MUSCLE MAKER GRILL Franchise Owner Dealt Pot, Meth & Coke, Police Allege

January 2, 2015

Muscle Maker Grill franchise owner Sean Burgio was helping customers get loaded on more than carbs, according to Bethlehem Township, PA police.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  According to a story in, the 32-year old Burgio was the target of a drug raid that that netted more than 30 pounds of marijuana, 19 guns, methamphetamines and cocaine.

Sean Burgio and his brother David Burgio opened the Easton, PA Muscle Maker Grill franchise in the 25th Street Shopping Center at 2411 Nazareth Rd, Easton, PA in July, 2013.

Officials have said they don’t yet know what – if any- role the Easton Muscle Maker Grill franchise played in Burgio’s alleged illegal narcotics distribution business.

Muscle Maker Grill Franchisee Burgio May Have Dealt Drugs for Several Years

According to the story:

[Bethlehem Township police Sgt.] Blake said the investigation began in October after Bethlehem Township police received information that Burgio may have be dealing drugs in the area. The investigation revealed Burgio may have been dealing for several years, Blake said, adding that Burgio’s name had popped up in past drug allegations.

As part of the operation, investigators conducted surveillance of Burgio’s home in a quiet residential neighborhood and made several undercover drug buys, Blake said.

“I don’t think it was nickel-and-dime operation,” Blake said. “Our feeling is that he was dealing more in larger quantities.”

Muscle Maker Grill FranchiseAs the probe grew, other law enforcement agencies became involved.

Police from Bethlehem and Palmer townships, the Northampton County Drug Task Force and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration served the warrant.

The narcotics investigators were conducting surveillance on the house early Monday but were concerned Burgio’s child might have been in the home, so they delayed the breach, Blake said. As they kept an eye on the home, a Palmer Township officer spotted Burgio driving home.

Burgio was arrested in his BMW in his driveway, he said. Burgio had $120 in his pocket and a satchel containing $9,340 and two semiautomatic handguns in the back seat of the car, according to court records.

Was Burgio’s Muscle Maker Grill Franchise Financed With Drug Money?

Did Sean Burgio finance his Muscle Maker Grill franchise with drug money?

Was the Easton Muscle Maker Grill used to launder dirty money from the sale of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana?

Police said they didn’t know “if funding to open the restaurant can be tied to the drug operation… federal agents are looking into the financial aspects of Burgio’s drug business.”

It will be interesting to see what comes out in the investigation to come.

We will also be interested to see what other controversies come to light this year regarding the troubled Muscle Maker Grill franchise chain.



MUSCLE MAKER GRILL Franchise Complaints

MUSCLE MAKER GRILL Franchise Announces Aggressive Growth Plans



TAGS: Muscle Maker Grill , Muscle Maker Grill franchise, Muscle Maker Grill franchise opportunity, Muscle Maker Grill franchise complaints, Sean Burgio, David Burgio, Rod Silva, Muscle Maker Grill front, Muscle Maker Grill drug dealer, Muscle Maker Grill arrests, Muscle Maker Grill franchisee arrest,

FRONTIER ADJUSTERS Franchise Owners Sue for Deceptive Practices, Conspiracy

December 10, 2014

Frontier Adjusters franchise owners Jayson Contino and Mamye Contino are suing franchisor Frontier Adjusters, Inc. and related entities, parent company MerryMeeting, Inc., and executives John M. Davies, Edward Ferrie, Patrick Enthoven, Jeffrey Harcourt, and Milo Bolender for breach of contract, civil conspiracy, violation of the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Wage and Hour Act, and Negligent Hiring and Retention.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) The lawsuit was filed October 6, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division.  A downloadable copy of the initial Complaint and the Defendant’s Answer to the Complaint are posted below.

The Continos are represented by the prominent franchisee law firm Marks & Klein of Red Bank, New Jersey and local counsel DeVore, Acton & Stafford, P.A. of Charlotte, N.C.

The Defendants are represented by Cleveland, OH-based Ulmer & Berne, LLP.

Frontier Adjusters parent company MerryMeeting, Inc. also owns Sunbelt Business Brokers and a number of franchise companies, including Geeks on Call, Computer Troubleshooters,  Inspect-It 1st, MTO Clean, Inner Circle, Pro Energy Consultants, and CPR Cell Phone Repair.

Are you familiar with Frontier Adjusters and/or other MerryMeeting franchises?  Please share your opinion below.

Lawsuit Alleges Greed is Driving Frontier Adjusters’ Franchise Dictatorship

Frontier Adjusters franchiseAccording to the lawsuit, Frontier Adjustors has been in operation since 1959, and operated as a system of hundreds of individual franchisees who were granted exclusive territories.

Frontier Adjusters franchisees were already-experienced insurance professionals who performed a variety of insurance-related services, such as claims investigations and appraisals, for insurance companies and self-ensured entities in their territories.

For decades, individual franchisees were responsible for attracting, developing and servicing their own client bases in their exclusive areas.

The lawsuit contends that when Frontier Adjusters was acquired by John M. Davies’ MerryMeeting, Inc., a multi-concept franchisor, Davies had a secret agenda to centralize control of the Frontier Adjusters sales process, and significantly diminish the autonomy of its regional franchisees.  In 2009, Frontier intiated its Frontier Adjusters National and Regional Customer Program, aka “FANRCP.”

According to the suit, the “FANRCP” program stripped franchisees from the direct relationship with prospective clients in their markets, and transferred so much control to the franchisor that Frontier Adjusters franchisees should no longer  be considered business owners.

