Top

CAREPATROL Interview with CEO Chuck Bongiovanni

September 10, 2014

Tthe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Complaint and a Decision and Order in 2012 regarding the elder care services referral franchise company CarePatrol, Inc. (Docket No. C-4379).

UnhappyFranchisee.Com investigated the issues behind the claims as well as our concerns that CarePatrol seemed to continue to make the same representations even after the FTC Order.

While he admitted that some old, outdated marketing verbiage related to their “grading” of assisted living facilites still needed to be deleted from the Internet (which he said was being done), CarePatrol CEO Chuck Bongiovanni explained why our other concerns were, in his opinion, unfounded.

UnhappyFranchisee.Com:  Mr. Bongiovanni, thanks for clarifying the reason for and the somewhat confusing nature of the FTC Complaint and Order against CarePatrol.

As I understand it, you are saying that CarePatrol advertised (and advertises) that it monitors and grades assisted care facilities, which it does for states where CarePatrol has representatives.  Separately, a national search engine optimization effort led you to list every state, even those where you do not have representatives, on your website.  This led the FTC to charge, in 2012,  that CarePatrol was being deceptive because your marketing implied that CarePatrol monitors and grades facilities in all 50 states, which it does not.

Chuck Bongiovanni CarePatrolChuck Bongiovanni:  That’s correct.  The statement that CarePatrol monitors and grades assisted care facilities was true in regard to the states where we have operations.  Our mistake was inadvertently implying, by listing all 50 states on our website, that we had operations in every state and therefore monitored and graded in all 50 states.

As soon as we heard their objections, we deleted references to states where we didn’t have operations from the website and the statements were no longer incorrect or misleading.  it was just an SEO problem that was fixed in 10 minutes after the FTC contacted me the first time.  We didn’t even wait until they made the decision, we did it immediately and absolutely cooperated.

The complaint never came from a customer, no one was ever harmed or had the potential of being harmed.  This was an administrative investigation.   We would not recommend a community to someone in which we never personally walked into or verified their state violations.

The FTC asked us for data for the states we were listed in and were satisfied with the results.  We did look up the violations for every community that we contracted with.  Mind you, we were never fined or found guilty of anything in regard to the areas where we have operations.  If the FTC found us blatantly lying or deceiving, we would have been fined and found guilty.

UnhappyFranchisee.Com:  Do you require your franchisees to monitor violation reports in their markets?

Chuck Bongiovanni:  Absolutely.   The state of Washington forces us and every agency to look up every violation PRIOR to recommending them.  We mandated this for EVERY FRANCHISEE BEFORE Washington even had the bill thought up or written.  We were the ONLY agency in the nation that held to those high standards.

UnhappyFranchisee.Com:  What about the claim that CarePatrol grades every facility from “A” to “F”  We have found dozens of CarePatrol web pages that still make that claim.

Chuck Bongiovanni:  Again, grading wasn’t an issue in the FTC Complaint.  Naming a state that we didn’t grade was and that was an SEO issue that we fixed.

We did discontinue “grading” in 2012, a few months before we were called by the FTC.  We felt better sharing the violation reports with the family then just giving them a grade.  No one else does this in the industry.

As for references to grading still being out there, we had several web design companies do work for us over the years and sometimes.  It is difficult to get an accurate account of every webpage that was built, but we have made every effort to take care of it.  I met with my IT team this morning and we are confident that everything is gone with any of those references.  If found by anyone, we would eliminate the page within the hour.

UnhappyFranchisee.Com:  Have you been complying with the record-keeping and disclosure terms of the order?  Specifically, you are required to provide a copy of the complaint and order to each new franchisee (or principal, member, partner, director), and to provide the FTC with a signed and dated acknowledgment within 30 days, right?

Chuck Bongiovanni:  The order stated we had to give a copy to any franchisee OR anyone who had internet advertising responsibilities.  Our franchisees are prohibited to advertise on the internet, but we go one step further and do discuss and show the FTC order to every new franchisee in training.  Proper acknowledgement was given in the time allotted or even before the deadline.  By the way.  One week after this investigation closed, the FTC worked very closely with us in investigating a very large competitor.

UnhappyFranchisee.Com:  As for the Item 3 disclosure in your FDD, are you confident that it’s OK that you did not mention the Order, and the franchisee obligations that come with it?

Chuck Bongiovanni:  Our attorneys update and recommend changes to our FDD.  His name is Dan Warshawsky.  We are confident in his abilities and legal representation.  The franchisees had NO OBLIGATIONS since they do not and cannot advertise on the internet according to our FDD at any time.  Since they cannot advertise or have a website up on the internet, they do not have any obligations.

My statement is on record with the FTC that we made no intent to deceive and it was just a SEO problem that was fixed in 10 minutes after the FTC contacted me the first time.  We didn’t even wait until they made the decision, we did it immediately and absolutely cooperated.

Again, there may have been some remnants of sites or videos still out there.  I asked my IT team to make an audit today and take down anything remotely close to it.

UnhappyFranchisee.Com:  We see that a number of videos and web pages have been corrected or deleted based on our reporting.  We appreciate your swift action and for taking the time to explain your side of the issues raised by the FTC Complaint and Order.

Chuck Bongiovanni:  Thank you.

CAREPATROL Investigation & Discussion Links

CAREPATROL Investigation: Documents & Links (Includes actual CarePatrol FDDs and FTC Documents)

Is the CAREPATROL Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) Misleading?

CAREPATROL Videos & Commercials

CAREPATROL Investigation: FTC Complaint Press Release

Older posts:

CAREPATROL Franchise Complaint – Updated  October 11, 2010

CAREPATROL: Franchisees Praise the CarePatrol Franchise    October 14, 2010

 

ALSO READ:

FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CAREPATROL OR THE CAREPATROL FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: CarePatrol, CarePatrol senior services, CarePatrol FTC violations, FTC, Federal Trade Commission, CarePatrol franchise, CarePatrol investigation, Chuck Bongiovanni, unhappy franchisee

CHUCK BONGIOVANNI Letter re: CarePatrol Marketing Representations

September 8, 2014

Chuck Bongiovanni, CEO of CarePatrol, was asked to explain the continued use of marketing representations that appear to have been prohibited by a 2012 Order by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  There may be a perfectly good explanation for why CarePatrol continues to make representations regarding its monitoring of the senior care industry that the FTC deemed false and misleading two years ago.

We have reached out to CarePatrol CEO Chuck Bongiovanni to invite him to provide us with that explanation.

If others would like to comment on CarePatrol’s marketing, CarePatrol senior placement services or the CarePatrol franchise opportunity, please leave a comment – positive or negative – below.

 

Mr. Chuck Bongiovanni

Chief Executive Officer

CarePatrol Franchise Systems, LLC

428 S. Gilbert Road

Gilbert, AZ  85296

 

Dear Mr. Bongiovanni:

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has received an anonymous complaint that alleges that CarePatrol continues to make claims that, in 2012, the FTC deemed false, misleading, deceptive and that violated Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

It does appear that CarePatrol has continued to use the exact (or very close to exact) representations in its marketing that the FTC objected to in 2012.  However, I know that things aren’t always as clearcut as they appear, and would like to give you a chance to respond to these allegations directly.

In the course of looking into the consumer marketing allegations, questions arose as to the forthrightness and adequacy of CarePatrol’s mandated disclosure of the FTC Complaint and Order in Item 3 of your Franchise Disclosure Document.  We would like to give you the opportunity to respond to these questions as well.

