The Federal Government continues to tighten up aspects of the Australian franchising industry. This includes a new Franchise Disclosure Register.
The Register is designed as another measure to assist prospective franchisees to make an informed decision before entering a franchise agreement. Once implemented, information on the Register will be made available through an online, electronic Portal linked through the website: www.business.gov.au
Franchisors will be required to create and maintain a profile on the Register in regards to the their respective franchise system. Initially Franchisors will be able to do this by login via myGovID.
The Franchisor's profile on the Register will contain certain details, such as: Franchisor Name; Address; Type of Industry; Number of Franchisees, etc
Importantly, Franchisors will also be required to publish other information to the Register, such as, their Disclosure Documents.
Prospective Franchisees will be able to publicly access the information in the Register via the online portal. The principle behind the Register is to:
provide Franchisees with an opportunity to compare information published by different Franchisors; and
to encourage Franchisors to adopt high quality of disclosure practices.
Franchisors will still be required to meet their disclosure obligations to their Franchisees, irrespective of the Register. There will be certain allowances so that Franchisors can redact confidential information in their Disclosure Documents, eg. personal information about Franchisees. There will be an annual obligation to upload Disclosure Documents.
It is expected that the Register will come online in early to mid 2022. Franchisors will then have up until 31 October 2022 to have their profile created and the Disclosure Document uploaded to the Register.
It is anticipated the Code will again be updated to incorporate the Register requirements by 1 July 2022.
The ACCC will have enforcement powers, including imposing penalties for noncompliance with the Register requirements.
Given this, Franchisors will need to make sure all aspects of their Disclosure Documents are compliant.
For all your franchising legal needs, contact Greyson Legal | Franchise Lawyers.