BREAKING NEWS: The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reconfirmed its ability to conduct special focus groups for AAFD franchisees attending the AAFD Franchisee Leadership Summit, September 10-13, in Mesa Arizona. This is a huge opportunity for our chapter leaders to express their concerns directly to our Federal Government. With the change in our dates we haven’t been able to reconfirm this event until just now. Here are the details from the GAO:

Invitation to Participate in Discussion Groups for Federal Study on Franchising

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that conducts research for Congress about how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars and how well government programs and policies are meeting their objectives. Because of concerns about instances of unfair, deceptive, and discriminatory practices that target franchisees and their employees, the Chair of the United States House of Representatives Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee has asked GAO to review how the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces laws and regulations related to franchising. This includes the Franchise Rule which regulates the presale disclosure of franchises and intends to provide potential franchise buyers with the information they need to compare the risks and benefits of a purchase. The Chair also asked GAO to review how FTC processes and resolves complaints and the extent and nature of franchise relationship issues since 2008.

In conducting this review, GAO staff will attend AAFD’s annual meeting and conduct three discussion groups with franchise owners to obtain their opinions of and experiences with franchising laws and regulations, FTC’s complaint process, factors contributing to positive or challenging franchise relationships, and challenges that arise between franchisees and franchisors.

Hearing directly from franchise owners is an important part of GAO’s study. If you would like to participate in a discussion group, you will be able to sign up at the conference.

During the discussion groups, questions will not be directed to individuals, but instead will be posed to the group of participants. GAO will not share the names or businesses of those that participate in a discussion group with industry associations, franchise brands, or FTC. GAO will analyze the comments made during the discussion groups to present summary-level results in its publicly available report. GAO will not attribute responses to an individual, business, or brand, and we will not provide any personally identifiable information in its report. However, GAO is not authorized to withhold information from Congress or the courts in the unlikely event that it is requested.

The AAFD seeks to improve the franchising climate by providing resources to franchise associations, franchisees, franchise owners and prospective Franchise Buyers.