1. The claim that CarePatrol monitors care history and state violations

In 2012, the FTC complaint gave this example of a representation it deemed false or misleading:

…CarePatrol’s local, Nationally Certified Advisors… monitor each community’s care history and state violations so we can recommend: The Safest Options For Your Loved One

The FTC Complaint alleged that:

In truth and in fact…  CarePatrol does not monitor or grade the care history and violations of virtually all, or a substantial majority, of assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location. In most states listed on CarePatrol’s website, it has not monitored or graded any facilities…

The FTC Order said:

IT IS ORDERED that respondent, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, franchisee, or other device, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, or sale of any covered service in or affecting commerce, shall not represent in any manner, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that:

1. It or its franchisees monitor or evaluate the care history or state violations of any number, portion, or percentage of assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location…

However, we have identified a number of CarePatrol promotional videos and commercials that contain such statements as:

“CarePatrol researches the care and violation history of every community in their network BEFORE they recommend them to you”

“CarePatrol not only knows what options are available for your family, but they monitor the violation and care history of every provider in their network so they can recommend only the best to you.”

To reference these videos and commercials you can go here:

CAREPATROL Videos & Commercials: STILL Misleading?

http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/carepatrol-videos-commercials-misleading/

We have also identified numerous active web pages that contain such statements as:

“…That’s why CarePatrol looks beyond the chandeliers and fancy lobbies and monitors each community’s care history and state violations.”

“…We review care and violation history for every community we recommend and we continue to monitor the community.”

Mr. Bongiovanni, is CarePatrol simply ignoring the FTC Order or is CarePatrol making these statements with the approval of the Federal Trade Commission?

2. The claim that CarePatrol grades every facility based on its most recent inspection report

CarePatrol FranchiseIn 2012, the FTC complaint gave this example of a representation it deemed false or misleading:

At CarePatrol.. We Grade Each and Every Facility From “A” to “F” Based On Their Last State Survey. Our Local Senior Care Consultants also Pre-Screen every home we recommend…

Regarding CarePatrol’s representation that it “grades” each facility, the FTC Complaint stated:

CarePatrol does not monitor or grade the care history and violations of virtually all, or a substantial majority, of assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location… In numerous instances, CarePatrol does not monitor or grade assisted living facilities based on a review of the facilities’ most recent state inspection reports.

The FTC Order stated:

IT IS ORDERED that respondent, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, franchisee, or other device, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, or sale of any covered service in or affecting commerce, shall not represent in any manner, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that:

3. It or its franchisees evaluate assisted living facilities based on a review of information, including state surveys, or any other records detailing the performances of these facilities…

However, we have identified a number of current CarePatrol promotional videos and commercials that contain such statements as:

“Only CarePatrol grades every facility from A to F based on their latest state survey and their experience with the home.”

“We grade every facility from “A” to “F”… We know which facilities are having problems.”

We have also identified numerous active web pages that contains such statements as:

“We are the only agency that grades each and every facility from “A” to “F” based on their most recent state survey.”

“Only CarePatrol of Scottsdale grades each and every facility from “A” to “F”, based on their most recent state survey so you can have Peace of Mind knowing that you will never receive a Care Option that has serious violations.”

These current representations appear to us to be identical to those that caused the FTC to file a Complaint and issue a 20-year Order for CarePatrol.

Is that not the case?  Is CarePatrol, in fact, complying with the terms of the 2012 FTC Order?

3. The Item 3 disclosure in the CarePatrol FDD seems inadequate and intentionally misleading

Chuck Bongiovanni CarePatrolMr. Bongiovanni, we were distressed to find that your required disclosure of the FTC actions against CarePatrol seemed to intentionally downplay the seriousness and actual content of the FTC Complaint, and did not even mention the existence of the 20-year Order imposed on CarePatrol.

As the FTC Decision and Order contains restrictions and record-keeping obligations for every franchisee, this omission seems to violate both the letter and the spirit of the FTC Franchise Rule regarding required disclosures for the Franchise Disclosure Document.

The inclusion of two questionable and unsubstantiated statements within a summary of the FTC Complaint (That there was no intention to mislead, and that the infractions were caused by search engine optimization writing) despite the fact that neither issue was stated in the Complaint smacks of deception and misdirection.

Do you truly feel that state franchise examiners will feel your Item 3 is truthful and adequate once they’ve reviewed the actual Complaint and Order?

You may read our line-by-line commentary of the CarePatrol Item 3 here:

Is the CAREPATROL Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) Misleading?

http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/carepatrol-franchise-disclosure-document-fdd-misleading/

Is CarePatrol honest & trustworthy?

Few franchise brands rely on trustworthiness to a greater extent than CarePatrol.

We know things are sometimes not as they appear;  we look forward to your clarifications if that is the case.

We all know that mistakes are often made, and that a willingness to admit and correct fault is an admirable trait.

I hope that you’ll embrace this opportunity to demonstrate your transparency and commitment to honesty and integrity in both your consumer marketing and your franchise disclosures with a timely and constructive response.

As you know from past dealings, UnhappyFranchisee.Com will post your statements, rebuttals, corrections and clarifications accurately, fairly and respectfully.

Feel free to respond to UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com. You can also post comments on any and every post.

Yours in franchising,

 

ADMIN

UnhappyFranchisee.Com

*   *   *   *   *  

CAREPATROL Investigation & Discussion Links

CAREPATROL Made False, Deceptive, Misleading Claims, States FTC

CAREPATROL Investigation: Documents & Links (Includes actual CarePatrol FDDs and FTC Documents)

Is the CAREPATROL Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) Misleading?

CAREPATROL Videos & Commercials: STILL Misleading?

CAREPATROL Investigation: FTC Complaint Press Release

Older posts:

CAREPATROL Franchise Complaint – Updated  October 11, 2010

CAREPATROL: Franchisees Praise the CarePatrol Franchise    October 14, 2010

 

ALSO READ:

FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CHUCK BONGIOVANNI, CAREPATROL OR THE CAREPATROL FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: Chuck Bongiovanni, CarePatrol CEO Chuck Bongiovanni, CarePatrol, CarePatrol senior services, CarePatrol Franchise Disclosure Document, CarePatrol FDD, CarePatrol litigation, CarePatrol referral services, CarePatrol complaints, CarePatrol FTC violations, FTC, Federal Trade Commission, CarePatrol franchise, CarePatrol franchise opportunity, CarePatrol franchise complaints, CarePatrol investigation,  unhappy franchisee

CAREPATROL Made False, Deceptive, Misleading Claims, States FTC

September 8, 2014

CAREPATROL Made False, Deceptive, Misleading Claims, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Has CarePatrol ceased making misleading representations… or not?

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) December 3, 2012 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Complaint and a Decision and Order regarding the elder care services referral franchise company CarePatrol, Inc. (Docket No. C-4379).

The FTC Complaint alleged that CarePatrol made representations that were “false or misleading” regarding its supposed analysis, monitoring and grading of senior care facilities, that it misrepresented the size and coverage of its consulting network, and that those misrepresentations constituted “deceptive acts or practices… in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.”

The FTC complaint cited these CarePatrol representations (among others) as false and misleading:

…CarePatrol’s local, Nationally Certified Advisors… monitor each community’s care history and state violations so we can recommend: The Safest Options For Your Loved One

At CarePatrol.. We Grade Each and Every Facility From “A” to “F” Based On Their Last State Survey. Our Local Senior Care Consultants also Pre-Screen every home we recommend…

The FTC complaint stated:

…CarePatrol has made representations, expressly or by implication that:

a. It monitors or grades the care history and violations of virtually all, or a substantial majority, of all assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location (Exhs. A

through C);

b. It provides services through a network of senior care consultants who are located in every state (Exh. C); and

c. It monitors or grades assisted living facilities based on a review of the facilities’ latest state inspection reports (Exh. B).

7. In truth and in fact:

a. CarePatrol does not monitor or grade the care history and violations of virtually all, or a substantial majority, of assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location. In most states listed on CarePatrol’s website, it has not monitored or graded any facilities;

b. CarePatrol does not provide its services through a network of senior care consultants who are located in every state; and

c. In numerous instances, CarePatrol does not monitor or grade assisted living facilities based on a review of the facilities’ most recent state inspection reports.

