As a franchisee, you can often like a tiny peanut next to a giant franchisor. Its recognizable brand, history of success and a monster business apparatus are all often reasons you sign up to be a franchisee in the first place. And they’re all good reasons.
But when things don’t go entirely according to script, co-existence (let alone negotiation) with the monster that is the franchisor can seem impossible.
After all, the franchisee-franchisor relationship is one that is defined by an inherent power imbalance. That is why an experienced Oregon or Washington business lawyer knows how to use the states’ respective franchise laws to protect the interests of the little guy-the franchisee.
The franchise acts in Oregon and Washington are different in many respects, but they have one goal in common: to protect the franchisee from potentially oppressive conduct of the franchisor.
These franchise laws also, in general, protect against similar types of things: unfair conduct, misrepresentations, unconscionable business tactics and the like.
In Washington, franchise disputes can also fall within the Business Practices Section of the Consumer Protection Act, which provides a severe penalty to a franchisor of three times the damage amount they cause to the franchisee’s business.
Additionally, these statutes provide for the recovery of the attorney’s fees spent by the franchisee in protecting their rights.
Many of my Portland business law or Seattle business law clients are surprised to learn that they have protections beyond just the typically one-sided contract they entered into. The Oregon Franchise Act and Washington Franchise Act are both real tools for franchisees.