According to the suit:

In furtherance of the secret implementation of the FANRCP program in the years 2001 to 2009, Defendants put into place multiple aspects of the FANRCP program, including, but

not limited to:


(i) a call center to receive client assignments;

(ii) a required computer system which provided to Frontier the names, contact information, and claim specifics of all assignments received, and claims investigations conducted by all the franchisees;

(iii) seeking ownership by the Franchisor through its required computer system, of all data related to clients and client assignments;

(iv) seeking authority for the Franchisor to dictate to the Franchisee the rates that would be charged for assignments;

(v) seeking authority for the Franchisor to determine the Franchisee’s legal rights regarding collection of invoices for work performed;

(vi) establishing unreasonable minimum billing requirements for the Franchisees which the Franchisor used selectively, arbitrarily and capriciously for the purpose of eliminating Franchisees who were disfavored; and

(vii) use of Software and other computer systems, mandatory disclosure of their insurance industry client and associated contact information prior to the effective date of FANRCP.


Despite emphatic opposition from franchisees, between September of 2009 and April 5, 2010, Frontier forcefully implemented the FANRCP against its franchisees.

…The Franchisor, in anticipation of its imposition of FANRCP, had engineered Franchisee reliance on the Franchisor to obtain assignments from clients, and planned to use that reliance against any Franchisee that did not accept the program.

… As such, the consequential franchisee-dependence stemming from the FANRCP, endowed the Franchisor with the capacity to make its threats and coerce franchisees into


Frontier Adjusters Allegedly Sells Claims to Direct Competitors of its Franchisees

One of the most disturbing allegations of the lawsuit is that Frontier is not centralizing its marketing and sales functions to improve efficiency or service, but to make the greatest corporate profit – even when doing so hurts its franchisees by selling accounts to their direct competitors (!).

According to the suit:

…Frontier sell claims to direct competitors, Custard Insurance and Bulldog Insurance, because these entities pay a forty percent (40%) fee, rather than the fifteen percent (15%) fee paid by Frontier franchisees.

… Upon further information and belief, Defendant [Frontier Manager Edward] Ferrie  has his own side-business and a secret Frontier franchise location in the State of Arizona. Through Ferry’s secret franchise, Ferry intercepts claims from the home office and sells them to business [sic] throughout the United States.

Is Greed Redefining the Frontier Adjusters Franchise?

There are several interesting aspects of this Frontier Adjusters franchise lawsuit which we hope to delve into as the litigation progresses.

If the allegations are true, Frontier Adjusters, like 7-Eleven, may have to justify why their franchisees should not be considered employees (thereby eligible for wage and benefit protections afforded employees) when they have stripped them of the decision-making power and autonomy associated with independent contractors and business owners.

If the allegations are true, Frontier Adjustors may become another cautionary tale that we’ll use to warn prospective franchisees that no matter how carefully you research a franchise concept or its management, all bets are off when new owners take over.

Are you Familiar with Frontier Adjusters and MerryMeeting, Inc.?  Share a Comment below.

Note to Plaintiffs and Defendants & Attorneys:  UnhappyFranchisee.Com offers all those discussed on this site an open invitation to provide corrections, clarifications, rebuttals or other statements which we will publish with the same prominence as the original post.  Our intent is to provide both sides a chance to state their views, and let our readers make up their own minds.  Email ADMIN at UnhapyFranchisee[at]






TAGS:  Frontier Adjusters franchise, Frontier Adjusters franchise complaints, Frontier Adjusters lawsuit, Frontier Adjusters complaints, MerryMeeting Inc., MerryMeeting lawsuit, MerryMeeting complaints, John M. Davies, Edward Ferrie, Patrick Enthoven, Jeffrey Harcourt, Milo Bolender, insurance franchise, franchise opportunity, franchise complaints, franchise lawsuits, franchise opportunity, franchise complaints, unhappy franchisee, Jayson Contino, Mamye Contino,

1-800-Vending / Healthy You Vending Machines: Overpriced & Inferior?

November 19, 2014

1-800-Vending / Healthy You Vending is suing competitor Chris Wyland of Grow Healthy Vending for defamation.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  1-800-Vending claims that Wyland seeded the Internet with bogus complaints about its company, its vending machines and its owner Jeff Marsh.

In a comment responding to our post on the lawsuit (CHRIS WYLAND, GROW FRANCHISE GROUP, SPROUT HEALTHY VENDING Sued by 1.800.VENDING, HealthyYOU VENDING), Grow’s Wyland denies that either he or any member of his household posed as disgruntled customers and left Internet comments about 1-800-VENDING or Jeff Marsh.

Wyland says that he believes that 1-800-Vending filed the lawsuit in an attempt to discredit Grow and to discredit “all reviews ever written against them regarding poor equipment, poor locations, poor services as a way to distance themselves from their own past.”

Chris Wyland further states that Grow Healthy Vending is “currently filing a lawsuit against 1800 Vending and Healthy You Vending”

WYLAND:  Healthy Vending Competitors Are Deceptive, Predatory

1800vending jeff marshWhile Wyland vehemently denies placing the online comments about 1-800-Vending & Jeff Marsh (including one characterizing Jeff Marsh as a pedophile), he does not hold back when it comes to criticizing competitors in the healthy vending industry, including 1-800-Vending / Healthy You Vending.

Wyland states:

First of all I do not deny that in the past I have made very specific comparisons to not only our business model and 1-800 Vending/Healthy You but also to other competitors in our industry.

I do so because I believe these companies do not always tell the truth, they overcharge for inferior equipment, they use last minute discount offers to pressure prospective operators into doing business with them and ultimately their operators fail because of it.

We run into equipment all the time offered at a steep discount from what the operators originally purchased them at because the equipment is of a much lower quality than they expected, they overpaid for it and then didn’t receive qualified locations to place machines.

Wyland states that the 1-800-Vending / Healthy You Vending lawsuit is a desperate response to the fact that Grow Healthy Vending “provides better equipment and services but we do so at a lower cost than anyone else in our industry.”

Regarding the lawsuit, he states:

I personally believe based on recent events and after speaking to some potential operators that 1-800 Vending/Healthy You Vending is only using this lawsuit as a way to steer prospective clients away from us and to them.