Therefore, the representations set forth in Paragraph 6 are false or misleading.

The FTC issued a Decision and Order that prohibits CarePatrol from making prohibited representations:

I. Prohibited Misrepresentations; Substantiation

A. IT IS ORDERED that respondent, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, franchisee, or other device, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, or sale of any covered service in or affecting commerce, shall not represent in any manner, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that:

1. It or its franchisees monitor or evaluate the care history or state violations of any number, portion, or percentage of assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location;

2. It or its franchisees provide their services through officers, agents, employees, and/or contractors who are located in any geographic area of the United States; or

3. It or its franchisees evaluate assisted living facilities based on a review of information, including state surveys, or any other records detailing the performances of these facilities, unless the representation is non-misleading and, at the time it is made, respondent possesses and relies upon competent and reliable evidence that, when considered in light of the entire body of relevant evidence, substantiates that the representation is true.

The FTC Decision and Order also requires CarePatrol to maintain and provide to the FTC any promotional materials containing the representations along with substantiation of its claims:

II. Records

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent CarePatrol, Inc., and its successors and assigns, shall, for five (5) years after the last date of dissemination of any representation covered by this order, maintain and upon request make available to the Federal Trade Commission for inspection and copying:

A. All advertisements and promotional materials containing the representation;

B. All materials that were relied upon in disseminating the representation; and

C. All reports, studies, surveys, demonstrations, or other evidence in its possession

or control that contradict, qualify, or call into question the representation, or the basis relied upon for the representation, including complaints and other communications with consumers or with governmental or consumer protection organizations.

Is CarePatrol Complying With the FTC Order?

CarePatrol currently has hundreds of active promotional videos posted on YouTube under the accounts including CarePatrol, CarePatrolVideo and Chuck Bongiovanni.

A number of these videos (in our opinion) seem to contain the representations prohibited by the FTC Order.

For example, the narrator of “CarePatrol “National TV Commercial” posted since 2013 states: "CarePatrol researches the care and violation history of every community in their network BEFORE they recommend them to you”

“CarePatrol Assisted Living Search”  published since February 2011 by Chuck Bongiovanni states  “CarePatrol pre-screens and monitors assisted living violation records, their care history, and continues to monitor them to refer only the best.”

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has posted a number of CarePatrol videos and commercials that make research, grading and monitoring claims here:  CAREPATROL Videos & Commercials: STILL Misleading?

In addition to videos, there are literally dozens of promotional web pages that contain virtually the same claims that prompted the FTC Complaint.

We aren’t sure whether these representations are in violation of the 2012 FTC Order or not… We are seeking clarification from the company and the FTC.

Is CarePatrol Misrepresenting the FTC Order in its Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)?

Another issue is whether CarePatrol is accurately and properly disclosing the FTC Complaint and Order to prospective franchisees as required by the FTC Franchise Rule.

Franchisors, like CarePatrol, Inc., are required to disclose certain information to prospective franchisees in a document called a Franchise Disclosure Document, or FDD.

According to the FTC Franchise Rule Compliance Guide:

The franchisor must disclose whether it… is subject to a currently effective injunctive or restrictive order or decree resulting from a pending or concluded action brought by a governmental agency – such as the FTC, SEC, or state Attorney General – under a federal, state, or Canadian franchise, securities, antitrust, trade regulation, or trade practice law, or that otherwise relates to the franchise…

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has raised the concern that CarePatrol may have misrepresented and minimized the severity of the FTC Complaint, as its disclosure wording seems to imply that the FTC was simply requesting some web site wording changes (which CarePatrol complied with), that “there was no intent to deceive” on the part of CarePatrol.  and that there “was no fine or penalty imposed.”

CarePatrol, Inc. neglects to disclose the existence of the FTC Decision and Order FTC which imposes prohibitions, restrictions, record-keeping and disclosure obligations on CarePatrol, its employees, officers, agents and franchisees for a term of not less than 20 years.

For more on our concerns about CarePatrol’s Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) read:  Is the CAREPATROL Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) Misleading?

UnhappyFranchisee.Com Invites Open Dialogue on CAREPATROL and the CAREPATROL franchise

We believe that CarePatrol, Inc., CEO Chuck Bongiovanni and CarePatrol franchise owners deserve every opportunity to provide clarifications, opinions, rebuttals or other statements regarding the concerns raised by UnhappyFranchisee.Com.  We are reaching out to Mr. Bongiovanni and will be happy to faithfully publish his responses and his clarifications.  All are welcome to provide comments on any CarePatrol post or provide comments in confidence via emails.

We are also inviting input from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on both the consumer protection and franchise disclosure issues, and will also be seeking input from state franchise regulatory agencies in the future.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on these important issues regarding CarePatrol and senior care consulting agencies.

CAREPATROL Investigation & Discussion Links

CAREPATROL Investigation: Documents & Links (Includes actual CarePatrol FDDs and FTC Documents)

Is the CAREPATROL Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) Misleading?

CAREPATROL Videos & Commercials: STILL Misleading?

CAREPATROL Investigation: FTC Complaint Press Release

Older posts:

CAREPATROL Franchise Complaint – Updated  October 11, 2010

CAREPATROL: Franchisees Praise the CarePatrol Franchise    October 14, 2010

ALSO READ:

FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CAREPATROL OR THE CAREPATROL FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: CarePatrol, CarePatrol senior services, CarePatrol Franchise Disclosure Document, CarePatrol FDD, CarePatrol litigation, CarePatrol referral services, CarePatrol complaints, CarePatrol FTC violations, FTC, Federal Trade Commission, CarePatrol franchise, CarePatrol franchise opportunity, CarePatrol franchise complaints, CarePatrol investigation, Chuck Bongiovanni, unhappy franchisee

Is the CAREPATROL Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) Misleading?

September 8, 2014

CarePatrol, Inc. offers a franchise opportunity based on its senior care services referral program.  UnhappyFranchisee.Com asks:  Is CarePatrol’s franchise disclosure misleading regarding an FTC complaint for making false and misleading claims?

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Franchisors, like CarePatrol, Inc., are required to disclose certain information to prospective franchisees in a document called a Franchise Disclosure Document, or FDD.

According to the FTC Franchise Rule Compliance Guide:

The franchisor must disclose whether it… is subject to a currently effective injunctive or restrictive order or decree resulting from a pending or concluded action brought by a governmental agency – such as the FTC, SEC, or state Attorney General – under a federal, state, or Canadian franchise, securities, antitrust, trade regulation, or trade practice law, or that otherwise relates to the franchise…

In December, 2013 the FTC issued a Complaint and Decision and Order against CarePatrol for allegedly making false and misleading advertising claims.

Read more and see CarePatrol FDDs here:  CAREPATROL Investigation: Documents & Links

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has raised the concern that CarePatrol may have misrepresented and minimized the severity of the FTC Complaint, as its disclosure wording seems to imply that the FTC was simply requesting some web site wording changes (which CarePatrol complied with), that “there was no intent to deceive” on the part of CarePatrol.  and that there “was no fine or penalty imposed.”

CarePatrol, Inc. neglects to disclose the existence of the FTC Decision and Order FTC which imposes prohibitions, restrictions, record-keeping and disclosure obligations on CarePatrol, its employees, officers, agents and franchisees for a term of not less than 20 years.

CarePatrol Franchise Disclosure Document FDD

CarePatrol’s Franchise Disclosure Raises Questions & Concerns

UnhappyFranchisee.com has serious questions and concerns about CarePatrol’s required disclosure to franchise agencies and prospective franchisees.

We invite Mr. Bongiovanni, CarePatrol, the FTC and state franchise regulators to review our point-by-point comments below.

CarePatrol states:  “On December 3, 2012, The Federal Trade Commission issued a complaint against CAREPATROL, Inc., regarding certain wording on CAREPATROL’s web site.”

