American Franchisee Association


Help from the FTC or Your State

Can the Government Help?

If you think your franchisor has violated a law, or acted unfairly or deceptively, you may be able to obtain redress through a state or federal agency. Below is a list of states that you can use to start the process. First you have to file the complaint, and allow your state regulator time to read and respond to your complaint. Once they have decided it is a legitimate complaint, they will notify you and let you know what to do next. Remember, you must have evidence that the franchisor has been unfair to you -- without evidence there is no case.

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ILLINOIS - Consumer Complaint Form

Springfield Office
500 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1090
TTY: (217) 785-2771

Chicago Office
100 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 814-2503
TTY: (312) 814-3374

Carbondale Office
1001 East Main Street
Carbondale, IL 62901
(618) 529-6400/6401
TTY: (618) 529-6403

MARYLAND - Complaint Form or

Maryland Office of the Attorney General
ATTN: Dale Cantone
200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202

VIRGINIA - Securities and Franchise Complaint Form or

The State Corporation Commission
Securities and Retail Franchising
ATTN: Brian Silverman
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Phone: (804) 371-9051

WASHINGTON State -  Complaint Form

Washington Department of Financial Institutions
ATTN: Martin Cordell
PO Box 41200
Olympia, WA 98504-1200
Fax: (360)586-5068


Case Selection Consideration

  • Is there an allegation of a violation of law enforced by the FTC?
  • Is the alleged violation within the applicable statute of limitations?
  • Does the problem appear to be an isolated event or part of a pattern or practice?
  • What is the likely level of consumer injury?
  • Is a law enforcement action viable?
  • Are the alleged violations close to the statute of limitations?
  • Can witnesses be located? Are they willing to cooperate? Is their testimony persuasive (i.e. memory, perception, bias).
  • What other evidence exits that the law violation occurred? Are documents available and complete? Can they be authenticated?
  • In a civil penalty action, can the Commission prove "actual knowledge or knowledge fairly implied (Section 5(m)(1)(A))?"
  • Is there a viable, meaningful remedy?
  • Does the company have assets? Can it make redress or pay a civil penalty?
  • What would be the deterrent effect on the company and on other franchise systems?
  • In a civil penalty action, how would a court consider the Section 5(m)(1)(A) factors: degree of culpability, prior history, ability to pay, effect on ability to continue to do business and "other matters as justice may require." What about harm to non-injured, existing franchisees?
  • What are the litigation risks?
  • What are the resource requirements and competing law enforcement objectives?
  • Are there alternatives to federal intervention?
  • Can the franchisee(s) sue under state law for fraud, misrepresentation or breach of contract?
  • Is the matter appropriate for a referral to state authorities or to the FTC’s alternative law enforcement program?

If you feel that after reading the above that your issue will be acceptable by FTC standards, you must fill out a Bureau of Consumer Protection Complaint Form.