I think it is the only ammunition they have.

I have expressed more than once that I would compare our equipment and business model one on one against this company anywhere in the country.

WYLAND:  1-800-Vending machines are inferior, overpriced & made in India

Grow Healthy Vending CEO Chris Wyland states that the vending machines provided by 1-800 Vending/Healthy You Vending and Jeff Marsh are manufactured in India, are of inferior quality, and are sold to  inexperienced, trusting business owners at a “ridiculous” mark-up.

Chris Wyland states:

We have never stated anything that we do not believe to be 100% factual.


1. The 1800/Healthy You Vending Machine is manufactured by Seaga.


2. I have personally purchased machines from Seaga and visited their location in Frankfort, IL. I did not see machines being manufactured there and have been told that this machine is actually made at their facility in INDIA. A company by the way that we are actually suing because of the poor equipment and services we received while doing business with them.


HealthyYou Vending Machine3. The machine has limitations when it comes to the type of product it can vend. It is a gravity fed system that vends only round bottles and round cans in the refrigerated section.


4. The snack coils are welded in so the snack portion cannot be re-configured. I believe this puts operators at a dis-advantage.


5. The machine has an “upper” snack portion which is not refrigerated and has a “lower” drink portion and does not have the ability to vend yogurts, smoothies, fresh fruit, vegetables, etc.. It is not health and safety rated.


6. The machine uses lexan plastic instead of glass. The machine in comparison to the Grow equipment uses a lower quality metal and compressor.


7. Operators who purchase machines from 1800/Healthy You Vending must pay 100% in advance for their equipment prior to securing locations.


8. The cost of this machine from the manufacture is I believe in the range of $2000. They routinely sell this machine for between $8000 -$9000 per machine.  I personally believe this markup is ridiculous and takes advantage of new business owners.


9. This machine has less capacity and offers less variety than our standard G3 machine which is priced much less. In fact it costs us more money to purchase our machine from our factory and we sell it for less markup than any other company in our industry.


10. The 7 year “limited” warranty is exactly that. “Limited”. Essentially when an operator needs a part they must pay 50% of the “list” price of that part. The “list” price is created by the company, which is typically marked up to cover 100% of their cost.

Chris Wyland claims, it seems, that his passion arises from his concern for individuals who are seeking to build legitimate businesses in healthy vending but are being preyed upon by his unscrupulous competitors.

He contends that his Grow Healthy Vending / Sprout Healthy Vending company is different than his dubious competitors in the healthy vending racket:

I believe that we have a great industry that operators can be very successful at if they receive high quality equipment and services that they do not overpay for.

I will not apologize for attempting to build a model and protect our brand because I know that over the past 4 years we have always had the best interests of our operators at heart.

We are not perfect but when issues arise we fix them quickly…


Chris Wyland

Grow Healthy Vending




1-800-VENDING Complaints

FRESH HEALTHY VENDING Ties to Mark Trotter, Nick Yates Disclosed (Chris Wyland)


All Vending Posts





Tags:  Chris Wyland, Grow Franchise Group, Sprout Healthy Vending, 1-800-VENDING, HealthyYOU Vending, Healthy you Vending, Jeff Marsh, Jeffrey Marsh, Seaga Vending machines, Online Defamation Lawsuit, Healthy Vending franchise, Healthy Vending machines


November 16, 2014

Chris Wyland, Grow Franchise Group, LLC, Sprout Healthy Vending LLC and Grow Healthy Incorporated are being sued by 1.800.Vending Inc.  which also operates as HealthyYOU Vending.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  The suit was filed October 3, 2014 by attorney Richard D. Burbridge of Burbridge, Mitchell and Gross in The United States District Court for the District of Utah.

The lawsuit alleges that Chris Wyland posed as disgruntled customers of his competitor 1.800.VENDING and posted defamatory statements about the company and its principal, Jeff Marsh, on complaint sites such as PissedConsumer.Com.

You can read the full complaint by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.

According to the lawsuit, Chris Wyland sells business opportunities that “weren’t properly registered in all states in which they do business.  After their lack of registration became a competitive issue for Defendants, Wyland threatened to spread rumors critical of [1.800.VENDING] on the Internet.”

The suit alleges that defamatory statements regarding 1.800.VENDING and one of its owners, Jeff Marsh.

One such statement, posted on the complaint site PissedConsumer.Com, stated that 1.800.VENDING is run by “crooks and pedophiles” and that owner Jeff Marsh “has been indicted for lewd acts with children.”

Vending Wars:  Chris Wyland Called Jeff Marsh a Pedophile?

The suit claims that after initiating a legal process, the comment was traced back to an IP address assigned to Dawna Wyland, Chris Wyland’s wife and an employee or agent of one or more of his companies.

The anonymous comment, allegedly posted by Chris Wyland, reads, in part:

[1.800.Vending] is a complete scam ran [sic] by crooks and pedophiles …

Their owner Jeff Marsh has been indicted for lewd acts with children and I am sure they are under investigation by the government for stealing money from people.

They took my money, sent me to some locating service company that promised good locations and a year later I still don’t have any and they won’t return my calls.

The suit alleges that Chris Wyland planted defamatory comments around the Internet, then encouraged his prospective healthy vending customers to seek out the online comments about Jeff Marsh, 1-800-Vending and HealthyYOU vending.

Wyland’s marketing materials allegedly state:

[Healthy YOU/1-800 Vending] is widely known for its heavy handed sales tactics and drastic discounts to get consumers to buy.

The machines are manufactured overseas …

Another quick search of the internet under the various rip off reports and complaint boards will find several negative postings regarding the equipment and services Healthy You/ 1800 Vending Operators have experienced.

Chris Wyland’s Honesty Has Been Questioned Before

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has encountered Chris Wyland before.

In 2011, when Chris Wyland was sales director of Fresh Healthy Vending, he assured the Administrator of UnhappyFranchisee.Com and prospective customers that Mark Trotter and Nick Yates were not connected to that company.

