Franchise Buyers Lying On Forms

The Federal Trade Commission which governs the franchise industry thru the franchise rule, which enforces Franchise Disclosure laws seems to think that consumers need to be protected even when they lie. Often The FTC takes complaints from consumers who claim they had been ripped off or lied to from someone selling a Biz-OP or some corporation, which sells franchises. The Federal Trade Commission will not admit that at least two-thirds of the incoming complaints are made in falsehood by consumers; as a participant in the industry I can safely say that much misrepresentation comes from the buyers side and not from the sellers.

I would like to discuss the fact that many franchise buyers who have 2.2 kids, credit card and short term debt in excess of 150% of annual earnings, college degree, BMW, Mini-Van, will claim on application forms that they have excellent credit and cash in the bank in excess of the amount needed to start the franchise. Over 70% of the applicants who claim this cannot even get an additional credit card or buy a car without 0/0 financing option currently available. Yet they often say they have "X" amount of cash available when really they have nothing and many are about to lose their jobs, through downsizing, right sizing or their current employer filing for bankruptcy. You know the companies I am talking about.

Without placing judgment on the falsehoods and giving these consumers the benefit of the doubt (which they showed to not be worthy of), maybe they just do not realize that if they lose their jobs they will be out of money and pushing a Home Depot shopping cart with their remaining worldly possessions within 2.4 - 2.6 months. Many may not realize that the credit rating required for a small business of their own, franchise or otherwise, is higher than that required when buying a car with no money down. They equate their recent purchase of a car with zero down or a home with 2.5% down as having excellent credit. Even the SBA lendors will require 15% minimum and usually 25% and banks are a little sketchy right now on any new business. True franchises less than other businesses, but they are a little tough right now. Jeez, you would think it was their money, they are mere bankers. The bankers run potential franchise buyers around, they give franchise buyers answers like "The board will be meeting next week" or "Can you give us more collateral." Why? They already have 20% of it guaranteed by the government in the case of an SBA Loan and the entire business is on the hook including all assets of the newly formed company.

Many inquiring franchise buyers often state on an application form when asked how they will pay for this business; "with a small business loan." I cannot offer a franchise to someone with no money. That is a sure failure being undercapitalized in any business, franchise or independent. Therefore I do not offer the franchise because they do not meet our criteria. If they secure financing and can prove it then they qualify and then we can offer them a franchise. By giving them a UFOC we are in essence offering them a franchise. Our franchises are only available to people who are reality based and tell the truth. We cannot allow someone in our system who constantly exaggerates, lies or inflates his or her current net worth, borrowing ability, earnings or assets. Just like you cannot hire someone who lies on their resume, makes up degrees earned in college or accomplishments at the FTC, or do you? Remember in franchising, we are stuck with the franchisee for the remainder of the contract once signed and most franchises have automatic renewals for up to 20 years. If we get a bad apple in our system it hurts all the other franchisees and our brand name which in turn hurts all the previous buyers (consumers) into the system in sales, ROI, and amount they make if they transfer their franchise to a new buyer. We must protect those current franchisees who have been forthright and are team players as much as the rights of new buyers. The public (consumer) is not the innocent dupe that the FTC makes them out to be.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs

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Protecting Small Businesses from Fraud  CPAPracticeAdvisor.com

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