When we were approached recently by a UK-based franchise consultant interested in setting up a worldwide network – kind of a franchise consultants’ franchise – we could see the advantages straight away. But digging a little deeper, we found that things were not as they seemed…
It could have been his photo on Skype that sounded the warning bells. Him standing beside a luxury car with a huge mansion in the background. Hmm, not really in keeping with the good old Kiwi sense of unpretentiousness and egalitarianism.
So we started Googling him. Turned out that this consultant had been convicted of fraud some years ago. We’re all for forgiving once someone has paid their debt to society, but it also appeared that this gentleman had not learned his lesson. We found angry online forums from clients of his who claimed they had not received the services they had been promised, despite having paid him in full. The latest claim was dated earlier this year.
So we deleted him from our Skype account and contacts list, and strongly recommend you check out the credentials of anyone claiming to be a franchise consultant.
While we’re at it, we’ve noticed recently that more and more New Zealand lawyers are claiming that they have franchise law expertise. This may be so, but we’ve found that all this alleged expertise hasn’t stopped some of them from demonstrating remarkable naivety when it comes to reviewing franchise agreements on behalf of their wannabe-franchisee clients. One produced a five-page review strenuously calling for substantive changes, including a revised franchise fee structure!
If you’re looking at buying a franchise, we recommend you do seek legal advice, but it can save a lot of time and money to use a lawyer with proven franchise expertise, such as those listed in the directory in Franchise New Zealand magazine.