A prospective customer of Wyland’s provided what he claimed was an accidentally sent email from Chris Wyland that showed that he was making deceptive claims as to Yates’ and Trotters’ involvement.

See FRESH HEALTHY VENDING Ties to Mark Trotter, Nick Yates Disclosed.

Other 1.800.VENDING / HealthyYOU Vending Complaints May Be Valid

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has done a confidential audit of the comments left about 1.800.VENDING on our post 1-800-VENDING Complaints.

We flagged one comment that may have been posted by Chris Wyland posing as a disgruntled customer of HealthyYOU Vending.

However, an audit of more than 10 negative comments left regarding the company appear to be left by others from all over the country.

Commenters who left negative posts were posting from such states as Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Utah, California, Arizona and Texas.

So while the accusations that Chris Wyland seeded the Internet with some especially nasty and defamatory comments, that doesn’t mean that other complaints lack validity.

As with all franchise and business opportunities and especially with vending opportunities, conduct extensive, independent research and draw your own conclusions.

When in doubt, err on the side of caution.  (In other words, grab your checkbook and run!)



1-800-VENDING Complaints

FRESH HEALTHY VENDING Ties to Mark Trotter, Nick Yates Disclosed (Chris Wyland)


All Vending Posts



Tags:  Chris Wyland, Grow Franchise Group, Sprout Healthy Vending, 1-800-VENDING, HealthyYOU Vending, Healthy you Vending, Jeff Marsh, Jeffrey Marsh, Chris Wyland Lawsuit, Online Defamation Lawsuit, Richard Burbridge, Burbridge Mitchell and Gross, Healthy Vending franchise, Healthy Vending machines

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Employee Walkout Goes Viral

November 12, 2014

The Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise location in Delaware, Ohio is getting unwelcome attention from the apparent walkout of its entire crew.

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has posted the picture and selected comments below.

A picture of a handwritten sign was posted on and linked to from discussion site Reddit.

In just a day and a half, the photograph had generated 1,028,101 views and 800 comments on the two sites.

The sign from the Delaware, Ohio Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise read:

ATTENTION:  The DICKEY’S crew has QUIT ♥ .

The store is under Staffed & the owner doesn’t care enough about the store to take care of it.

♥ Visit the Lewis Center Store!

We ♥ the Customers!

♥  Ex Dickey’s Crew

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Entire Crew Walks Out

Dickeys Barbecue Pit

What do you think?  Share a comment below!

Commenter stay-chivalrous claims to have witnessed the struggling, understaffed Dickey’s:

I was there last Sunday and they had 2 people running the place during the church rush. Things were bad, the line was incredibly long.  I gotta hand it to the two people handling it though, they did their absolute best to keep the customers happy and get them moving. At one point customers were helping with things like cleaning the floor in front of the pop machine after the drain clogged in it, collecting up dishes that had fallen on the floor, and more.

To the ex-crew of Dickie’s I say thanks for doing a bang up job on Sunday and holding out as long as you could!

Yelp! Commenter Jeffrey S. also reported problems at the Delaware, OH Dickey’s:

Went to “Dickey’s” because my partner in crime and I were in the mood for BBQ Ribs.

We pulled to the drive-thru and waited and waited.

A server came on the speaker and asked us to hold please. We waited another solid 10 minutes.

Finally a different server came on the speaker and before I could say a word immediately told us they were not only out of ribs, but also out of numerous other mains on the menu.

Excuse me, it was only 5pm and the dinner hour was just starting.

A word of advice .. You only get ONE chance at first impressions .. I wish I could give this joint less than one stars because they FAILED and FAILED miserably.

Some commenters claim to have seen similar occurrences at other Dickey’s franchise locations.

skipzzb wrote:

This is actually pretty weird, almost the exact same thing happened at the Dickey’s in my town a few weeks after it opened.

Maybe one month after it opened there was a sign on the door that said something like “W have been forced to close our doors because Corporate lied to us about the costs of running one of their franchise. send complaints to (some corporate email)”

Dickeys must be a very poorly run company.

Odd_Bodkin wrote:

There was a Dickeys near me that went down a while back — same problem.

Franchise owner didn’t give a rat’s ass, and it went up in smoke (no pun intended) in pretty short order (also no pun intended).

Dickey’s Insiders Claim Systemwide Problems

Commenter and Dickey’s franchisee ScumbagSolo claims the problem is that Dickey’s sells franchises to unqualified owners:

I bought a Dickeys Barbecue that had gone downhill because of a shitty [previous]owner.

i bought it from the franchise that had kicked the lady out and took over operations.

I’ve turned that place around.  Unfortunately the franchise is trying to expand so fast that they are allowing anyone to buy one it seems.

Some of these owners don’t give a fuck and want to buy a restaurant where they don’t have to do anything and just rake in the money.

I’m sorry but that’s not how it works.

Commenter MnkeyBlast claims understaffing is a corporate strategy:

I was a manager at a dickeys in Dallas.

The only way to get the numbers to met is by being borderline understaffed.

And they “teach” how to.

Roland Dickey, Jr. is to Blame, Says Commenter

Commenter no_defaults claims that the problem starts at the top, with CEO Roland Dickey, Jr.:

I actually have a connection with the ownership of Dickey’s (they’re franchises, but there is a single owner of the concept).

The current owner is the son of the man that spent his whole life building the business. The father was a stickler for quality and had very high standards for his franchises.

Once the son took over he essentially said “fuck it, let’s get all the franchise fees we can”.

They loosened the franchising rules and the strictness in product control and essentially just wanted the upfront franchise fee (something like 45K).

That is part of the reason why in the last 10 years you may have noticed a huge increase in the number of Dickey’s, including those right down the street from others.

He doesn’t care.

If somebody wants to open one and will pay the franchise fee, that’s all he cares about.

