Prepare for Franchisee Screening Prior to Finalizing FDD

Sep 04, 2019
The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) is a federal requirement that franchisors must prepare in order to sell franchises.  It is a document that requires disclosure to potential franchisees in every state, registration in some states, and filing in some other states.  Many hours of time and legal fees are invested in its development. One of the items that is determined during the FDD process is the franchise fee.  Each franchisor has their own expectation for what their franchise fee should be.  Unfortunately, too often one of the issues that is forgotten is the procedure for vetting a potential franchisee, specifically the franchisee background screening process and the components that it should comprise. Proper franchisee background checks is one of the best investments for protecting the franchise brand.  This is not only a benefit to the franchisor, but to each subsequent franchisee, who also is making an investment in that brand. When properly structured, franchisee screening should cost the franchisor nothing, as the average fees associated with franchisee screening can either be added to the franchise fee, or simply disclosed in the FDD as a separate application fee or …

Gig Economy Needs Background Checks

Aug 23, 2019
The "gig economy," also known as the on-demand economy, typically hires contractors as consumer or business demand necessitates them.  The name derives from people working a "gig" or assignment versus regular full-time employment. Gig workers include individuals working in the sharing economy (ride, housing sharing, etc.) to displaced or retired executives who become highly paid consultants.  Even though workers in the gig economy are contractors and not traditional "W-2" employees, the need for background checks is still paramount, as the risks to one's brand, as well as negligent hiring and retention liability remain threats to any company or organization. From the customer perspective, it makes no difference if the individual performing the work is the company's contractor.  That individual represents the company to the purchasing public.  An implicit expectation is that this worker has been properly vetted, and does not pose a risk to the personal safety or financial well-being of the consumer. Courts certainly have shown through case law that companies are liable for the actions of their workers, whether they are a W-2 employee, or an independent contractor.  Viral social m…

Credit Reports Changed Two Years Ago – Do You Know How?

Jul 17, 2019
All credit reports provided by the three credit bureaus underwent dramatic change two years ago (July 1, 2017).  I first wrote about this in May 2017, Big Changes Coming to Credit Reports, and also in June 2017, Act Before Eviction Judgments Disappear From Credit Reports. This occurred due to a lawsuit settlement that the three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) agreed to accept. The enduring impact of this settlement is that public records reported by the three credit bureaus have been drastically diminished and altered.  Civil judgments and tax liens no longer appear on any credit report.  The only public records that still appear on credit reports are bankruptcies.  Based upon research, most people are still unaware of how the efficacy of credit reports has been significantly reduced  ̶  even though it has been more than two years since this vital public record information has been removed from credit reports. Fortunately, depending upon your industry, there are alternative solutions.  It was only the three credit bureaus that were impacted by the lawsuit settlement mentioned above.  Consumer reporting agencies, such as Reliable Background Screening, are not aff…

Background Check Reports are Not Interchangeable

Jun 19, 2019
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the federal law that regulates consumer reports, i.e., background check reports.  The FCRA has another purpose – the consumer lending protection law – but this article focuses on its regulations and their impact on background screening reports. The FCRA requires that consumer reports be obtained with proper consumer consent and for a permissible business purpose.  Permissible business purposes include the following (and many more): Employee Screening Volunteer Screening Resident/Tenant Screening Franchisee Screening Membership Screening Board of Directors Screening Client Screening Employee screening is the most regulated by the FCRA, and requires different consumer disclosures and authorization forms, as well as different service agreements to establish the employee screening account with the background screening company.  If your company or organization has a different type of background screening account, e.g., tenant screening or franchisee screening, it cannot use tenant screening or franchisee screening disclosures and products for employee screening purposes, or any other type of background screening purpose. When establi…
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