How do you know if you are in a franchise relationship and not say a distribution arrangement?
Only a court can authoritatively determine if the relationship is a franchise or not.
Even where the exact nature of the relationship is indeterminate, parties can still agree to treat their relationship as a franchise to bring it under the Franchising Code and use the dispute resolution procedures available to resolve the conflict between them.
Clause 5 of the Code, provides a definition of which there is a franchising agreement in place between the parties:
5 Meaning of franchise agreement
(1) A franchise agreement is an agreement:
(a) that takes the form, in whole or part, of any of the following:
(i) a written agreement;
(ii) an oral agreement;
(iii) an implied agreement; and
(b) in which a person (the franchisor) grants to another person (the franchisee) the right to carry on the business of offering, supplying or distributing goods or services in Australia under a system or marketing plan substantially determined, controlled or suggested by the franchisor or an associate of the franchisor; and
(c) under which the operation of the business will be substantially or materially associated with a trade mark, advertising or a commercial symbol:
(i) owned, used or licensed by the franchisor or an associate of the franchisor; or
(ii) specified by the franchisor or an associate of the franchisor; and
(d) under which, before starting or continuing the business, the franchisee must pay or agree to pay to the franchisor or an associate of the franchisor an amount including, for example:
(i) an initial capital investment fee; or
(ii) a payment for goods or services; or
(iii) a fee based on a percentage of gross or net income whether or not called a royalty or franchise service fee; or
(iv) a training fee or training school fee;
(v) payment for goods and services supplied on a genuine wholesale basis; or
(vi) repayment by the franchisee of a loan from the franchisor or an associate of the franchisor; or
(vii) payment for goods taken on consignment and supplied on a genuine wholesale basis; or
(viii) payment of market value for purchase or lease of real property, fixtures, equipment or supplies needed to start business or to continue business under the franchise agreement.
(2) For subclause (1), each of the following is taken to be a franchise agreement:
(a) the transfer or renewal of a franchise agreement;
(b) the extension of the term or the scope of a franchise agreement;
(c) a motor vehicle dealership agreement.