You’re convinced that owning a business is your true calling in life, and you decide to invest in a franchise. But before putting pen to paper, you should do your due diligence and understand all the risks and rewards that come with that decision. One essential step is to review the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) that outlines all the necessary information you need to know before taking the plunge. However, reviewing this document can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers, which is why it is best to have a franchise attorney help you navigate through the FDD. In this blog post, we will discuss six major benefits of having a franchise attorney review the Franchise Disclosure Document before signing on the dotted line.
Protection from Fraud
A lawyer who specializes in franchising can assist in identifying the red flags in the FDD. The lawyer can help point out inconsistencies between the FDD and what is being said or promised elsewhere in marketing materials. Having an attorney scrutinize the language of the FDD also ensures that the franchise agreement covers all the necessary clauses, and there is no room for misinterpretation of agreement provisions that could lead to fraudulent activity.
Understanding the Franchise Legal Jargon
The franchise agreement is a legal document that is full of complex legal jargon. It can be confusing to understand what each clause means, and it is easy to miss important parts of the agreement. An attorney who is skilled in franchise law can help explain the terms and conditions in simple language. The attorney can also help ensure that you understand the implications of each clause before committing to the agreement.
Negotiating Terms on Your Behalf
The FDD will often contain non-negotiable terms and conditions. However, some franchisors may allow for certain clauses to be negotiated. With the assistance of an attorney, you may be able to negotiate on clauses such as payment terms, renewal options, and territories. This could potentially save you substantial amounts of money in the long run, or secure a better territory for your franchise.
Guidance on Compliance
Federal and state laws regulate the franchising industry. Failing to comply with these laws can have catastrophic consequences on your investment. An experienced franchise attorney can assist in ensuring compliance with the regulations. The attorney can review the FDD and offer advice on mitigating risks of legal violations.
There can be instances where the FDD is ambiguous, and what is stated in the document can be interpreted in many ways,. An attorney can help clarify the ambiguities and ensure that what is being promised in the FDD or franchise agreement is clear, ensuring there is no room for misinterpretation.
Ensure Disclosure is Complete
The FDD contains essential information that you need to know before committing to a franchise. In some instances, franchisors may withhold crucial information. Occasionally you might see a FDD that does not have the required financials or other disclosures. A franchise attorney will be able to check that all the necessary disclosures have been made in the FDD so that you are well-informed about your important decision.
The FDD is your key to making an informed decision before committing to a franchise. Taking the time to have a franchise attorney review the FDD will make sure you are well-informed about the terms and conditions of what is often a lengthy and complex document for most people to understand. It is a small price to pay compared to the potentially significant losses that you could incur without the professional guidance of a franchise attorney. You owe that to yourself before you invest your life savings.