购买特许经营生意时需要注意哪些法律问题(之一)

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假如你有兴趣购买一个特许经营生意时,您会与特许人(Franchisor)签署一份特许经营协议(Franchise agreement。该协议中一般都会赋予您在特定地区(比如在Richmond Hill)获得和享有特许经营权的权利。但是如果该协议没有规定你未来特许经营的具体位置。相反,该协议则规定,通过双方“尽最大努力”选择合适的地点。

假定你阅读特许人的特许权披露文件(the franchise disclosure document)后,你认为特许经营总部给你提供的装修或建造成本是在你的接受范围内。然后等你真正在Richmond Hill 找到你的特许经营地点后。却发现,实际的建设成本远远超出了特许人披露文件中所包含的装修或减税成本的范围,因而产生了你和特许人之间的争议。在这样的情况下,你能退出特许协议吗?换句话说,你是否可以撤销特许经营协议吗?

对于这样的问题,主要取决于诸多因素。这里只列出了两个因素:时效和撤销的原因。

根据上诉法院对Arthur Wishart法案的解释,特许人撤销特许经营协议的权利有两个不同的限制期,这取决于特许人何时提供披露文件和是否提供披露文件:

160天撤销期,特许人未在法定期限内提供披露披露文件,或者提供的披露文件内容不符合相关法定条件的; 2)特许人未能提供披露文件的,为期两年的撤销期限。

注:以上文章只是为了作为一般的讨论,读者不能完全以持依靠它作为法律建议。以下为英文原文:

Franchisor’s Disclosure Obligations

Suppose you are interested in purchasing a franchise business. You sign a franchise agreement with a franchisor. The agreement gives you the right to acquire and operate a franchise in Richmond Hill. The agreement does not specify a site for your future franchise. Rather, the agreement stipulates that a suitable location would be selected through the “reasonable best efforts” of both parties.

suppose the franchise disclosure document from the franchisor gives you an estimated range of costs to construct a leased space. You find the range acceptable.

Suppose you and the franchisor then find a location in Richmond Hill for your franchise business. However, a dispute arises because the actual construction cost far exceeds the estimated range of costs contained in the franchisor’s disclosure document.

Can you back out of the franchise agreement? In other words, can you rescind the agreement? It depends on many factors. Only two factors are listed here: timing and the reason for rescission.

According to the Court of Appeal’s interpretation of the Arthur Wishart Act, a franchisee’s right to rescind a franchise agreement has two different limitation periods, depending on when and whether the franchisor provides a disclosure document: (1) a 60-day rescission period if either a franchisor fails to deliver a disclosure document within the statutorily imposed time periods, or the contents of a disclosure document do not meet the statutory requirements; and (2) a two-year rescission period in the event of a failure by the franchisor to deliver a disclosure document.

The above is only intended to provide general information for discussion purposes. No reader is entitled to rely on it as legal advice.

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