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By Dawn Johnson on February 17, 2022 at 3:30 PM

Franchisors beware: The Federal Trade Commission is making it very easy for franchisees to file fraud complaints against you. In publicizing its fraud reporting tool – aptly named ReportFraud.FTC.gov – the FTC has fired another warning shot that it is ramping up enforcement efforts against you.

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By Paul Woody, Dawn Johnson on November 22, 2021 at 2:45 PM

The Federal Trade Commission has recently been sending “Notices of Penalty Offenses Concerning Money-Making Opportunities and Endorsements and Testimonials” to franchisors and companies selling other types of business opportunities. These notices from the federal consumer protection agency are seemingly coming from out of the blue and being served on registered agents similar to a lawsuit, causing recipients a fair amount of concern. Although the FTC tells the recipient that it is not being singled out (see this list of businesses who received the notice in October), it warns in bold letters on the first page that the recipient is now on notice that engaging in certain conduct could subject the company to civil penalties up to $43,792 per violation. A sample of the letters being sent to businesses can be viewed here.

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By Beata Krakus on November 10, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Greensfelder Officer Beata Krakus was recently featured by 1851 Franchise as a 2021 Top Franchise Legal Player. Check out the publication’s interview with Beata to find out what drew her to franchising, the most common mistake franchise brands make, and what she thinks is the biggest legal hurdle facing the franchising industry in 2022.

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By Dawn Johnson on May 19, 2021 at 9:10 AM

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the performance of many businesses in 2020, franchisors are faced with a whole new set of considerations when preparing their 2021 franchise disclosure documents, including whether to include financial performance representations from 2020.

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By Dawn Johnson, Beata Krakus, Susan Meyer, Abby Risner, Leonard Vines on March 10, 2021 at 9:45 AM
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By Dawn Johnson, Dominique de Vastey on January 30, 2018 at 12:48 PM

Signature line on a piece of paperA Georgia federal court recently found that a person who did not sign a franchise agreement was nevertheless bound by it. That was good news for a franchisor caught between two parties who claimed no responsibility for violating the franchise agreement by opening a competing business in the same franchise location. 

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By Dawn Johnson, Leonard Vines on December 7, 2017 at 9:24 AM

White turnaround arrow on a brick wall, showing a reversal in a decision.Unlike some states’ franchise laws, the Missouri Franchise Act gives limited protection to franchisees. However, it does provide that if a franchisor fails to give 90 days’ notice of cancellation or termination, the franchisee may be awarded “damages sustained, to include loss of goodwill, costs of suit, and any equitable relief that the court deems proper.” A recent case provided much-needed clarification on how damages are measured if a franchisor fails to give a proper notice of termination.

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By Dawn Johnson on October 26, 2017 at 9:00 AM EDT

Man gets fingerprint scannedA nearly 10-year-old Illinois privacy law that has sparked class action lawsuits against familiar tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Shutterfly has moved into the franchise industry.

Following in the footsteps of claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, class action lawyers are now filing lawsuits under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) alleging that companies are unlawfully collecting biometric information from customers and employees through devices such as fingerprint scanners. Plaintiffs are suing both franchisors and franchisees. Franchisors are being sued for collecting the information themselves for their own employees and also for the actions of their franchisees on theories of joint and several liability, vicarious liability, agency and alter ego. A recently filed case alleges that a franchisor mandates and controls virtually every aspect of its franchise locations, including the use of certain equipment that collects biometric information to track employees’ time and attendance and to monitor cash register systems for fraud. Other cases allege that franchisors and franchisees are using it to track health and fitness information and authenticate customers’ transactions.  

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By Beata Krakus, Leonard Vines on June 16, 2017 at 10:25 AM

Financial accounting and reporting documentsOn May 8, 2017, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) released its final commentary on financial performance representations (FPRs), providing franchisors with additional clarification and guidance on how to prepare one of the most important parts of their franchise disclosure documents (FDDs).

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By Thomas Ligouri on September 8, 2016 at 9:12 AM

Laptop with filing cabinetMore and more franchise registration states are offering the option to submit franchise applications either electronically or in hard copy. As of June 30, 2016, Wisconsin franchise filers now find themselves required to e-file all future franchise applications. 

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