ACCC to target food, fitness franchises

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) plans to audit take-away food and fitness franchises to ensure they are complying with the Franchising Code of Conduct.

The ACCC will use its audit power to request that business owner provide information or documents they are required to either keep, generate or publish under the Code.

Franchisors will be asked for information including disclosure documents, marketing fund statements and franchise agreements.

Speaking at the National Franchise Convention, the ACCC’s deputy chairman Dr Michael Schaper said the audit power will be used to target those industries that receive a particularly high number of complaints.

 “In the ACCC’s next round of audits we will be looking at franchisors from the take-away food and health and fitness industries, however our audits will not be restricted to these two sectors," he said. 

Since the audit power was introduced in 2011, the ACCC has audited around 50 franchisors, most of whom were found to be compliant with the Code.

He went on to discuss the ACCC’s wider involvement with the franchising sector. “The ACCC has actively enforced the Franchising Code since its introduction in 1998.

“During this time we have taken successful court action against more than 20 franchisors and have also obtained court enforceable undertakings from more than 10 franchisors,” Schaper said.

“These cases cover unconscionable conduct, misleading and deceptive conduct and contraventions of the Franchising Code.”