A new law has decreased the time needed to register and renew registration for the sale of franchises in Wisconsin. The statutory disclosure requirements themselves, however, have not changed.
Previously, franchisors were required to undergo a review process prior to registration. This lengthy process has been replaced with a simple notification.
Under state law, franchisors were already required to provide certain specific disclosures to prospective franchisees who could seek return of all fees paid as well as damages if the franchisor failed to comply. Therefore, supporters of the new law argued, there was no need for state regulators to review the disclosures for compliance.
Registration in Wisconsin may now be accomplished by filing an information package that includes these items:
- the Uniform Franchise Registration form,
- a copy of the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular ("UFOC"),
- Consent to Service of Process, and a $400 registration fee.
Elimination of the review process increases the importance of proper initial preparation of this information package.
Under the new law, a franchisor may "test the waters" by making advertisements and offers in the state without having to register. Registration must be in place, however, prior to making a sale.
Franchisors are still required to provide prospective franchisees with a franchise offering circular at least ten days prior to any contract being signed or any payment of consideration.
The revised law also provides that the state may not require changes to the UFOC filed by a franchisor and may not require the escrow of franchise fees.
As other state governments look for ways of reducing their operating expenses, look for them to adopt similar programs of franchise registration by notification.
von Briesen & Roper Legal Update is a periodic publication of von Briesen & Roper, s.c. It is intended for general information purposes for the community and highlights recent changes and developments in the legal area. This publication does not constitute legal advice, and the reader should consult legal counsel to determine how this information applies to any specific situation.