Franchisees v True Owner/Operators and Truth in Advertising
I had a recent annoying experience with a large well-known franchised home services company.
My neighbour had passed away, and I needed to get in touch with the service provider. My neighbour had a regular booking for a particular home service. I looked up the local area contact details for this company and all listings only had 1300 phone numbers. Of course this was the franchisor head office number. I rang, and was told the address given was not in their system.
Apparently my neighbour had seen them doing a job close by, and had engaged them to do her work. I was told unless work comes through a lead from head office (which the operator pays a fee for), it is not in the company’s system.
I can only presume this is the franchisee’s personal client who has been “picked up” along the way of doing work that has come through head office. Of course the company would not give me any contact details of local operators. (they wanted their commission, I guess)
The worst part about all this, is that all I wanted to tell the provider was to keep the regular booking going, and I would take care of the charges as instructed by the neighbour’s family.
Come on people, where’s the open communication?
Who exactly are we dealing with?
Where are you operating from?
What are your direct contact details?
Even operators in my trade are only advertising with mobile phone numbers and no street address, even on their websites.
Deal with someone that you have full contact details with and know their actual location.
I openly advertise with full details and I am entering your premises, so I will even supply a current police check certificate if requested.
Another trap in advertising, is multiple phone numbers in different areas. Find out where they are based as they probably aren’t as local as they make out. It is misleading, and therefore illegal, to tell you they are based in an area where they have no registered business premises located.
Also operating a business using a registered personal name can be misleading. If Joe Bloggs sells his business, I don’t think the new operator should still be able to use Joe Bloggs’s name, but they do, so check with the operator as to who he actually is.