Today is a momentous day for victims current and past stuck in a broken franchise system in British Columbia. Today at 1:30pm the government of BC will put forward the long-awaited Franchise Act put forth by Carole James on May 13th, 2015 now gets its second reading.
Will this end the pain forever for franchisees? Of course not. Franchisees will always be in a lower position of power under their Franchisor, but that is more than acceptable if the Franchisor is ethical and gives a duty of fairness to their ‘partners’.
It is not by coincidence that almost every other Canadian province has enacted the legislation. It may have taken a long time and lot more victims along the way, but now, finally, a Franchisee will have a chance to right some wrongs as well as make a much better investment for his/her family.
What are the implications for current Franchisees stuck in the system? For some it will make their stores more difficult to sell, no doubt. They may have prospective buyers come across truths about the Franchisor during the disclosure process that will make them flee. But is that any worse than handing off the pain to yet another victim? Over the long term, this is the necessary change to stop the abuse.
What are the implications for current Franchisors? For those who are already operating in provinces like Ontario, this will be ‘business as usual’ with a few tweaks. For those who have been operating only in BC and under the dark cloak of invisibility and hiding behind their top lawyers and beating down their victims with unbeatable legal bills so they can continue their wicked ways – starting today their day will get very difficult and very uncomfortable.
But what is often not discussed in all of these positive changes is the trail of destruction that occurs leading up to these payouts. Depression, divorce, and bankruptcies are just some of the items in the list.
In the past, the game has been quite simple for the franchisor. They not only usually have deeper pockets than their franchisees, but they also often have their own ‘errors and omissions’ insurance which essentially allows them to pay a relatively small deductible and then let this insurance pay for a lawsuit that might be the result of an ‘error’ or an ‘omission’.
But the Franchisees do not have the liberty of purchasing ‘Protection Against Errors and Omissions Insurance’ insurance to level this field. The Franchisee is forced to fight the battle on their own. Yet the whole reason they are even trying to fight, is usually because they are losing or have already lost all their money!
The only option that a Franchisee can do is what the Dunkin’ Donuts team did – organize a group and/or class action lawsuit. This way they can split the costs at least and prove that it’s not just one noisy Franchisee that is upset but the majority.
Something stinks here and change cannot come soon enough.
There are rumours that the BC Liberals are taking action on a bill put forward by Carol James of the BC NDP. This is nothing but good news and has begun to restore confidence in the BC Liberals amongst the thousands of franchisees across the province.
Until now, the BC Liberals have remained silent on the topic, even though extensive research and consultation has gone into the topic and came back overwhelmingly in favour of the need to adopt the franchise legislation already in place in most Canadian provinces.
“I visited my MLS Scott Hamilton who displayed a genuine interest in the bill and has assured me that he will be following up on it.” reported Wayne Taylor, operator of Franchisepro.ca. “Most policitians and people in general have no idea how negatively the current justice system is affecting BC families. It’s something most people just can’t imagine is happening behind these friendly logos they see on the streets they walk.”
BC is one of the last remaining provinces to adopt the legislation which has left many wondering about the ethics governing the province. Comparisions have been made to the property disclosure statement in a real estate transaction. “As a listing realtor, if I know of something so serious that the purchase of a home could turn into a disaster, I’m required to disclose that on the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS). Everyone would agree not showing something material like this is wrong. So why then can franchisors be part of passing a knowingly bad deal without such disclosure?” continued Taylor. “I personally know two grown men who have contemplated suicide, one of which would have left behind a family. I know of one divorce and multiple bankruptcies. If I didn’t have the support of my wife and two loving parents, I seriously have no idea where I would be today psychologically. It’s brutal out there and I just keep meeting more victims with each passing day.”
The BC Franchise Legislation Bill was brought to the table back in December of 2014. Carol James and Adrian Dix took the initiative to bring the bill forward and question the BC Liberals about why this legislation is not tabled. “Scott Hamilton was unsure why the bill had not been dealt with but has assured me that he will look into it and follow it up for me which is great. I have renewed hope that 2015 will be the beginning of a more healthy franchise environment” Taylor concluded.
A breakthrough moment has just occurred in BC franchising history as Wayne Taylor and Farah Golestaneh bring the need for franchise legislation to the parliament building yesterday. Read more about it here.
For serveral years the VCSFA has been covering Mark West’s interesting involvement in My Cup Coffee and Tea and Blenz Coffee. For anyone considering buying a Blenz Coffee franchise, this is crucial background information.
In this previous article we discussed how neither Mark West, nor Blenz Coffee thought there were any problems or conflict with Mr. West running his own competing coffee franchise while in a position of General Manager of Blenz Coffee. Surely if they did see any ethical issue they would have fixed the problem. Although at least one concerned franchisee brought the issue to leadership at the announcement of Mark West’s arrival to Blenz, the issue was promptly brushed off and subdued by the beats of an expensive African drum group at their annual conference.
In the same article, it describes how he is also the contact person for anyone interested in opening a new Look Organic Tea, which also competes directly with a Blenz franchised location, literally right next door at Library Square.
Although the direct competition between West’s My Cup and Look Tea stores and the Blenz stores he claims to be helping may be of concern to current or prospective Blenz buyers, of greater concern should be the fact that none of these My Cup locations have survived the test of time.
Perhaps multi-coloured paper feet glued to the street and fuzzy dice are no longer enough to win the dollars of the increasingly sophisticated Vancouver coffee drinker?
A Bailiff was reportedly seen ‘dealing with’ the Steamrollers franchised location at 693 West Broadway street at Heather. Steamrollers is also reportedly owned by Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company.
Earlier this week, further reports claimed that the entire staff had suddenly disappeared overnight and been replaced by new staff.
The previous owners were no where to be seen.
Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company has been facing notable challenges, specifically over the last 24 months including multiple lawsuit filings involving previous Franchisees as well as ex head office employees, not to mention multiple closures of prominent locations.