Purchasing a Franchise:
Not all franchises are created equal. When comparing franchises, most prospective franchisees see the similarities – same look, same choices, it’s all the same, right?
We know differently. At Cooper & Riesterer, we know that no matter how alike franchises are, franchise contracts, and especially the franchise owners and operators behind them, can be very different.
The decision to invest in a franchise can be daunting. At Cooper & Riesterer, we take the time to assist you in understanding the opportunities and pitfalls of operating a franchise generally and the specific strengths and concerns of the franchise system or systems you are investigating.
Franchise Document Review:
When you consider joining a franchise, you will be provided a large document, called a Franchise Disclosure Document or FDD, which provides a volume of information about the franchise system, your franchise (should you choose to purchase it), and the franchisor. The FDD also contains a form Franchise Agreement that you will sign if you become a franchisee – this is the document that governs your relationship with the franchisor.
Franchise Review Package:
Cooper & Riesterer offers a Franchise Review Package, which includes a complete review of the FDD and Franchise Agreement. We provide comments and feedback on the document and ensure that the franchisor’s business entity is in good standing in its home state. We also confirm that it maintains the appropriate trademark protections that it claims in the FDD.
After review of the FDD and Franchise Agreement, we arrange for an in-person or telephone meeting with you to discuss our review. If you are new to franchising, we will provide a brief summary of franchising and what to expect from a legal perspective in the FDD and Franchise Agreement, as well as areas of concern in the documents.
We then review our findings and point out important provisions, as well as areas of concern in the FDD and FA. We will bring attention to areas in the FA or FDD that may need to be addressed with the franchisor. It is best if you have had a chance to review our comments on the documents prior to our conversation. During this conversation, we will address any questions you may have regarding the documents.
For many clients, this review is sufficient to permit them to make a decision to pursue the franchise opportunity or move on. However, if, based on our conversations, you want us to propose changes to the Franchise Agreement on your behalf, we will do so. We will also assist in any follow-up negotiation and guidance requested.
Breach of Contract by My Franchisor:
Just as you must abide by the terms of your Franchise Agreement, so must your franchisor. Franchisors sometimes unwittingly breach their franchise agreements or may innocently disagree with franchisees on the requirements of their franchise agreements. Other times, franchisors may knowingly breach franchise agreements, taking the bet that franchisees will not notice or will be unwilling or unable to challenge the franchisor.
We have assisted scores of franchisees facing a breach of their Franchise Agreement by their franchisor. More often than not the matters are resolved without necessitating litigation. When they are not, however, Cooper & Riesterer will pursue legal recourse through the courts to enforce your rights under your Franchise Agreement.
If you are aware or suspect that your franchisor has breached your Franchise Agreement, contact us immediately. Waiting too long can often jeopardize your ability to force the franchisor to correct its actions and make you whole for its breach.
Termination/Non-renewal of My Franchise:
You’ve just received a Notice of Termination or Notice of Nonrenewal of your franchise. You’ve spent months or years building your business and invested thousands of dollars into it, and now your franchisor is threatening to shut your business down.
Sometimes franchisors may have a good reason to send the Notice, and sometimes not. In both cases, Cooper & Riesterer provides counsel on the franchisor’s actions and representation responding to the franchisor.
There are a myriad of laws – state, federal, and court case law – that determine whether a franchisor may terminate a franchisee under certain circumstances and conditions. The attorneys at Cooper & Riesterer will analyze the alleged basis for termination and advise you of their veracity and your options.
When a franchisor takes such actions without an appropriate basis, Cooper & Riesterer will represent your interests to ensure your rights are protected. While litigation is best avoided, when it becomes necessary, we will file and defend against litigation relating to your rights to operate and/or renew your franchise.
When litigation may not make sense, or if the franchisor’s basis for termination is well-founded, we can assist in obtaining a workable resolution for you, whether by the sale of your business to the franchisor or a third party or otherwise. We will ensure that you are protected to the full extent of the law.