UnhappyFranchisee.com comments:  Actually, on December 3, the Federal Trade Commission not only issued a complaint against CarePatrol, Inc. charging CarePatrol with making false and misleading advertising claims that “constitute deceptive acts or practices… in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act,”  the FTC also issued an official Decision and Order that imposed restrictions and obligations on CarePatrol and CarePatrol franchisees for a term of 20 years.  Why does CarePatrol fail to mention the Decision and Order in its FDD and state registrations?

 

CarePatrol states: “The Commission objected to wording that seemed to imply that CAREPATROL “monitors or grades the care history of all or a substantial majority, of assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location…”

UnhappyFranchisee.com comments:  The Complaint doesn’t say the FTC “objected to wording that seemed to imply.”  In fact, the FTC Complaint is much more direct:

…CarePatrol has made representations, expressly or by implication that… It monitors or grades the care history and violations of virtually all, or a substantial majority, of all assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location… In truth and in fact…  CarePatrol does not monitor or grade the care history and violations of virtually all, or a substantial majority, of assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location. In most states listed on CarePatrol’s website, it has not monitored or graded any facilities…

CarePatrol states:  “that it was incorrect to list every state under a “Click Below to Meet Our Consultants” heading, in states in which CAREPATROL does not have franchises, as CAREPATROL does not have consultants in every state…”

UnhappyFranchisee.com comments:  The CarePatrol FDD disclosure statement seems to imply that the FTC was simply commenting on the format of the CarePatrol website.   In fact, the Complaint clearly alleges that CarePatrol falsely represented that it had representatives in every state when it does not:

…CarePatrol has made representations, expressly or by implication that… It provides services through a network of senior care consultants who are located in every state… In truth and in fact… CarePatrol does not provide its services through a network of senior care consultants who are located in every state…

CarePatrol states:  “and that CAREPATROL “does not monitor or grade assisted living facilities based on most recent state inspections.”

UnhappyFranchisee.com comments:  The FTC objection was not that CarePatrol does not monitor and grade assisted living based on the most recent state inspections, it was that CarePatrol falsely tells its clients and prospective clients that it DOES so.  The FTC complaint states:

   …CarePatrol has made representations, expressly or by implication that… It monitors or grades assisted living facilities based on a review of the facilities’ latest state inspection reports… In truth and in fact… In numerous instances, CarePatrol does not monitor or grade assisted living facilities based on a review of the facilities’ most recent state inspection reports.”

CarePatrol states:  “There was no intent to mislead…”

UnhappyFranchisee.com comments:  Nowhere in the Complaint or Decision and Order does it state that CarePatrol did not intend to mislead.  The complaint clearly states that CarePatrol made false and misleading claims and that CarePatrol communicated that it “possessed a reasonable basis that substantiated the representations” when it did not.  The inclusion of the statement “There was no intent to mislead” within a purported summary of the FTC complaint seems to imply that the FTC concluded that CarePatrol’s violations were accidental or inadvertent… an implication that could be construed as yet another attempt to mislead.

CarePatrol states:  “and the wording was for marketing and search engine optimization purposes only.”

UnhappyFranchisee.com comments:  OF COURSE the wording was for marketing purposes (!).  We believe that CarePatrol meant to state that “the wording was for search engine marketing and optimization (SEO) purposes only,” and to imply that the misrepresentations were the accidental result of well-intentioned SEO copywriting.  However, the FTC Complaint never states that the CarePatrol misrepresentations were unintentional or not meant to decieve.  The severe 20-year Order imposed on CarePatrol principals, employees, agents and franchisees suggests that the FTC does not chalk up these violations to an honest mistake.

Additionally, the fact that some of the same representations seem to appear in CarePatrol YouTube videos – where they provide no SEO benefit – discredit that claim (in our humble opinion, at least).

To see current CarePatrol videos and commercials we suspect may be in violation of the FTC Order, see:  CAREPATROL Videos & Commercials: STILL Misleading?

 

CarePatrol states:  “In compliance, CAREPATROL modified the wording on its web site per FTC instructions.  There was no fine or penalty imposed.  Federal Trade Commission Docket No C-4379.”

UnhappyFranchisee.com comments:  The statement that “There was no fine or penalty imposed” seems blatantly misleading, as the FTC imposed an official Order containing prohibitions, restrictions, record-keeping and disclosure obligations on CarePatrol, its employees, officers, agents and franchisees for a term of not less than 20 years.  We wonder if CarePatrol’s failure to disclose the existence and content of the FTC Decision and Order constitutes a breach of the disclosure requirements of the FTC Franchise Rule.

According to the FTC Franchise Rule Compliance Guide:

The franchisor must disclose whether it… is subject to a currently effective injunctive or restrictive order or decree resulting from a pending or concluded action brought by a governmental agency – such as the FTC, SEC, or state Attorney General – under a federal, state, or Canadian franchise, securities, antitrust, trade regulation, or trade practice law, or that otherwise relates to the franchise…

The statement implying that CarePatrol is “In compliance” is also questionable in our opinion.  The FTC Franchise Rule Compliance Guide states that a franchisor isn’t in full compliance as long as an Order is still in effect:

… a party cannot fully comply with an order to act or to refrain from acting (for example, to comply with the amended Franchise Rule) until the order expires by its own terms.

CarePatrol states:  “No other litigation is required to be disclosed in this Franchise Disclosure Document.”

UnhappyFranchisee.com comments:  The Federal Trade Commission requires franchisors to disclose major obligations and responsibilities expected of its franchisees in the document known as a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).

The December 3rd, 2013 FTC Order imposes advertising and sales restrictions and record-keeping and reporting obligations not only upon CarePatrol, Inc. but also its franchisees.

However, we cannot find any reference to the FTC Complaint or a disclosure of the restrictions and responsibilities upon franchisees in the CarePatrol FDDs we have reviewed.

CAREPATROL Investigation & Discussion Links

CAREPATROL Investigation: Documents & Links (Includes actual CarePatrol FDDs and FTC Documents)

CAREPATROL Videos & Commercials: STILL Misleading?

CAREPATROL Investigation: FTC Complaint Press Release

CAREPATROL Franchise Complaint – Updated  October 11, 2010

CAREPATROL: Franchisees Praise the CarePatrol Franchise    October 14, 2010

 

ALSO READ:

FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CAREPATROL OR THE CAREPATROL FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: CarePatrol, CarePatrol senior services, CarePatrol Franchise Disclosure Document, CarePatrol FDD, CarePatrol litigation, CarePatrol referral services, CarePatrol complaints, CarePatrol FTC violations, FTC, Federal Trade Commission, CarePatrol franchise, CarePatrol franchise opportunity, CarePatrol franchise complaints, CarePatrol investigation, Chuck Bongiovanni, unhappy franchisee

CAREPATROL Videos & Commercials: STILL Misleading?

September 8, 2014

CarePatrol is a franchised elder-care referral service that has, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), made false and misleading representations about its services.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) CarePatrol and its franchise owners earn referral fees from assisted living facilities and senior care service providers.  The FTC alleges that CarePatrol misrepresented the extent to which it actually “patrols” elder care facilities and exaggerated both its investigative efforts and its geographical coverage.

In 2012, the FTC issued a complaint and a Decision and Order prohibiting CarePatrol from representing, either directly or indirectly, that “It or its franchisees monitor or evaluate the care history or state violations of any number, portion, or percentage of assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location, or that “[CarePatrol] or its franchisees evaluate assisted living facilities based on a review of information, including state surveys, or any other records detailing the performances of these facilities.”

The 2012 FTC complaint specifically characterized these statements by CarePatrol as false and misleading:

…CarePatrol’s local, Nationally Certified Advisors… monitor each community’s care history and state violations so we can recommend: The Safest Options For Your Loved One

At CarePatrol.. We Grade Each and Every Facility From “A” to “F” Based On Their Last State Survey. Our Local Senior Care Consultants also Pre-Screen every home we recommend…

Is CarePatrol Violating the 2012 FTC Order?

