Complaints and Dispute Resolution

There are several options for dealing with disputes within a franchise.  The Franchise Association offers an independent complaints service which is outlined below.  There are also the other options of Mediation, Arbitration and Court.  It is always best to seek legal advice to understand which option is best suited to your situation.

Franchise Association members are required to undertake to comply with the Association’s Code of Ethics and Code of Practice. These commit them to take various steps including requirements that a process is followed.

Who can make a complaint?

Anyone can make a complaint against a member of the Association. If the member has

You do not need to be a member to make a complaint. If you are a franchisee, and your franchisor is a member, you can, therefore, make a complaint against your franchisor.

To check if the party you want to complain about is a member, look to see if they are listed on the FANZ member page or contact the FANZ office for confirmation

Copies of the Association’s Code of Ethics, Code of Practice and Rules are available here.  For further information and a copy of the appropriate form that must be completed to initiate a formal complaint please click on the following link: Complaints Form

 

Complaints Procedure

Complaints Procedure can be downloaded here.


Further Information

Download our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information that may be useful.

If you have a problem or a dispute then the following general information may assist you find a way to resolve that dispute. This information is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Please see you lawyer for advice specific to your issue.

To the right is a list of Franchise Association approved mediators.  Click on a mediator’s name on the right to find out more.

It is an important requirement of the Association’s Code of Practice that Franchisor members have a dispute resolution clause in their franchise agreements which requires them to attempt to resolve dispute with you by negotiation and mediation. This means franchisors must mediate disputes, if they cannot be resolved by face to face meeting or other negotiation.
Mediation is a much cheaper and quicker method of resolving disputes than going to Court. It is known as a method of alternative dispute resolution, because it is alternative to going to Court. The Association promotes mediation as a method of dispute resolution for these reasons.
The other benefit of mediation is you can negotiate outcomes that a Court would not be able to order.
In a mediation, the parties negotiate an acceptable outcome to their dispute. The mediator has no power to impose a finding on the parties. If the dispute does not resolve at mediation, then the next steps are arbitration or Court.
If you do have a dispute, you should therefore first check your agreement to see if there is a compulsory mediation clause in your agreement. You will then need to follow the process set out in your agreement to resolve the dispute.
The requirement to mediate does not apply in every case, for instance it does not apply if either party needs to seek an injunction remedy from the Court. Please take advice on your own position to see whether your dispute can be mediated.

Some franchise agreements provide that in the event the dispute is not resolved by Mediation, the parties must arbitrate their disputes. Arbitration is also much quicker than taking a case to Court, although not necessarily any cheaper. In an arbitration, a privately chosen arbitrator (usually a retired Judge or senior lawyer) will preside over the dispute and make findings that bind you. You will have to give evidence and be cross examined, much as you would in any Court case.

Taking a case to Court tends to be a pathway of last resort, because of the expense and delays involved with that process. As with arbitration, the outcome of the case is decided by a Judge, following a trial.

In the event the parties cannot agree on a mediator, some franchise agreements provide that the Association can make that decision for the parties. For that purpose. the Association maintains a panel of mediators to assist members in dispute resolution by mediation.

To the right is a list of Franchise Association approved mediators.  Click on a mediator’s name on the right to find out more.

© The Code of Practice and the Code of Ethics are the Intellectual Property of the Franchise Association of New Zealand and all intellectual property rights including copyright are claimed for them. These Codes may not, in whole or part be lent, copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or other such form without the express permission of the Association.
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