It will be the slow demise of the franchise, but he’ll ride out the fortune hard.

Embattled Delaware, Ohio Dickey’s Barbecue Reopens

According to a Delaware Real Estate blog, the Delaware, OH Dickey’s was closed for lunch Monday but was reopened by dinner, staffed with labor from a recently opened location owned by the same franchisee, William Bridges:

…Dickey’s Barbeque Pit in Delaware is not closing its doors.

Yes, it was not open for lunch on Monday morning. But that was an employee issue, not a management issue according to an employee at the Lewis Center location. Employees from the new location have been activated to open the Delaware store in time for dinner [Monday].

This all on the tale of a successful three-day launch of the Lewis Center location in the Kroger Marketplace development at Columbus Pike – US 23 – and Lewis Center Road (8641 Columbus Pike, Suite 240, Lewis Center).

Online commenters state that the Delaware, OH operational problems are nothing new, and that the restaurant had been closed down for an extended period of time at least once before.

Obviously, Dickey’s corporate was not concerned enough with these operational issues to keep William Bridges from opening a second Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise nearby, despite the problems with his first.

Also read:

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Franchise Complaints


DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT: How to Lose Everything in 5 Years or Less (Part 1)

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT: How to Lose Everything in 5 Years or Less (Part 2)

DICKEY’S BBQ Is Dickey’s Overselling its Franchise Opportunity?

DICKEY’S BARBECUE Franchise, Jerrel Denton, Roland Dickey Jr. Sued for Fraud

DICKEY’S Franchise: Open Letter to Roland Dickey, Jr.

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Franchise: Roland Dickey Sells to, Then Sues, Registered Sex Offender

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Makes an Unhappy Franchisee Happy… Then Sues Him



Tags:  Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise, Delaware Ohio Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Dickey’s crew quits, Dickey’s franchise Delaware Ohio, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit employee walkout, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchisee lawsuit, Roland Dickey Jr., Roland Dickey, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit closed, Dickey’s complaints

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT: How to Lose Everything in 5 Years or Less (Part 2)

November 2, 2014

A Dickey’s franchise owner states the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise is “like a glorified pyramid scheme that takes all your money, sues you for more, and leaves you homeless and penniless.”

UnhappyFranchisee.Com recently received a very compelling account from an anonymous Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise owner entitled:

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: How to lose everything you own (and your livelihood) in 5 years or less.

See Part One of this first-hand account here:

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT: How to Lose Everything in 5 Years or Less (Part 1)

In Part One, Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee alleged that Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise personnel lie to franchisees about unit profitability, use underhanded techniques to extract additional monies from franchisees, and get vendor kickbacks at franchisees’ expense.

In Part Two (below), Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee states alleges that Dickey’s provides inadequate franchise support, ineffective marketing and is indifferent to the plight of its failing franchise owners.

Allegation:  Dickey’s Provides Little to No Franchise Support

Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee writes:

For the first couple of years of owning a franchise, there was little or no support at the local level. We would see someone from the corporate office about once every three months. We often wondered what they did with the 9% we were paying them weekly.

We very rarely seen local advertisements, and when we did, there were usually misprints. I received one in my mail yesterday that listed only two Dickey’s in this state when there are several more.

They also listed a few in neighboring states, but not all of them. If you are taking the time and spending the money to advertise, wouldn’t you want to get it right and maximize your exposure?

As of last year, we could request some of our ad money be allocated to specific local vendors, but that was usually declined. Nobody I know (and I know a lot of people at Dickey’s) could effectively tell me how and where the money is spent.

I know factually that several heads of the marketing department have been fired for overspending. Believe it or not, when that was happening, most restaurants were producing record sales. But when the department goes “upside down” (Dickey’s phrase, not mine) then they have to stop spending for months just to catch up.

I have taken more than my share of calls from local ad vendors looking for payments months overdue that DBRI has owed.

Share your opinion below:  Does Dickey’s provide valuable support and effective marketing that justify 9% of gross sales?

Allegation:  Dickey’s Knowingly Sells to Undercapitalized Franchisees

Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee writes that Dickey’s Barbecue Pit will knowingly sell franchises to those with inadequate capital or experience.

This same allegation made regarding Dickey’s sale to and termination of registered sex offender and undercapitalized franchisee James Neighbors (Read DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Franchise: Roland Dickey Sells to, Then Sues, Registered Sex Offender)

According to Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee:

I read a comment on that says DBRI is overselling. This is partly true, but I will tell you what I was told by a member of the Franchise Development Team.

I asked why they were selling franchises to some questionable people with sketchy backgrounds and questionable finances and ethics.

This individual replied: “We have to sell to undercapitalized bottom feeders in order to grow. Our magic number is 500 restaurants, which is the point where we start attracting serious buyers with endless capital that will buy up entire states”.

I don’t know about you, but that is the first time I realized for sure that this Franchise was not for me.

Does Dickey’s knowingly sell to unqualified franchisees just to pad its numbers and collect fees?  Comment below.

Allegation:  Dickey’s Sets Up Franchisees for Failure Then Sues Them

If these allegations are true, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is one of the most insidious and evil franchise organizations of recent times (and that’s saying something).

Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee alleges that Dickey’s sets up franchisees for failure, then either resells their franchises or sues them for hundreds of thousands in damages.

It was around that time that the final straw came for me. In a state with exactly two Dickey’s restaurants in it (approximately 20 miles apart), DBRI had the testicular fortitude to open a third Dickey’s exactly 3.1 miles from my location on the same street! I was approached by Richard Phillips (director of sales) and Lauren Parker (assistant director of sales) who informed me of the sale.

Richard put his hand on my shoulder and said “don’t worry about it, they have absolutely no restaurant experience, you will own that restaurant within a year”.

My restaurant is now closed and the new restaurant remains open. The new restaurant took 20% of my business in a brand new market with little competition.

DBRI forced the competition down my throat and I lost because the new store had more capital than I did.

