7-Eleven franchise owners are disappointed that the leadership of their own franchise owners associations haven’t stepped up and defended their honor.
The image of 7-Eleven franchise owners nationwide has been tarnished by well-publicized crackdowns by Federal authorities on groups of franchisees and managers accused of human trafficking, enslaving workers in a “modern day plantation system,” and supplying illegal immigrants with the social security numbers of dead people and children.
Coincidentally (or not), 7-Eleven, Inc. had already initiated a crackdown in which it terminated the franchise agreements and attempted to seize stores of franchisees it says were cheating the system and illegally siphoning off millions of dollars. The news media has featured dozens of detailed allegations regarding franchisees keeping separate sets of books, secretly buying inventory that was sold without reporting the income to 7-Eleven, Inc., and creative cash register manipulations designed to avoid franchise royalties.
Two of the alleged scammers were prominent leaders in the 7-Eleven franchisee community: Karamjeet Sodhi, the current President of the NJ Franchise Owners Association, and Tariq Khan, the former President of the National Coalition of 7-Eleven Franchise Owners Associations.
“Why aren’t our Franchise Owners Associations speaking up?” – 7-11 Franchisee
On the pro-franchisee website UnhappyFranchisee.Com, 7-Eleven franchise owners expressed disappointment that their elected representatives have failed to issue statements defending the integrity of the vast majority of honest, rule-compliant franchise owners, and have not objected to store seizures by the Japanese-owned franchisor without giving franchisees warning or the right to appeal.
“Our FOA representatives have remained silent while SEI (7-Eleven, Inc.) throws us under the bus,” wrote one franchisee in an email. “We thought something would come out of the national convention in Las Vegas, but there was nothing but the company line.”
“7-Eleven franchisees are not liars, cheats & slave traders” – 7-11 Franchisee
“Why have the heads of our FOAs [franchise owners associations] allowed the media to insinuate that 7-Eleven franchisees are liars, cheats and slave traders without pointing out that, first, no one has been convicted of any crime and, secondly, a very small minority of franchisees has been accused of wrong-doing,” wrote one franchisee in an email. “Their silence makes us all look guilty.”
Others have expressed outrage that the FOAs have not spoken out against the immediate, unilateral franchise terminations and store seizures enacted against franchisees 7-Eleven, Inc. claims have been “cheating” and violating their franchise agreements. 7-Eleven, Inc. has seized stores from successful owners, some of whom have been franchisees for 25 years, without giving them the benefit of a warning, a hearing, or the right to appeal.
“I’m not necessarily defending Khan or Sodhi,” wrote one franchisee. “If they cheated, they should be terminated. But shouldn’t there be some sort of process before this company can end its franchisee’s livelihoods and keep their investments whenever they feel like it?”
“Franchisees pay upfront fees in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for each store. Is it right for 7-Eleven, Inc. to be able to seize their stores based on their word alone, so they can sell it to someone new for hundreds of thousands more dollars?” said one franchisee on condition of anonymity.
“What if an employee was just making a mistake on the register but SEI thinks it’s cheating? Franchisees do not defend cheaters, but they are scared to death because they could be next. We can’t understand how our FOA leaders can remain silent and not speak up while 7-Eleven seizes the life savings of franchisees without as much as a hearing.”
7-Eleven franchisees are expressing fear and frustration that they are being intimidated and exploited by an abusive “imperial” franchisor that sees them as indentured servants. Wrote one franchisee: “When I first saw the headline about accusations of slavery at 7-Eleven, I thought ‘Finally, someone is writing about how the franchisees are being treated.’”
7-Eleven FOAs Invited to Comment
UnhappyFranchisee.Com has sent out an invitation to the heads of the local and regional 7-Eleven Franchise Owners Associations and to Bruce Maples, head of the National Coalition email us statements to UnhappyFranchisee[at]Gmail.com for immediate publication.
Individual franchisees are also invited to express their views in the comment section of any post, or by emailing us confidentially at UnhappyFranchisee[at]Gmail.com.
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