If you are a franchisee or a franchisor, it's time to become familiar with the new Franchising Code of Conduct - and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) wants to help you do so.
A new Franchising Code of Conduct comes into effect on 1 January 2015.
Among the biggest changes is an obligation for franchisors and franchisees (including prospective franchisees) to act in good faith towards one another - and that's one of the provisions the ACCC has flagged as being high on its enforcement list, though the focus will be on "particularly egregious conduct," according to deputy chair Michael Schaper.
An important point is that even though certain parts of the new Code will not apply to pre-existing agreements, any renewal, transfer or variation of such agreements from 1 January 2015 brings them under the entire Code.
To help franchisees and franchisors understand their obligations, the ACCC has updated its franchisor compliance manual http://www.accc.gov.au/publications/franchisor-compliance-manual and franchisee manual http://www.accc.gov.au/publications/the-franchisee-manual with information about rights and responsibilities under the new Code.
The ACCC also operates a mailing list http://www.accc.gov.au/business/industry-codes/franchising-code-of-conduct#subscribe-to-the-franchising-information-network to inform interested parties of updates relating to the Code.