The Franchising Code of Conduct (the Code) is a mandatory code that applies to all businesses involved in a franchise. The Code describes the behaviours expected of franchisees and franchisors and includes a process for managing disputes.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) can help with information on the dispute resolution process under the Code and provide access to an ADR practitioner or arbitrator if required.
The steps for dispute resolution under the Code are outlined below. Lodge a form about your dispute if you wish to discuss, or to receive additional information.
Changes to the Franchising Code of Conduct were enacted in June 2021 to increase fairness in franchising. You can find out more about the changes here.
Internal dispute resolution
The Code provides for both internal dispute resolution (using the franchisor’s established system) and Code-based dispute resolution procedures. Parties in dispute may attempt to resolve the dispute under either of these options. Parties should read the procedure in your franchise agreement and decide which process you’d like to use.
If the agreement’s internal dispute resolution process does not meet the minimum requirements of the Code, the Code’s procedures apply.
Disputes relating to early termination of a franchising agreement also fall under the Code’s dispute resolution process.
Franchising Code Dispute Resolution Process
If the dispute is not resolved through the internal dispute resolution process, the parties may refer the matter to mediation.
This a cost-effective dispute resolution option for franchisees and franchisors under the Code. Appointed mediators help franchisors and franchisees to resolve their dispute without going to court.
Once mediation is requested, it becomes mandatory for both parties to attend and to genuinely try to resolve the dispute.
There is a specialist panel of franchise dispute mediators in each state and territory.
Please use this form to provide feedback on your mediation experience.