Victims of Franchise Fraud Deserve Support

I’m a democrat. I’m a democrat and I agree with President Trump that guns don’t pull their own triggers. “Mental illness and hatred pull triggers.”

Early Sunday morning, a 21-year-old with no police record opened fire in a crowded entertainment district at around 1am in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and 21 injured.

On Saturday, another shooter killed 21 people and injured at least 20 others at a Wal-mart in El Paso, Texas.

In response to the Texas killings, President Trump tweeted, “Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people…”

At an evening press conference police confirmed the staggering death toll. Texas Governor Greg Abbot, a Republican, said, “Twenty innocent people from El Paso have lost their lives and more than two dozen more are injured. We as a state unite in support of the victims and their family members. We want to do all we can to assist them.”

Victims need acknowledgment, support and assistance.

And, like President Trump, I believe that this country needs to better ways to deal with mental health issues. Guns don’t pull their own triggers.

My background is in psychology, human development and family studies… not business. Mental illness stems from many factors. Family stress, loss and poverty

Franchise fraud elicits family stress, loss and poverty.

Many franchiSEES face the loss of the money from an entire life’s work that culminates in a stressful, aggressive lawsuit. They worked for decades and then made the mistake of believing in the American dream and trusting the legitimacy of the United States franchise system.

But inaccuracies in their Franchise Disclosure Documents, and falsehoods they were told before they signed a franchise agreement won’t protect them from an aggressive attorney in a civil lawsuit under contract law.


No, of course not fairly disclosing revenue or being honest about litigation in the FDD before selling a franchise is not as bad as outright shooting a person. Not fairly keeping promises and then suing franchiSEES is not as bad using a gun on their families and loved ones.

No, convincing a vulnerable investor to believe a franchise award is based on survey “research” when in reality the “research” methodology is so faulty that survey results are nothing more than a deceptive advertisement is not as bad as murder.

It’s not as bad.


But, it’s still deceptively convincing an investor to sign a dangerous contract that gives the franchiSOR the power to take everything the frachiSEE owns.

It’s not as bad as pulling out a gun, but it’s still really really bad.

The endemic fraud in the franchise system occurs on a mass scale. It is so commonplace that the franchise industry accepts it as part of the normal way of doing business.

The magnitude of a deception that ultimately takes everything a family has and then calls the deception “business as usual” should not be minimized any more than mass shootings should be minimized.

Being on the receiving end of such a major, unknown and unacknowledged fraud is nothing close to “normal” for a victim family that has scraped together money for years in order to have an opportunity for business ownership.

The fact that common law has not evolved enough to protect franchiSEES from predatory franchiSORS does not excuse the predation. (Fair Franchise Act of 2017, page 4; this Act was introduced but never passed.)

Just like it is an act of cowardice to open fire on innocent victims at a Wal-Mart or in an entertainment district, it is an act of cowardice to deceive vulnerable American citizens, veterans, and legal hardworking immigrants out of their life savings using invalid franchisee satisfaction awards, incomplete and misleading Franchise Disclosure Documents, insincere promises, and aggressive civil process franchiSORS’ victims cannot financially withstand.

People in the business world may wink-wink and claim that if the government allows it to happen, it’s all good, but it’s still cowardice.

It’s easy and cowardly to be a predator. It’s much more difficult to be a victim.

The loss and stress of victimhood contributes to mental illness. The franchiSOR may get its money and celebrate its prowess, but fraud is the kind of business achievement that leaves misery its wake. Misery contributes to mental illness and mental illness, in turn, contributes to more harm done to society and our great nation.

Guns don’t pull their own triggers. Mental illness pulls triggers.

From a mental health perspective, one of the most disturbing things I commonly hear among people in the franchise industry is that franchiSEES who were burned just “didn’t do their research well enough.”

Er… in my world, we call that “victim blaming.” Victim blaming is one of many tools in predators’ toolboxes. In the franchise industry, pervasive victim blaming is one tool in the fraudulent system’s toolbox.

Victims of franchise fraud should not be blamed.

What if President Trump had told the families of the good people of Dayton, Ohio that their dead loved ones should have known better than to go to a United States entertainment district at 1am? What if he had blamed the crimes on the victims rather than pinning it on the bigger problem of mental illness?

What if instead of saying, “We as a state unite in support of the victims and their family members. We want to do all we can to assist them,” Governor Abbot had said, “The victims should have done a better job of protecting themselves. They should have been wearing bullet proof vests. There’s nothing we as a state can do for them.”


These responses would have been wrong, and we would have all been horrified.

Yet that is essentially what the franchise industry is saying to its own fraud victims: “You should have done your research. Sorry you’re going to lose everything you’ve worked your entire life to gain, but there’s nothing that any of us can do for you,” while continuing on the path of selling more of the same franchise.

And the government’s inaction communicates to the fraud victims that, “there’s nothing that we as a state or a country can do for you.”

Mass fraud isn’t nearly as bad as mass murder, but just as “there are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people,” there are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify defrauding innocent people.

The franchise industry systematically blames its fraud victims through making the claims that its victims “should have done their research.”

Of course franchiSEES who have been victimized believed they had done their research before they signed the dangerous contract. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have signed the dotted line. And consider that maybe they did do their research! Maybe the franchiSORS were behaving fraudulently.


It is not just to blame the victims. Nor is it honest.

The Federal Trade Commission has a franchise rule it doesn’t enforce but that makes it appear to franchiSEE investors as if there is FTC involvement.

Congress doesn’t pass Fair Franchise Acts, the International Franchise Association lobbies against a transparency bill that would save taxpayer dollars in order to protect its own revenue, and deceptive franchisee satisfaction “research” is advertised, luring investors into the trap of dangerous contracts and aggressive civil litigation.

None of these things are the defrauded franchiSEES fault.

But… somehow… when the franchiSEE is defrauded, it’s the franchiSEES’ fault for not doing their research?


The language surrounding franchise fraud is an example of victim blaming en masse. In the mental health world, victim blaming is an indication of abuse.

Franchise fraud is abusive to hard-working families who believe in the American dream.

Mental health issues often stem from family stress. Stress is associated with abuse.

Mental health issues pull triggers.

I’m a democrat, but I’m with President Trump on this one.

FranchiSORS and the International Franchise Association need to take responsibility for what they’re doing that’s harming the United States rather than blaming the fraud victims.

The politicians are right. The right way to treat victims is to tell them that their state and their country are behind them.

What the Unites States should be telling victimized franchiSEES is, “We as a state unite in support of you and your family members. We want to do all we can to assist you.”

Losing everything one has worked for thought a lifetime to mass fraud that is not resolved by the government and is perpetuated by the leaders in the industry should not be minimized any more than mass shootings should be minimized.

Victims of franchise fraud deserve support.

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