When the new store opened I dropped below my break-even point and stayed there for over a year hoping it would change, but it didn’t.

I received numerous emails and phone calls from the corporate office saying my sales are down, what are you going to do about it? I asked that they help with some extra advertising and it never happened.

DBRI watched me fail for over a year and never once offered a solution to the problem they caused. I received a letter the other day following an email to my attorney stating DBRI would be suing me for liquidated damages for just under $500,000.

I am already in the hole to debt collectors for $200,000 and the bank has filed a suit requesting they take immediate possession of my house.

No one needs to go through what I am going through right now, please don’t believe a word DBRI says to you, Roland Dickey Jr. would sell his grandmother to make a dime.

What do you think?  Is the Dickey’s franchise a predatorial scam that preys on franchisees?

Allegation:  Dickey’s is a Dictatorial Pyramid Scheme

Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee concludes:

I leave you with these thoughts: DBRI, to me, resembles a narcissistic dictatorship that is chasing the almighty dollar into purgatory.

In reality, it feels more like a glorified pyramid scheme that takes all your money, sues you for more, and leaves you homeless and penniless.

What do you think?  Is Dickey’s a “glorified pyramid scheme” or a legitimate opportunity?

Also read:

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Franchise Complaints


DICKEY’S BBQ Is Dickey’s Overselling its Franchise Opportunity?

DICKEY’S BARBECUE Franchise, Jerrel Denton, Roland Dickey Jr. Sued for Fraud

DICKEY’S Franchise: Open Letter to Roland Dickey, Jr.

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Franchise: Roland Dickey Sells to, Then Sues, Registered Sex Offender

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Makes an Unhappy Franchisee Happy… Then Sues Him



Tags:  Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise, Dickey’s franchise lawsuit, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise complaints, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchisee lawsuit, Roland Dickey Jr., Roland Dickey, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit closed, Dickey’s complaints, Dickey’s lawsuits

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT: How to Lose Everything in 5 Years or Less (Part 1)

November 2, 2014

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise is generating a flood of horror stories and complaints from franchisees claiming they invested their life savings only to find that they were lied to by a shady, disreputable company with no regard for their success.

Common allegations include illegal and false pre-sale earnings claims, misrepresentation of start-up costs, vendor kickbacks to corporate, lack of support, ineffective marketing, and a predatory approach to franchising that includes setting up franchisees to fail and suing them for hundreds of thousands of dollars when they do.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit CEO Roland Dickey, Jr. has been characterized in some complaints as so greedy he’d “sell his grandmother to make a dime.”

What do you think?  Do you agree with those who characterize the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise program as a predatory investment scam, or do you see things differently?  Please share your opinion below.

UnhappyFranchisee.Com recently received a very compelling account from an anonymous Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise owner entitled:

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: How to lose everything you own (and your livelihood) in 5 years or less.

Part One is published below.

Part Two is published here:  DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT: How to Lose Everything in 5 Years or Less (Part 2)

Allegation:  Dickey’s Misrepresents Franchisee Profitability

Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee states that Dickey’s provides false and illegal earnings claims to prospective franchisees:

I was very excited to get approved to own my very first franchise restaurant.

I was told by the sales department at Dickey’s that most of their restaurants see margins of up to 20% with net revenues on  average of 1 million dollars plus. So this told me, if I run their model, I should be able to profit up to  $200,000 per year.

This was not my experience, and I felt misled.

The most profits we ever seen in a month was about 8K. What they don’t tell you, and what I understand, is that 90% of their stores lose  money, or at best, break even in the months of January, February, and March. That means this franchise is only profitable 9 out of 12 months per year.

There is one exception to that rule, DBRI (Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc.) always make their money. They get 9% (5% royalty and 4% ad fund) right off the top whether you make money or not.

Several lawsuits and other complaints have also alleged illegal and deceptive earnings claims are given by Dickey’s sales staff.

Does Dickey’s lie to prospective franchisees about profits?  What’s your experience?  Share below.

Allegation:  Dickey’s is Greedy & Underhanded

Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee claims Dickey’s is greedy and underhanded, and that Roland Dickey, Jr. would “sell his grandmother to make a dime.”

He gives an example of the sales staff rushing him to sign his franchise agreement under false pretenses; he soon learned they were rushing him so he wouldn’t be eligible for a $15K discount on his franchise fee.

I should have seen the signs early on, but as they say at Dickey’s, “I drank the Kool-Aid”.

We paid 30K for our first restaurant and we were under unbelievable pressure to get this deal signed and done by the end of the year (this was happening in the middle of December). Dickey’s sales team told us they wanted to close the books on December 31st so this would help their bottom line. We Fed Exed and faxed documents for days, including the actual certified check, to get this done by December 31st . What we later found out, is that as of January 1st, they had lowered the price of the franchise from 30K to 15K.

This is indicative of my entire experience as a franchise owner.

Is Dickey’s greedy and underhanded?  Share your opinion below.

Allegation:  Dickey’s Gets Kickbacks at Franchisees’ Expense

Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee writes:

RDJ (Roland Dickey’s Jr.), as the saying goes, seemed willing to sell his grandmother to make a dime.

Oh, wait a minute, he actually did that.  Just over a year ago Dickey’s introduced us to Miss Ollie’s tea, his grandmothers’ recipe for iced tea.  Really no change in flavor or recipe basics, just kickbacks to DBRI from Community Coffee for selling so much tea and having his grandmothers name on the brand.

Speaking of kickbacks, let’s talk about the difference between a mandatory vendor and a recommended vendor. After using all of DBRI’s recommended vendors, I found my margins much lower that predicted.

