees During Your Due Diligence

Jul 21, 2017 - Blog by |

In a previous article, we highlighted the importance of asking questions during the due diligence process, and we discussed four types of issues that demonstrate why franchisees should not rely on franchisors’ Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDDs) and marketing materials alone. We also mentioned the importance of talking to both current and former franchisees. This article covers some basic tips and questions to ask when contacting current and former franchise owners. How to Find Current and Former Franchisees But, before we get ahead of ourselves, how do you contact current and former franchisees? Fortunately, the requirements of Item 20 of the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) make this simple. In Item 20, franchisors must disclose contact information for: Current franchisees, Franchisees who have left the system within the past year, and Franchisees who have not communicated with the franchisor within the past 10 weeks. When contacting these individuals, keep in mind that they may have additional references as well. They may have an older version of the FDD that they are willing to share; or, they may know of other current or former franchisees who can impart particularly-valuable information. Questions to Ask Current and Former Franchisees During Due Diligence Once you start reaching out to current and former franchisees, what types of questions should you ask them? Here are some general recommendations: 10 Questions for Current Franchisees Has the franchise opportunity met your expectations? In what ways is operating your franchise different from what you expected? Are you consistently able to meet […]

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Subterfuge, Prevarication and Deception – Another Inefficient Franchise Territorial Dispute

Jul 16, 2017 - Franchise Articles by |

Subterfuge, Prevarication and Deception – Another Inefficient Franchise Territorial Dispute By: Jeffrey M. Goldstein, Esq. In a recent automobile dealer territorial dispute case, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado dismissed several claims against the manufacturer and allowed one claim to proceed. European Motorcars of Littleton, Inc. v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93857. The practice of dual assignment, or the appointment of competing dealers near existing auto dealers, seems to be getting more prevalent. Plaintiff Mercedes-Benz of Littleton (MBOL) has been a franchised Mercedes-Benz automobile dealership since 1996. Defendant Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is the North American distributor and manufacturer representative for the Mercedes-Benz brand of vehicles. In 2015, MBUSA invited Defendant Bobby Rahal Motorcar Company (BRMC) to establish a new Mercedes-Benz dealership less than nine miles from MBOL’s facility. MBUSA did not inform MBOL of its intent to establish a new dealership until July 2016, when an MBUSA employee traveled to Colorado and informally notified MBOL’s management of MBUSA’s plan. In October 2016, MBUSA sent MBOL a formal notice pursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-6-120.3 (the Statute), which stated the exact location of the new dealership. The address for the new dealership is nine miles and two freeway exits north of MBOL’s dealership. The notice also identified the new dealer operator as BRMC. MBUSA and BRMC had taken material steps towards establishing the new dealership, such as executing a letter of intent. When MBUSA establishes a dealership, it enters into an agreement with the […]

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Convinced You’ve Found the Right Franchise? Ask These Questions Before You Sign

Jul 14, 2017 - Blog by |

When exploring franchise opportunities, it is easy to become committed to a particular brand and system early in the process. When this happens, for many people the due diligence process becomes a formality – a way to find affirmations that you have already made the right decisions. But, this can be a mistake. Many franchisors rely on their ability to make a good first impression, and they do not want prospective franchisees to dig deeper into the system. They do not want prospects to ask about things like carve-outs from their territorial rights, and they do not want them to have the insights of existing and former franchisees. Yet, these are precisely the types of information that are required in order to make an informed decision during the franchise buying process. If you are preparing to buy a franchise but have not yet performed your due diligence, here are some key questions you will want to ask before you sign: Questions for the Franchisor 1. What are my territory rights? Some franchisors offer exclusive territories, some offer protected territories, and some offer territories with no protection at all. Even “exclusive” territories will often be subject to exceptions. If your franchise agreement is not crystal clear on the definition of your territory, this is something that you will almost certainly want to have addressed before you pay your initial franchise fee. 2. How often do you make system-wide changes? Many franchisors – especially newer ones – make constant changes to their […]

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5 Warning Signs Your Franchisor May Be Planning to Terminate Your Franchise

Jul 7, 2017 - Blog by |

If your experience as a franchisee has not gone as you hoped, you may be facing the prospect of termination. When it comes to protecting your rights as a franchisee, taking legal action prior to termination can help ensure that you have as many options as possible. So, how do you know if your franchisor is planning to terminate? While not necessarily determinative, here are five common signs that a termination notice may soon be arriving at your franchise’s door: 1. You Cannot Get in Touch with the Franchisor. If the franchisor’s representatives have suddenly become unresponsive, this may be a bad sign. When franchisors are planning to terminate a franchise, they will often (quickly) devote their resources elsewhere, and they may even have concerns about communicating in the face of potential litigation. 2. You are Being Treated Differently Than Other Franchisees. Along with lack of communication, other forms of disparate treatment can be potential warning signs of impending termination as well. For example, if other franchisees are rolling out new promotional materials, or if they are being asked to adopt updated system standards, being left out could be a sign that the franchisor is not planning to keep you in the system long-term. 3. You are Struggling with the Renewal Process While the renewal process can be a challenge even under the best of circumstances, if you are struggling to renew your franchise, there may be a reason why. The franchisor may want you out of the system, and […]

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ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

US (New York)
Franchise Lawyer
of the Year
ACQ5 GLOBAL AWARDS 2019, JEFF GOLDSTEIN, GOLDSTEIN LAW FIRM, PLLC

ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

US (New York)
Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
ACQ5 GLOBAL AWARDS 2019, GOLDSTEIN LAW FIRM, PLLC

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ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2018

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2018

ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Franchise Law Firm of the Year
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in New York – 2019

Finance Monthly Law Awards - 2018

Finance Monthly Law Awards - 2018

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

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of the Year
Global Awards 2018

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