Electronic Franchise Disclosure and E-Signature Future for Investors


It has been discussed allowing Franchising companies to electronically disclose franchise documents to the public and prospective franchisees. If the Federal Trade Commission wants to make UFOC information available electronically through email to catch up with the newest technologies then it will get complaints and make up another rule saying no unsolicited UFOC maybe sent through email.

This is because the documents have gotten so large they amount to what would be considered an email bomb. The franchisors will have to document who emailed them and asked for information. Yet one cannot document incoming emails, because people use free-mail accounts and disguise their identity, even the Federal Trade Commission does this when phising for information about franchisor targets they wish to entrap, usually based on a letter from an attorney or a fake complaint coming from a competitor disguised as a consumer coming into the FTC's website.

The FTC is likely to look at electronic distribution through websites rather than emailing the disclosure documents. And then who is paying to keep it updated and which one do you put up if there are 12 registration states, multiple Canadian Provinces, notification states and the Federal Trade Commission version, all different. And web people last time I checked still do not work for free yet. So where as it might be theoretically cost effective and save trees (less paperwork) it will cost more in enhanced IT expenditures and web-services. Right now we see the US Government and the US military with their own needs and many of those who would work for franchisors in this regard are working elsewhere thus the supply and demand of such technological folks is dried up and the cost is through the roof. You are making a rules that will hurt the consumer and trees. All this cannot be considered "Cost-Effective," even though a recent franchise rule making report declared the over disclosure in modern franchising to be cost effective.

Most workers at the Federal Trade Commission, I have heard rumors at the Starbucks across the street, are quite liberal and even consider themselves in the Tree Huggers camp. Either you are for America, trees, consumers and free enterprise or you are for continuing this crazy tact in enacting more inane rules. Whose team is the Federal Trade Commission Franchising Division on anyway, well we know that it is safe to assume they are on the lawyers side, after all many are lawyers, aspire to be lawyers or cannot wait for the day they can get out and MoveOn into a cushy job with a private law firm.

Rules simply to make rules, with no real goal in mind and no end to the upcoming rules this will add in the future, provides no end game or solution. Perhaps the Federal Trade Commission wishes to fund the rule by paying every franchisor $37K or their estimated cost to print these documents for the next year or perhaps the Federal Trade Commission could contact the IRS for a tax credit on all money spent in UFOC printing as long as it was through a bonifide franchised print shop? Perhaps the Federal Trade Commission might start a "Shred It" franchise so they can recycle all the unused UFOCs, which will now have to be thrown out if this rule is enacted? Maybe they can make a paper me shay tree in the lunch room to worship as their new pagan god or make it into Christmas Tree and place under it new rules and regulations thus providing the gift of perpetual job security?

The Federal Trade Commission ought to lead by example and not send mixed messages to industry or force over regulation and minutia piling in disclosure laws. Think about it.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs


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