I will give you two of many examples:

  1. Airgas National for CO2: this company charges all owners a $55.00 per month tank rental fee and about $40.00 per month is just CO2. I didn’t know it at the time, but I signed a 5 year contract with them (Dickey’s standard contract according to Airgas). I bit the bullet and bought out the contract and found a local vendor that cost me $15-$30 per month vs. $95.00.
  2. ADP: Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. actually brings the representative into your training to sell you all the features. This company charges over $100 per pay period. If you were to outsource this to a local vendor, it would cost you half that much. I know, because I got tired of overpaying them for services recommended by DBRI.

These are just two examples of how Dickey’s recommends you spend your money. Where do you suppose all the excess money goes if you are being over charged?

Does Dickey’s get kickbacks at franchisees’ expense?  Share your thoughts below.

Also read:

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Franchise Complaints


DICKEY’S BBQ Is Dickey’s Overselling its Franchise Opportunity?

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Franchise Called a Pyramid Scheme

DICKEY’S BARBECUE Franchise, Jerrel Denton, Roland Dickey Jr. Sued for Fraud

DICKEY’S Franchise: Open Letter to Roland Dickey, Jr.

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Franchise: Roland Dickey Sells to, Then Sues, Registered Sex Offender

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Makes an Unhappy Franchisee Happy… Then Sues Him





Tags:  Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise, Dickey’s franchise lawsuit, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise complaints, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchisee lawsuit, Roland Dickey Jr., Roland Dickey, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit closed, Dickey’s complaints, Dickey’s lawsuits

BLOW DRY BAR Salon Openings & Closings (Australia) [UPDATED]

September 28, 2014

BLOW DRY BAR Salon Openings & Closings in Australia are a matter of much debate.

They are also a matter of interest for U.S. franchise seekers, as the alleged success of the Blow Dry Bar franchise system in Australia is being used to promote a sister concept in America:  The Cherry Blow Dry Bar franchise opportunity.

Are Blow Dry Bar Salons Successful in Australia?

A promotional blog for Blow Dry Bar founder Nathan Cuneen states “despite the massive growth, the chain has had perfect success with franchisees up to this point.”

Yet Blow Dry Bar franchisees and online critics have stated that closures and “churning” of owners is commonplace.

On an Australian-based business blog, Guest wrote:

If Blow Dry Bar is so successful for franchisees why have so many closed down already?

Bondi Beach?


Gold Coast Myer?

Macqaurie Myer?

Warringah Mall?

Parramatta Myer?

Penrith Myer?



Blow Dry Bar Australia Salon Watch

With the help of our readers and interested friends in Australia, UnhappyFranchisee.Com intends to keep track of the openings and closings of Blow Dry Bar franchises down under.

Please feel free to provide us with updates on openings and closings in the comment section below. As of June 19, 2013, the Blow Dry Bar website listed 22 locations.  As of 9/14, the Blow Dry Bar website showed only 9 locations open.

22 Blow Dry Bar locations were listed on the BDB website as open as of June, 2013. .By November, 2013 the total had fallen to 20 locations.


As of 9/14, the Blow Dry Bar website shows 9 locations open.

NSW – 11 10 4 Locations

Wollongong [CLOSED]

Sans Souci  [CLOSED]

Castle Hill  [CLOSED]

North Ryde – Macquarie Centre


Balmain  [CLOSED]

World Square  [CLOSED]

Sydney – MLC Centre

Market Street Sydney  [CLOSED]

North Sydney  [CLOSED]

Potts Point 

VIC – 7 4 2 Locations

Docklands [CLOSED]

Port Melbourne

Brighton [CLOSED]

Malvern  [CLOSED]

Richmond  [CLOSED]

Melbourne Central  [CLOSED]

Melbourne CBD – Collins Street

QLD – 3 2 Locations

Emporium, Fortitude Valley

Broadbeach [CLOSED]


WA – 1 Location

Raine Square

Updated 6/19/13

Updated 9/28/14

Also Read:

CHERRY BLOW DRY BAR Franchise Warning

CHERRY BLOW DRY BAR Franchise Announces First U.S. Franchisee. Sort Of.

NATHAN CUNEEN: 12 Questions About The Cherry Blow Dry Bar Franchise

CHERRY BLOW DRY BAR Secures Prime Manhattan Location



Tags: Blow Dry Bar, Blow Dry Bar franchise, Blow Dry Bar Australia, Blow Dry Bar locations, Cherry Blow Dry Bar, Cherry Blow Dry Bar franchise, Nathan Cuneen, Salon franchise, hair care franchise

*DISCLAIMER:  The opinions and statements in this post were made by Blow Dry Bar franchise owners in Australia.  These statements have not been verified by or its staff, and the opinions belong to those who made them.  As always, use the franchisee opinions and statements as a starting point in your franchise investigation.  If you are considering an investment in this franchise, speak to as many franchisees as possible, and address your concerns with the franchisor and an experienced franchise advisor.

YOFRESH YOGURT CAFÉ Franchise, Chris Gregoris in Hot Water Over Alleged Illegal Sale of Franchises [UPDATED]

September 19, 2014

Chris T. Gregoris, franchisor of YoFresh Yogurt Cafe , Poppin’ Kettle and the now-defunct Java’s Brewin’, is in hot water once again over the marketing & sale of unregistered franchises.

June 12, 2014, the Connecticut Banking Commissioner has issued a Cease & Desist Notice of Intent to Fine (read it here) YoFresh Yogurt Café, Poppin’ Kettle and Chris T. Gregoris for 5 violations of the the Connecticut Business Opportunity Investment Act (“Act”).

[For an update on this post read YoFRESH YOGURT CAFÉ Chris Gregoris Fined $85K for CT Franchise Violations]

The notice states “notice is hereby given to each Respondent that the Commissioner intends to impose a maximum fine not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per violation upon each Respondent.”

Additionally, Chris Gregoris and YoFresh Yogurt Café are currently being investigated by the Attorney Generals of Illinois and New York in connection with the sale of unregistered franchises in their states.

