April 30, 1997
Hi. My name is Pat Orzano and my home address is 101 Captains Drive, West Babylon, New York 11702 and I am a 7-11 franchisee.
My husband and I have been dual 7-11 franchisees for 16 years and owner of one of those stores for 27. We feel that there should be a ruling, a statement of encroachment in the ruling. Most of the contracts out there do not have explained territorial rights, or we are not allowed territorial rights, or just avoid the subject. And then when it happens to us, like it has happened to us after 27 years, we are surrounded by our own company within a mile and a quarter. They do not offer the store to you, they do not offer it to anyone except that they feel the newer franchisees who will do everything as they wish, rather than run a business like a business person should.
There are too many of us being hurt, whether you are fast-fooder franchisees or convenience stores. There should be an explicit statement of territorial rights in the FTC ruling because most of the states do not have franchise laws.
I have been working for a couple of years with the AFA. I am a member of the American Franchisee Association, along with 1800 other 7-11 franchisees. And we have been working across the country with our legislators trying to get them to understand, but it is literally impossible. They would rather just humor us and ignore our problems and saying even though we represent over 40% of the businesses today. I'm sure you are aware of how much money we pump into the economy, and I am sure you are aware that we're having problems with the legislators getting to understand that we need protection. We just can't be protected when we go into the franchise, we must be protected from abuse of unfair business practices, constant management changes, constant overtaking of the corporations merging into one.
We are slaves out there working the business and being told "this is your new contract, take it or leave it." Unfortunately, take it or leave it, when you've invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and have your family's livelihood in it, it's a little bit difficult to take. So, we really need to get some more things like encroachment and explanation of unfair business practices in this ruling. A lot more franchisors would think twice when they make policy changes and try to incorporate that into the contract, hammering it into the franchisees.
Excuse my need for talking so fast. This is kind of hard for 2 minutes. I would appreciate any update on the ruling as it comes about and you probably will update ruling when actually the hearing is for the rulings, or when the announcement is on the update on this ruling.
I did attend a session 2 years ago at the Federal Trade Commission, run by Eileen Harrington.