CarePatrol continues to promotes its services with hundreds of videos on several YouTube accounts, including CarePatrol, CarePatrolVideo and Chuck Bongiovanni.

CarepatrolWe have found numerous active CarePatrol promotional videos that contain representations that seem to be (in our opinion) the same or very similar  to those prohibited by the FTC.

In fact, CarePatrol CEO Chuck Bongiovanni’s own YouTube account currently displays videos with the original representations (see screenshot left).

Some of these videos were posted before the December 3, 2012 FTC order was issued, but several have been posted since the Order took effect.

What do you think?  Are these CarePatrol videos and commercials violating the Federal Trade Commission Order?

We are also inviting CarePatrol, CEO Chuck Bongiovanni and the FTC for their opinions, comments, insights, clarifications an/or rebuttals.

Title:  CarePatrol National TV Commercial

Published: Oct 14, 2013

By: CarePatrolVideo

Excerpt: “CarePatrol researches the care and violation history of every community in their network BEFORE they recommend them to you”

 

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Title:  CarePatrol 30 Second Commercial

Published: Oct 14, 2013

By: CarePatrolVideo

Excerpt:  “They pre-screen and pre-view  the care and violation history of every care option in their network.”

 

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Title:  Senior Care Options

Published: Mar 31, 2014

By:  CarePatrol

Excerpt:   “CarePatrol not only knows what options are available for your family, but they monitor the violation and care history of every provider in their network so they can recommend only the best to you.”

 

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Title:  CarePatrol Senior Placement Service

Published: Jul 13, 2009

By:  Chuck Bongiovanni

Excerpt:   “Only CarePatrol grades every facility from A to F based on their latest state survey and their experience with the home.”

 

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Title: CarePatrol Assisted Living Search

Published: Feb 18, 2011

By: Chuck Bongiovanni

Excerpt:   “CarePatrol pre-screens and monitors assisted living violation records, their care history, and continues to monitor them to refer only the best.”

 

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Title:  Why Use CarePatrol

Published:  Apr 19, 2010

By: Chuck Bongiovanni

Excerpt:   “We grade every facility from “A” to “F”… We know which facilities are having problems.”

 

*   *   *   *   *

PLEASE NOTE:  Some of these representations may NOT be violations of the 2012 FTC Order.

CarePatrol, Inc. MAY have proper documentation and substantiation of these claims.

However, UnhappyFranchisee.Com is exercising its constitutionally protected right to question whether CarePatrol is in compliance with the FTC mandate, and to invite others (including the company and the FTC) to share their opinions as well.

Videos and images are the intellectual property of CarePatrol, Inc., and displayed here for editorial purposes.

CAREPATROL Investigation & Discussion Links

CAREPATROL Investigation: Documents & Links

CAREPATROL Investigation: FTC Complaint Press Release

CAREPATROL Franchise Complaint – Updated  October 11, 2010

CAREPATROL: Franchisees Praise the CarePatrol Franchise    October 14, 2010

 

ALSO READ:

FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CAREPATROL OR THE CAREPATROL FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: CarePatrol, CarePatrol senior services, CarePatrol referral services, CarePatrol complaints, CarePatrol FTC violations, FTC, Federal Trade Commission, CarePatrol franchise, CarePatrol franchise opportunity, CarePatrol franchise complaints, CarePatrol investigation, CarePatrol commercial, CarePatrol video, CarePatrol YouTube, Chuck Bongiovanni, unhappy franchisee

CAREPATROL Investigation: Documents & Links

September 8, 2014

The CAREPATROL Investigation: Documents & Links page is an index, reference page and document repository for the CarePatrol discussions and posts on UnhappyFranchisee.Com.

Please scroll down for a list of our CarePatrol discusssion links, or use the “Search by Company” pull-down menu in the right sidebar.

CarePatrol is a senior care referral service franchise charged by the FTC for alleged deceptive advertising practices.

UnhappyFranchisee.Com is interested in hearing whether others, including the company, its franchisees and the FTC, believe that CarePatrol is in compliance with both the 2012 FTC order and the disclosure rules of the FTC Franchise Rule.

Are you familiar with CarePatrol senior services or the CarePatrol franchise?  Please share your opinion – positive or negative – on this or any other CarePatrol post.

Check back often as we will be updating this page.

CAREPATROL FTC DOCUMENTS
9/17/12 CarePatrol FTC Agreement With Consent Order
CarePatrol FTC Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public Comment
PRESS RELEASE:  CAREPATROL Investigation: FTC Complaint Press Release
12/3/12 CarePatrol FTC Complaint
CarePatrol FTC Complaint Exhibits
CarePatrol FTC Decision and Order
CAREPATROL FRANCHISE DISCLOSURE  DOCUMENTS (FDD)
5/15/13 CarePatrol 2013 Franchise Disclosure Document MN  (Litigation Section: P. 25)
8/15/13 CarePatrol 2013 Franchise Disclosure Document CA  (Litigation Section: P. 10)
CarePatrol 2013 Exhibit D List of Franchisees
CarePatrol 2013 Exhibit E List of Terminated Franchisees

Screenshots of Some Current CarePatrol Videos

Carepatrol CarePatrol
Note:  Some of these advertising representations seem to be (in our opinion) similar or identical to those prohibited by the 2012 FTC Order.

The actual videos can be viewed at:

CAREPATROL Investigation: Videos & Commercials

CarePatrol Franchise
CarePatrol

CAREPATROL Investigation & Discussion Links

 

CAREPATROL Franchise Complaint – Updated  October 11, 2010

CAREPATROL: Franchisees Praise the CarePatrol Franchise    October 14, 2010

ALSO READ:

FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CAREPATROL OR THE CAREPATROL FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: CarePatrol, CarePatrol senior services, CarePatrol referral services, CarePatrol complaints, CarePatrol FTC violations, FTC, Federal Trade Commission, CarePatrol franchise, CarePatrol franchise opportunity, CarePatrol franchise complaints, CarePatrol Franchise Disclosure Document, CarePatrol FDD, Chuck Bongiovanni, unhappy franchisee

CAREPATROL Investigation: FTC Complaint Press Release

September 8, 2014

CAREPATROL Investigation:  FTC Complaint Press Release.

In 2013, the FTC issued a Complaint and a Decision and Order regarding its allegations that CarePatrol made false and misleading representations about its franchised senior-care referral service.

UnhappyFranchisee.Com is investigating and opening a discussion as to whether CarePatrol is in compliance with the FTC Order, and whether it has properly disclosed the FTC Complaint and Order in its Franchise Disclosure Documents.

Here is the FTC press release dated September 17, 2012

Two Online Placement Services for Senior Care Centers Settle FTC Charges

Allegedly Did Not Check Out Long-Term Care Facilities As Claimed

For Release

September 17, 2012

Tags:  Consumer Protection

Two companies that recommend long-term care facilities for senior citizens have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they misled consumers to think that they had researched the facilities and had detailed knowledge about them.  The proposed settlements, which prohibit the respondents from misrepresenting their services in the future, resolve the FTC’s first cases involving Internet-based companies that offer placement assistance for seniors who need institution-based, long-term care.

.

“Senior citizens need honest information when they’re considering long term care options,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “Companies that claim to know which facilities to recommend to consumers need to be able to back up their claims or they will hear from the FTC.”

.

According to two administrative complaints issued by the FTC, CarePatrol Inc. and ABCSP Inc. offer consumers free assistance to obtain placements at care facilities for senior citizens, and state that the facilities pay the companies for the placements.  CarePatrol operates via franchises in 12 states; ABCSP, which also does business as “Always Best Care,” operates via a network of franchisees throughout the nation.

.

As alleged in one complaint, CarePatrol’s claims include:

.

“We Grade Each and Every Facility From ‘A’ to ‘F’ Based on Their Last State Survey.  Our Local Senior Care Consultants also Pre-Screen every home we recommend.”