Illegally Sold Poppin’ Kettle Franchise Reportedly Closed, Website Offline

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has received word that the only remaining Poppin’ Kettle store, located in Connecticut’s Westfield Meriden Mall, has closed and the Poppin’ Kettle website is no longer accessible.

Poppin Kettle franchiseUnhappyFranchisee.Com previously warned about the Poppin’ Kettle franchise here:

POPPIN’ KETTLE Franchise Warning

Is POPPIN’ KETTLE Selling Illegal Franchises?

According to the Connecticut Banking Commissioner, Gregoris sold the Poppin’ Kettle franchise in violation of Connecticut business opportunity laws:

Since approximately September 2011, Respondents Poppin Kettle and Gregoris offered and/or sold Poppin Kettle business opportunities to at least one purchaser-investor in Connecticut, including an individual (“Investor 1”) who paid Poppin Kettle $19,500 in May 2013 as an initial franchise fee.  As of May 2014, there is one Poppin Kettle Connecticut franchise location, which belongs to Investor I and is located in Meriden, Connecticut…

Prior to the sale of the Poppin Kettle franchise to Investor 1, Respondents Poppin Kettle and Gregoris failed to provide Investor 1 with the disclosure statement containing the disclosures required by Section 36b-63 of the Act.  Such disclosures, included without limitation, key information on the franchise, the seller and its principals and affiliates, risks associated with the purchase of the business opportunity; financial information on the seller; and relevant employment, disciplinary and litigation histories of the seller and its principals.  Respondents Poppin Kettle and Gregoris, for example, failed to disclose to Investor 1 that it settled civil litigation brought by several New York business opportunity purchasers naming Gregoris and Java’s Brewin as defendants (DiPietro et al. v. Java’s Brewin Development, Inc., Christopher T. Gregoris et al. (E.D.N.Y. 1:08-cv-01620-ENV-MDG 2008)).  In addition, Respondents Poppin Kettle and Gregoris failed to disclose to Investor 1, among other things, that Gregoris was a control person of Java’s Brewing, which was the subject of a Cease and Desist Order entered by the Commissioner on June 23, 2008 for violations of the Act; that on October 8, 2008, the Commissioner imposed a $30,000 fine against Java’s Brewing for the same violations of the Act, and that such fine remains unpaid.

According to  commenter “Kevin Sweet”:  “

My name is Kevin Sweet. I worked at the Meriden, CT Poppin’ Kettle for a total of 10 months, 6 days… We were very successful until one of the main stores in the mall (JC Penny’s) closed down on May 10th. This reduced mall traffic so much that ourselves as well as a few other stores in the mall were forced to close up business.

A company-owned Poppin’ Kettle had previously opened and closed in the Mall of New Hampshire.

12 Poppin’ Kettle locations previously listed on the company website as “Coming Soon” have apparently not materialized.  It’s unclear as to whether there were franchise agreements executed/fees paid for these locations.

YoFresh Yogurt Café, Gregoris Under Investigation in Multiple States

YoFresh Yogurt CafeUnhappyFranchisee.Com has posted its suspicions that Chris Gregoris and YoFresh Yogurt Café had been violating Connecticut law by marketing unregistered franchises in that state.

Connecticut Banking Commissioner stated  “Since at least September 2013, Yofresh has maintained a website stating that it:  offered franchises for $29,500; would assist purchasers in securing a location with the use of a nationwide network of brokers; and would provide both pre-opening and operations training… At no time was the Yofresh franchise registered as a business opportunity under the Act…”

We have raised concerns about the marketing of YoFresh Yogurt Café franchises in other registration states as well:

Is YoFRESH YOGURT CAFÉ Selling Illegal Franchises in Maryland?

Is YoFRESH YOGURT CAFÉ Selling Illegal Franchises in WI?

Is YoFRESH YOGURT CAFÉ Selling Illegal Franchises in NY?

The New York Attorney General is investigating allegations of an unregistered franchise sold in New York City, and the Illinois Attorney General is investigating allegations of at least three unregistered YoFresh franchises sold for Woodstock, Chicago and Evanston locations.

UPDATE: Hearing Held Sept. 17, 2014

According to the Connecticut Banking Commissioner:

…each Respondent will be afforded an opportunity for a hearing on the allegations set forth above if a written request for a hearing is received by the Department of Banking, Securities and Business Investments Division… If a hearing is requested, the hearing will be held on July 24, 2014 at 10 a.m., at the Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut.

The hearing will be held in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 54 of the General Statutes of Connecticut.  At such hearing, each Respondent will have the right to appear and present evidence, rebuttal evidence and argument on all issues of fact and law to be considered by the Commissioner.

Update: The CT Banking Commission held a hearing with YoFresh on September 17, 2014 regarding the advertising and sale of unregistered Poppin’ Kettle and YoFresh franchises.

The Commissioner has 90 days to render a decision.

Interestingly, Chris Gregoris is no stranger to the CT Banking Commission.  The Notice of Intent to Fine states:

On June 23, 2008, the Commissioner entered a Cease and Desist Order against Java’s Brewin for offering and selling unregistered business opportunities in violation of the Act, and on October 8, 2008, the Commissioner fined Java’s Brewin $30,000 in connection with the same violation.  (Docket No. CF 2008-845-B).  To date, such fine remains unpaid.




YoFRESH YOGURT CAFÉ Franchise Watch: How Many Have Closed? How Many Remain?

When Franchises Fail: Interview with Former Frozen Yogurt Franchisee Leon Walker

YOFRESH YOGURT CAFÉ Franchise Complaints

CHRIS GREGORIS Franchise Complaints



TAGS: Chris Gregoris, Christos T. Gregoris, YoFresh franchise, YoFresh Yogurt Café franchise, YoFresh franchise opportunity, YoFresh franchise complaints, Poppin’ Kettle franchise, Chris Gregoris franchise opportunity, Chris Gregoris franchise complaints, Ken Mason, Dennis Mason, franchise registration, unhappy franchisee

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







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

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