Complaints and Dispute Resolution

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 List or contact the FANZ office for confirmation.

 

Is the FANZ complaint process right for you?

Complaints Process Flowchart

 

Complaints Procedure

Complaints Procedure

Complaint Lodgment Form


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.

These frequently asked questions and answers are provided as a general guide only. All specific information that deals with your particular mediation should be discussed and agreed with your selected mediator.

1. How quickly can a mediation be organised?

Mediation happens as soon as the mediator is available, usually within four weeks.

2. If a franchisee contacts the mediator directly, does this prevent the other party from requesting the mediator’s services?

No. Usually, one party will contact the mediator first to talk about mediation and whether it will be suitable. As part of the mediation process, a mediator will usually have a longer pre-mediation talk (usually by Zoom) with each of the parties before the mediation.

3. What are the costs associated with mediation?

Mediation costs vary between $5k-$10k plus GST. Additional fees may include any preparation prior to the mediation, your lawyer fees for the day and possible room hire fees. Usually, both parties share these expenses.

It is recommended to get a price from your lawyer of the overall cost before proceeding to mediation. It is possible to mediate without a lawyer, but you should take advice from your lawyer on that.

4. What preparation is required for mediation?

Usually, your lawyer would prepare a position statement ahead of the mediation. This will be provided to the mediator and the other party. It is not a detailed analysis of your case but a summary of the case and the relevant issues that need to be mediated.

5. Is the mediation without prejudice?

All settlement discussions are always without prejudice. This includes at a mediation. This means that nothing that is said can ever be used against any party in any later court hearing.

6. If an agreement is reached through mediation, how binding is it?

During the initial phase, the involved parties sign an “agreement to mediate”. They collectively determine whether they want their agreement to hold legal weight. If they opt for legal enforceability, the mediator can include a statement like, “Any settlement reached will be legally binding, allowing any party to enforce its terms through court proceedings”. Alternatively, the mediator might draft a “Heads of Agreement,” which the parties can then take to their respective lawyers to formalise into a binding agreement. The mediator typically brings a laptop to facilitate the drafting process, allowing the parties to sign the agreement electronically on the spot.

7. What happens if one party doesn’t follow the mediated agreement?

If one party fails to comply with the agreement, the other party would have to issue court proceedings.

8. Does the mediator propose settlement options or give opinions during mediation?

Mediators help parties find solutions but generally don’t offer opinions. However, they can provide input if asked.

In the event the parties cannot agree on a mediator, FANZ Member franchise agreements provide that FANZ can be asked to appoint a mediator for the parties. For that purpose, the Association maintains a panel of FANZ approved 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 to find out more.

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.

© 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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IAN ROBERTSON, General Manager

Ecomist

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IAN ROBERTSON, General Manager

Ecomist

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SCOTT JENYNS, CEO (2014-2022)

Aramex NZ (formerly Fastway Couriers)

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SCOTT JENYNS, CEO (2014-2022)

Aramex NZ (formerly Fastway Couriers)

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SKiDS

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Pukeko Rental Managers

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JON HASSALL, Chief Operating Officer

Cafe Brands Limited

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GALVIN BARTLETT, Director

Paramount Services Ltd

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DAWN ENGELBRECHT – Director

SKiDS

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SCOTT JENYNS, CEO (2014-2022)

Aramex NZ (formerly Fastway Couriers)

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DAVID PEARSE, Managing Director

Pukeko Rental Managers

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JON HASSALL, Chief Operating Officer

Cafe Brands Limited

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IAN ROBERTSON, General Manager

Ecomist

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GALVIN BARTLETT, Director

Paramount Services Ltd

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DAWN ENGELBRECHT – Director

SKiDS

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JULIE EVANS – CEO

Rodney Wayne

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DAVID PEARSE, Managing Director

Pukeko Rental Managers

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SCOTT JENYNS, CEO (2014-2022)

Aramex NZ (formerly Fastway Couriers)

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IAN ROBERTSON, General Manager

Ecomist

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GALVIN BARTLETT, Director

Paramount Services Ltd

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IAN ROBERTSON, General Manager

Ecomist

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SCOTT JENYNS, CEO (2014-2022)

Aramex NZ (formerly Fastway Couriers)

" Knowing that FANZ have a strong and proactive advocacy approach to legislation that may affect their members is a significant member benefit. SKiDS recommends other franchise systems to also join FANZ – if we want FANZ to have a strong voice when advocating with Government then we need to have a strong and diverse membership body to back them up. "

DAWN ENGELBRECHT – Director

SKiDS

" Credibility and networking with other franchisors is incredibly valuable. The franchise sector is very supportive and there is significant sharing of ideas and information – more so than any other association or environments I have been involved with. "

GALVIN BARTLETT, Director

Paramount Services Ltd

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DAVID PEARSE, Managing Director

Pukeko Rental Managers

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DAVID PEARSE, Managing Director

Pukeko Rental Managers

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