“…CarePatrol’s local, Nationally Certified Advisors look beyond the chandeliers and fancy lobbies to monitor each community’s care history and state violations so we can recommend: The Safest Options For Your Loved One.”

.

The complaint against ABCSP alleges that its claims include:

.

“We provide the best choices to our clients while maintaining the highest standards for living arrangements. . . . we match our clients with the top three or four most appropriate living options based upon individual needs, custom screening and available budgets. . . .”

“Our Care Coordinators are local and have personally viewed virtually all of the assisted living communities in your area.”

.

CarePatrol allegedly misrepresented that it monitors or grades the care history and violations of virtually all, or a substantial majority, of assisted living facilities (ALFs) in a consumer’s desired location, that it provides services through a network of senior care consultants located in every state, and that it monitors or grades facilities based on a review of the facilities’ latest state inspection reports.  According to the FTC complaint, in most states listed on CarePatrol’s website, the company has not monitored or graded any facilities; it does not operate through senior care consultants in every state; and in numerous instances, it does not monitor or grade facilities based on the most recent state inspection reports.

.

ABCSP allegedly misrepresented that its placement recommendations for ALFs and residential care homes in different geographic regions are based on the personal knowledge of its personnel or agents regarding virtually all, or a substantial majority, of the facilities in those regions.  According to the complaint, the company typically does not know which ALFs and residential care homes have contracts with its franchisees, and in numerous regions, its recommendations are not based on the personal knowledge of its personnel or agents.

.

Both complaints note that there are at least 39,000 ALFs and thousands of smaller, residential care homes in the United States.

.

Under proposed consent orders that apply for the next 20 years, CarePatrol and ABCSP are barred from making false or unsubstantiated representations about their placement services.

.

The Commission vote to accept the consent agreement packages containing the proposed consent orders for public comment was 5-0.  The FTC will publish a description of the consent agreement packages in the Federal Register shortly.  The agreements will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through October 17, 2012, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent orders final.  Interested parties can submit written comments electronically or in paper form by following the instructions in the “Invitation To Comment” part of the “Supplementary Information” section.  Comments regarding CarePatrol can be submitted electronically by clicking here. Comments regarding ABCSP can be submitted electronically by clicking here.Comments in paper form should be mailed or delivered to:  Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.  The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form near the end of the public comment period be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

.

NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest.  The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the respondent has actually violated the law.  A consent order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the respondent that the law has been violated.  When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions.  Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000.

.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:

Frank Dorman

Office of Public Affairs

202-326-2674

.

STAFF CONTACT:

David R. Spiegel

Bureau of Consumer Protection

202-326-3281

ALSO READ:

FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CAREPATROL OR THE CAREPATROL FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: CarePatrol, CarePatrol senior services, CarePatrol referral services, CarePatrol complaints, CarePatrol FTC violations, FTC, Federal Trade Commission, CarePatrol franchise, CarePatrol franchise opportunity, CarePatrol franchise complaints, CarePatrol investigation, Chuck Bongiovanni, unhappy franchisee

AAMCO Franchise Owner Calls AAMCO Corrupt, Unscrupulous and Deceitful

September 4, 2014

Former AAMCO franchise owner Robert (Bob) Romano has submitted a lengthy account of his experience with the AAMCO franchise organization, from the good old days with the Morgan family in the nineties to its current ownership by American Driveline, Inc., which he characterizes as corrupt, unscrupulous and deceitful.

You can read a summary below, or Bob’s full, detailed account here:  AAMCO Transmission Franchise: Bob Romano’s Story

According to Bob Romano, he opened his AAMCO in Hollywood, Florida in 1992, the company truly cared about the success of its franchisees.

When Bob had concerns about encroachment on his territory by a proposed franchise, the CEO himself worked to protect Bob’s franchise by expanding his territorial protection.  The encroachging site was taken by a smaller competitor, Cottman Transmission.

In 2006, AAMCO was sold to American Driveline, Inc., which also owned competitor Cottman Transmission.

According to Bob, American Driveline, Inc. embarked on a strategy of cannibalization in which it converted Cottman Transmission locations into AAMCO locations and armed the competitor with the means to take significant business from the original AAMCO franchises.

The Cottman location the original franchisor had protected Bob’s Hollywood AAMCO from was converted into a directly competing AAMCO, according to Bob.

Bob Romano also contends American Driveline’s strategy is to “churn” AAMCO franchise locations for profit:

AAMCO’s mission is to run the old AAMCO Dealers out of business…one by one…by putting unjust financial strain upon them, take over their stores, create Profit and Loss Statements and Resell the stores to new prospects.

Bob watched this happen first hand, to many of his fellow, longtime AAMCO Dealers.

Bob Romano claim he sold his AAMCO franchise and his wife started a small independent transmission shop 100 mile from his former AAMCO location.

He claims AAMCO has continued to torment him, and is now suing him for allegedly violating the non-compete terms of his franchise agreement:

When Bob left AAMCO, his credit was ruined from incurring so much debt from AAMCO. Bob, and his wife Linda, are trying to move on with their lives. They have moved almost 100 miles away from Bob’s old AAMCO Center, into Martin County, Florida. Linda has opened a small Transmission and Auto Repair Shop in an industrial park area. The business is new and struggling to succeed, as new businesses will …

AAMCO has served a lawsuit upon both Bob, their ex-franchisee, and his wife Linda, in effort to shut her new business down. AAMCO states that Bob is now competing with the local AAMCO in Martin County. Its Bob’s conclusion that he has not had a valid Franchise Agreement, since Aug 2007, when his original contract expired. Bob is honoring his non-competition agreement with his buyer, AAMCO deliberately failed to carry out proper and timely franchise renewal procedures for Bob’s AAMCO Center, in a fraudulent attempt, to convert the Pembroke Pines Cottman Center to an AAMCO, which was out of zone, too close to Bob’s AAMCO…

In his account (written in the third-person point-of-view), Bob Romano wrote:

Bob  wanted  to  share  his  experience   of  dealing  with   such   deceitful,   corrupt, people, as are these people at AAMCO. 

.

If you are considering the purchase of an AAMCO Franchise, please consider his Story.

.

In addition, be sure to review the details   of   the   AAMCO   Dealers   Class   Action   Criminal    Lawsuit,  against  its Franchisor, AAMCO Transmissions Inc., Bob’s is just one story, of many financially devastated ex AAMCO  Franchisees.

Read Bob Romano’s entire AAMCO franchise story here:  AAMCO Transmission Franchise: Bob Romano’s Story

Further reading & discussion:

AAMCO Transmission franchise posts

AAMCO TRANSMISSION Franchise Complaints

AAMCO Franchise Called a “Financial Nightmare”

AAMCO Franchise Complaints: Terrible Site Selection

COTTMAN TRANSMISSION Franchise Complaints

ARE YOU AN AAMCO FRANCHISE OWNER OR FRANCHISEE?  ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE AAMCO FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

Tags:  AAMCO, American Driveline, Inc., Cottman transmissions, Cottman franchise, Bob Romano, AAMCO Robert Romano, AAMCO lawsuit, AAMCO franchise lawsuit, aamco complaints, AAMCO Transmissions Franchise, AAMCO Transmissions, AAMCO Transmissions Franchise complaints, AAMCO Transmissions Franchise info, AAMCO Transmissions Franchise information, transmission Franchises, AAMCO florida

AAMCO Transmission Franchise: Bob Romano’s Story

September 4, 2014

Former AAMCO Transmission franchise owner Robert (Bob) Romano has shared his experience and his opinions of the AAMCO franchise and franchisor American Driveline, Inc. with the detailed account below.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  Written in the 3rd person point-of-view, Romano claims he is a victim of a corrupt franchisor that waged war on its own franchisees.  He claims that “AAMCO’s mission is to run the old AAMCO Dealers out of business…one by one…by putting unjust financial  strain upon them, take over their stores, create Profit and  Loss Statements and Resell the stores to new prospects.”

