When you bought your franchise, the last thing you expected was that you would end up in a dispute with your franchisor. You had a good relationship with the people you talked to, you were excited about the opportunity, and it seemed like everyone was on the same page. But now, the relationship has soured, you aren’t happy with your outlet’s financial performance, and you find yourself in need of a franchise dispute lawyer.
What happens now?
Coming to Terms with Your Franchisor
There are a number of potential ways to resolve franchise disputes, and the options that are available depend on the specific facts and circumstances involved. For example, if you have received a notice of termination, you may need to act more quickly – and your options may be more limited – than if you were facing a dispute with regard to something like advertising approvals or adopting an expensive new point-of-sale system.
1. Attempting to Negotiate a Mutually-Agreeable Resolution
Generally speaking, however, your first option will be to attempt to negotiate a mutually-agreeable resolution. Is there a misunderstanding that simply needs to be cleared up? Is it in both parties’ best interests to quickly find a way forward? If so, then your chances of negotiating an outcome that you can live with might be fairly good.
Negotiating doesn’t have to mean sitting down in a board room and going toe-to-toe. In fact, in many cases, issues can be resolved with an email exchange or a few phone calls between your attorney and the franchisor’s representatives or defense lawyers. However, at this point, it will most likely be in your best interests not to try to handle the negotiations directly. You need to make sure you are making informed decisions based on sound legal advice, and you need to avoid saying anything that could potentially harm your negotiating position or put your franchise in jeopardy.
2. Pursuing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
If negotiating doesn’t work, then your next option will likely be to pursue alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In this regard, you will need to review your franchise agreement to see what is required. Most franchise agreements require franchisees to submit their disputes to mediation, arbitration or both, and franchisors include varying degrees of specificity with regard to things like location, service providers, duration and costs.
3. Franchise Litigation
Finally, if none of these options prove successful, or if you need to seek immediate relief, then you may need to pursue franchise litigation. As you might expect, there are lots of variables involved at this stage; and, in order to determine your best path forward, you will need to work with an experienced franchise attorney.
Contact the Goldstein Law Firm | Nationwide Legal Representation for Franchisees
If you are facing a dispute with your franchisor, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free initial consultation. To speak with national franchise dispute lawyer Jeffrey M. Goldstein in confidence, call 202-293-3947 or tell us how to reach you online now.