Even after AAMCO successfully drove him from the chain, AAMCO continues to attack him by filing a non-compete suit against his wife’s small independent transmission shop 100 miles from his AAMCO location.

Here is the account Bob submitted to UnhappyFranchisee.Com in its entirety:

AAMCO Franchisee, Veteran Business Owner, Faces financial ruins at the Hands of Corrupt Franchisor AAMCO Transmissions Inc., and its Unscrupulous, Deceitful Business Practices!

Robert Romano, (Bob), became an AAMCO Transmission Franchisee in August, 1992. Bob opened his AAMCO Center in Hollywood, Florida. Bob invested everything he had, to open his new franchise. Through day to day hard work as a “Hands On” owner, he was able to gradually build a very successful Transmission Repair Business, with an outstanding reputation in the local community of Hollywood, and the surrounding communities. Within 5 years,  Bob’s AAMCO Center reached Pinnacle Status within the AAMCO Franchise Chain. He was a highly recognized Dealer.  Bob believed that treating his customers with respect and professionalism, in addition to properly repairing their vehicles, would build his business, one customer at a time. Each year Bob’s business continued on a successful path for many years. Bob believed that he had made a wise decision in partnering with his Franchisor, AAMCO Transmission Inc., when he began his business relationship with AAMCO in 1992. At that time, AAMCO Transmissions Inc. was family owned by the Morgan Family. During Bob’s early years with AAMCO, his business relationship with AAMCO and its employees was a mutually positive one. Bob considered AAMCO to be genuinely concerned for the success and longevity of its AAMCO Franchisees.

.

In 2001, it came to Bob’s attention that a prospective AAMCO Franchisee was considering the opening of a location, just west of Bob’s AAMCO Center, in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Bob had great concerns of the impact this AAMCO could potentially have on his business in Hollywood. Through AAMCO’s , then diplomatic system concerning new AAMCO Centers and the proximity to existing AAMCO Centers, Bob was able to dispute and provide AAMCO with statistical facts of the potential, severe impact, that this specific location would have on his business. Bob then had a long telephone conversation with the then CEO of AAMCO Transmissions, to discuss this matter. After lengthy, detailed discussion of the specific facts, the two came to an understanding that to protect Bob’s business and its continued success, AAMCO would officially modify and relocate the Pembroke Pines Zone, further west and further away from Bob’s AAMCO Center. Bob received the official Zone revision in writing, from AAMCO, shortly thereafter. A few years later, that specific location became a Cottman Transmission Center. The new Cottman did in fact have some impact on Bob’s AAMCO Center, however, it was a competing company. At that time, Cottman Transmissions was considered to be a much smaller chain than AAMCO, the shop was a new business and it had its own small yellow page ad in the telephone book. Bob’s AAMCO was able to sustain this competition and really had no alternative, as it was considered to be “fair trade in the marketplace”.

.

THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT  – March – 2006

.

In March, 2006, the announcement was made via webinar to the existing AAMCO Dealer Body, that AAMCO Transmissions Inc, had been sold to American Driveline Inc., who also owned Cottman Transmissions Inc. The webinar represented that AAMCO and Cottman would somehow merge together and become “One big happy family”. It was also stated that the goal was to have the majority of the stores branded as AAMCO. It was further announced that the new CEO was to be the existing Cottman CEO, Todd Leff. Mr. Leff would be taking over the management of both chains and begin the extensive “merger”, or as many AAMCO Dealers refer to it as the “the Cannibalization of the AAMCO Chain”.

.

After the shocking announcement, things quickly began to deteriorate. What was once a legitimate, professional company, was now on the path of a ticking time bomb. The existing AAMCO Dealers immediately expressed vast concerns of Cottman Centers, near to their existing AAMCO Centers. Not to mention the decline in equity to their businesses. All of AAMCO’s Fleet Accounts/ Customer Lists, telephone procedures, sales procedures, warranties, etc, were immediately shared with the Cottman Dealers. In the webinar for the Cottman Dealers, it was stated that AAMCO would provide funding to Cottman Centers, in order to assist in relocation, if the existing Cottman was too closely located to an existing AAMCO Center. The next day, Bob immediately notified AAMCO in writing of the revision of the Pembroke Pines Zoning and its proximity to the existing Cottman Center in Pembroke Pines. It was evident that the Cottman would need to be relocated further west into the official Pembroke Pines Zone, in order to convert to an AAMCO Center, and protect Bob’s AAMCO from devastating impact. AAMCO failed to respond to Bob’s telephone calls or letters concerning the Pembroke

Pines Cottman.  The “new regime” completely ignored Bob’s concerns.

.

The next immediate issue at hand for Bob was that he realized that his original Franchise Agreement was going to expire in about 15 months and he had heard that the new company would be making revisions to the existing AAMCO Franchise Agreement. The AAMCO Franchise Agreement required that “either thefranchisee orfranchisor must give written notice, more than 12 months prior to the expiration of the current Franchise Agreement, of their intention not to renew”. Bob immediately called AAMCO and requested his Renewal Franchise Agreement, in order to review its terms and conditions, so that he could make an informed decision, as to whether he would renew his Agreement for another 15 years. Bob had concerns as to if his AAMCO Center could remain on a successful path; and believed that the revised Renewal Franchise Agreement, and the terms contained therein, were the key factor to the success or failure of his business. AAMCO ignored Bob’s request, so Bob requested in writing,via certified mail, once again for the Franchise Agreement for his review. Finally, Bob received the Renewal Franchise Agreement, it had all of his pertinent information filled out, specific to Bob’s AAMCO Center in Hollywood, FL., Bob reviewed the new Agreement in its entirety, it had not been modified significantly, from his old Agreement, so he then decided to sign it, had a witness sign it and applied his corporate stamp to the Agreement. Bob returned it to AAMCO on June 27th 2006.

.

On July 18th, 2006, AAMCO returned the signed Renewal Franchise Agreement back to Bob. Written across each page of the contract by AAMCO was ” VOID will not be countersigned by  AAM CO”. Bob immediately called AAMCO to find out what exactly was going on? AAMCO stated that there were a few changes being made to the Franchise Agreement and that they would send him another Franchise Agreement shortly. Bob specifically reminded AAMCO that he needed to receive the contract prior to August l5t, 2006, in order to have time to review it once again and make a decision, based on the next contract that AAMCO would be sending to Bob. After repeated requests to AAMCO, they failed to provide a replacement renewal Franchise Agreement.  The 12 month window passed. Bob was now operating his business without a franchise agreement. At that time, Bob concluded based on the” VOIDED , not Accepted by AAMCO” renewal Agreement and the failure by AAMCO to provide any replacement, confirmed that AAMCO, had in fact, given Bob written notice of their decision not to renew Bob’s Franchise Agreement. Bob continued to operate his business without a valid renewal Franchise Agreement.

.

In the short months that followed, the owner of the Cottman Transmissions in Pembroke Pines, contacted Bob regarding AAMCO’s mandatory placement into Bob’s full page, yellow Page Ad, in the telephone book. Now, not only did Bob not have a valid franchise agreement, leaving him without rights to protect his business from AAMCO; He was also being forced to turn over 50% of his full page ad. Bob’s Ad took many years to earn front placement and now the converting Cottman Dealer, would automatically be receiving 50% of Bob’s customer contacts. AAMCO would not be relocating the Cottman further  west,  which was  required, per the zone  revision; instead, AAMCO permitted the conversion to take place, out of zone, and much too close to Bob’s AAMCO Center. Bob continued to call AAMCO to dispute this matter without success. The new regime’s policy was to never return phone calls to the franchisees. The only contact ever made to Bob’s AAMCO, was to demand Franchise Fees. It was clear to Bob that this new company, had deliberately manipulated the time factor of Bobs Renewal Franchise  Agreement, in order to deceitfully manipulate Bob, during the Pembroke Pines Cottman conversion to AAMCO.

.

The CORRUPTION  CONTINUES ……..

.

AAMCO Dealers have a local Advertising Pool, in which each AAMCO Dealer contributes to, in order to place local advertising, as a group, in the marketplace. Bob was the Ad Pool Chairman for many years in the Ft Lauderdale, Miami Market. The Ad Pool would periodically vote on and place different types of advertising,at the decisions of the local pool of AAMCO Dealers.

.

When Cottman Transmissions came in and took over the AAMCO Chain as our new Franchisor, the Ad Pool also took a serious turn for the worse.

.

The employees from AAMCO would come to Florida to attend the local Dealer Ad Pool Meetings.  Actually …Control the Ad Pool Meetings. The AAMCO Dealers were specifically told by AAMCO’s employee, Brian O’Donnell, “that if they did not vote for the Television Advertising Package presented by AAM CO’s agency, and pa y the monthly assessments of $2200 per month to support it, that the Dealers would lose their businesses…One by One.   AAMCO representative, Bruce Chinsey, also stated that “if any Dealer failed to pay, that AAMCO would pa y that Dealer a visit and it wasn’t going to be pretty. ”

.

Bob read the  “writing on the wall” ……The loss of business due to the Cottman /AAMCO conversion in Pembroke Pines, so near to his AAMCO, in addition to the $2200 mandatory, ineffective advertising assessment placed upon his company, and the fact that he didn’t even have a Valid Signed Renewal Franchise Agreement to protect his business, was devastating to his AAMCO Center. It could no longer sustain this disastrous situation. Bob continued to operate and pursue a Buyer for his business. He reduced the price and believed that he had to give it away, due to the brutal situation, that the “New AAMCO” had created from him.  Bob sold his AAMCO, in order to sever any further business dealings with these unscrupulous people at AAMCO.

.

AAMCO’s mission is to run the old AAMCO Dealers out of business…one by one…by putting unjust financial  strain upon them, take over their stores, create Profit and  Loss Statements and Resell the stores to new prospects. Bob watched this happen first hand, to many of his fellow, longtime AAMCO Dealers. Now it was Bob’s turn. Bob was actually fortunate to find a buyer, regrettably, most AAMCO Dealer’s lose their businesses these days. However, selling his business at age 53, was far too premature. He must continue to work for a long time ahead. Bob signed a non-competition Agreement with his buyer. It stated that Bob would not work in the Transmission Business for two years within Broward County, Florida. (Approximately a 30 mile radius around his previously owned AAMCO in Hollywood.) AAMCO Transmissions Inc. approved this non-competition Agreement in Bob’s Terms of Sale. Bob has and will continue to honor this agreement with his Buyer.

.

THE  BULLYING CONTINUES ……..

.

When Bob left AAMCO, his credit was ruined from incurring so much debt from AAMCO. Bob, and his wife Linda, are trying to move on with their lives. They have moved almost 100 miles away from Bob’s old AAMCO Center, into Martin County, Florida. Linda has opened a small Transmission and Auto Repair Shop in an industrial park area. The business is new and struggling to succeed, as new businesses will …

.

AAMCO has served a lawsuit upon both Bob, their ex-franchisee, and his wife Linda, in effort to shut her new business down. AAMCO states that Bob is now competing with the local AAMCO in Martin County. Its Bob’s conclusion that he has not had a valid Franchise Agreement, since Aug 2007, when his original contract expired. Bob is honoring his non-competition agreement with his buyer, AAMCO deliberately failed to carry out proper and timely franchise renewal procedures for Bob’s AAMCO Center, in a fraudulent attempt, to convert the Pembroke Pines Cottman Center to an AAMCO, which was out of zone, too close to Bob’s AAMCO and should have been moved further west, into the official Pembroke Pines zone.

.

Bob  wanted  to  share  his  experience   of  dealing  with   such   deceitful,   corrupt, people, as are these people at AAMCO.  If you are considering the purchase of an AAMCO Franchise, please consider his Story. In addition, be sure to review the details   of   the   AAMCO   Dealers   Class   Action   Criminal    Lawsuit,  against  its Franchisor, AAMCO Transmissions Inc., Bob’s is just one story, of many financially devastated ex AAMCO  Franchisees.

Further reading & discussion:

AAMCO Transmission franchise posts

AAMCO TRANSMISSION Franchise Complaints

AAMCO Franchise Called a “Financial Nightmare”

AAMCO Franchise Complaints: Terrible Site Selection

COTTMAN TRANSMISSION Franchise Complaints

ARE YOU AN AAMCO FRANCHISE OWNER OR FRANCHISEE?  ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE AAMCO FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

Tags:  AAMCO, American Driveline, Inc., AAMCO Bob Romano, AAMCO Robert Romano, AAMCO lawsuit, AAMCO franchise lawsuit, aamco complaints, AAMCO Transmissions Franchise, AAMCO Transmissions, AAMCO Transmissions Franchise complaints, AAMCO Transmissions Franchise info, AAMCO Transmissions Franchise information, transmission Franchises, AAMCO florida

7-ELEVEN Franchisee Protest Photos

September 2, 2014

7-ELEVEN Franchisee Protest Photos:  7-Eleven franchise owners continue to stage protests against their franchisor 7-Eleven, Inc., CEO Joe DePinto, parent Seven and I Holdings Co. and Seven and I Chairman Toshifumi Suzuki.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  The photos below were taken at a 7-Eleven protest outside of CBS Studio Center, 4024 Radford Ave, Studio City, CA on August 27, 2014 and posted to Flickr by dukhiloga.

Information by dukhiloga indicates that 7-Eleven Joe DePinto was at CBS Studio Center for business-related taping.  Other 7-Eleven personnel were also spotted entering CBS.  Joe DePinto was reportedly spotted in a black SUV,  which quickly sped away from 7-Eleven franchisee protesters.

Captions on dukhiloga‘s Flickr pictures state “Get Ready for 7-Eleven Experience Vegas 2015”  referring to the annual 7-Eleven franchisee convention where protests are expected.

The CBS studio protest comes on the heels of approval for 7-Eleven franchisees to proceed with their lawsuit against 7-Eleven, Inc. for allegations that the Japanese-owned convenience store giant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Read more at:

7-ELEVEN Franchisees Allowed to Proceed With FLSA Suit

Thanks to dukhiloga for posting these photos:

 

7ElevenProtestAug2014.0
7-Eleven Franchise Protest
7ElevenProtestAug2014.1
 7ElevenProtestAug2014.2
 7ElevenProtestAug2014.3
 7ElevenProtestAug2014.4
 7ElevenProtestAug2014.5
 7ElevenProtestAug2014.6
 7ElevenProtestAug2014.7
 7ElevenProtestAug2014.8
 7ElevenProtestAug2014.9
 7ElevenProtestAug2014.11
 7ElevenProtestAug2014.13
 7ElevenProtestAug2014.14
 7-Eleven Franchise Protest

ALSO READ:

Has 7-ELEVEN Declared War on its Franchisees? (Index)

7-ELEVEN Franchise Lawsuit Alleges Exploitation of 7-11 Franchise Owners

7-ELEVEN Franchise Blues – A Protest Song

FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE 7-ELEVEN FRANCHISE, 7-ELEVEN ASSET PROTECTION & JOE DePINTO?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: 7-Eleven, 7-Eleven franchise protest, 7-Eleven franchisee protest, 7-Eleven franchisee picketing, 7-Eleven franchise protest photos, 7-Eleven franchisees picketing, 7-Eleven franchise opportunity, 7-Eleven franchise complaints, 7-Eleven franchisees,  7-Eleven unhappy franchisee, Joe DePinto, Joseph DePinto, Seven and I Holdings, Marks & Klein,

« Previous PageNext Page »

Bottom