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DISCOVERY POINT Franchise Complaints

May 15, 2013

Discovery Point franchise complaints include a high number of failures that the company effectively hides.

Other complaints include the use of a fixed franchise royalty (rather than a royalty calculated as a percentage of sales) and allegations of franchise churning.

Franchise Churning is an industry term that describes a practice wherein a franchisor allows or causes a franchisee to fail so that they can re-sell the territory over and over to new franchisees, collecting new fees each time.

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has not verified the accuracy or veracity of these allegations.  We invite those familiar with Discovery Point to share their views in the comment section below.

We also invite Discovery Point Franchising, Inc. and its associates to provide rebuttals, clarifications, refutations or explanations to UnhappyFranchisee.Com for publication, as it is our preference to provide both sides and let our readers decide.

In response to our post DEADLY FRANCHISE MYTHS: The Hot New Franchise Myth by Sean Kelly, DiscoveryPointFraud wrote:

These deadly combinations were effectively used by the childcare franchise “Discovery Point”.

Look up other resources before buying into this.

Franchisees have been ruined and those were not disclosed. Not sure why employees continue to work in the corporate.

They have seen how one after the other families have been destroyed by this child less couple mercilessly.

Discovery Point uses a fixed royalty and not a percentage. Therefore, has no interest in improving your business.

Actually they benefit if you fail.

They have effectively churned the same location to make more Millions for themselves at the cost of the franchisees and the SBA guarantees.

They are well known to take over running franchised businesses for free, be careful.

Earlier this year, allegations of multiple Discovery Point failures and bankruptcies were posted on BlueMauMau.org.

On January 29, 2013, Guest wrote:

The latest victims of Discovery Point Franchising are the Vahids of DP #36 and the Duttas of DP #57.

They were preceded by DP #11 and DP #22.  All these Discovery Point franchises were located in North East suburbs of Atlanta, GA.

All of these franchisees were families with children and lost everything they had. They now have the stigma of bankruptcy on their records, but the people responsible to make that bankruptcy are enjoying vacations in their private jet.

These are hard working people, who saved to open their own businesses but fell prey to the perfected fraud of franchising.

Vahids and Duttas are willing to share their story to prospective franchisees, if they desire to contact them. Their contact information are available with the existing franchisees of that area.

On May 28, 2013, Guest wrote:

Two more bankruptcies for Discovery Point

Discovery Point #50 at Dawsonville and #55 at Fayetteville, GA went out of business last week. These were multi-million dollar loans guaranteed by SBA but SBA logs did not show that the loans were franchise related. The franchise corporate injected imaginary money from the profit to make the loans happen. There were perhaps overseas money transfers from these transactions. Each closing of these centers also had a parallel cash transfer among business entities owned by the Franchise owners and it happened in the closing attorneys office at the same time as the closing. Hopefully these discussions come up in search results so that future franchisees can make an informed decision.  Bluemaumau has been blocked in primary search by this franchise.  For example, if you Google “Discovery Point”, these discussions will not show up.

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If you are looking for a franchised childcare and you are a family with children, be careful because you are targeted for destruction. The owners of Discovery Point Franchise are childless but are in child related business (go figure!). They have no clue what it takes to raise a child but understand that the effort makes these families vulnerable and easy to prey upon.   Past records indicate that they were after happy families with children – Craigs, Padins, Vahids, Duttas, Schuchmanns to name a few. All these franchisees were personally bankrupt under the supervision of the Discovery Point corporate.

*   *   *   *   *

An exception: One franchisee was a Police Officer, who bought the Mall of GA location, and promptly rescinded the contract but did not bring these near criminals to court. The police officer should have done that to stop the destruction of so many franchisee families. Franchisees lost home, got divorced, lost retirement savings, could not support kids’ colleges because all was sucked in by the franchise and the bank. Most of these loans were made possible by Jackie Hart, who worked with the franchise to increase the center price by a Million in a few years and simultaneously helped to increased the sale volume. She also allowed false cash injection from the franchise’s profits.

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These center failures are not reported in the Disclosure document and one cannot do a thing if there are lies in the FDD. FTC does not monitor each of these FDDs, GA does not have any regulations, and one cannot sue a franchise for lies in FDD. Rogue people like these use Franchise as a license to commit financial fraud with government protection.

Discovery Point child development center was founded in 1988 by Cliff and Diane Clark, and franchised in 1990.

According to its franchise listing on Entrepreneur.Com, the number of Discovery Point franchises has fallen from a high of 58 in 2010 to 53 in 2012.

The total initial investment is listed as $2.67M – 3.34M, with a $60,000 franchise fee and an ongoing royalty of $3800 per month.

Discovery Point Franchising, Inc. is headquartered in Duluth, GA.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

ARE YOU A DISCOVERY POINT FRANCHISE OWNER OR FRANCHISEE? 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE DISCOVERY POINT FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: Discovery Point franchise, Discovery Point franchise complaints, Discovery Point complaints, Discovery Point childcare franchise, childcare franchise, Cliff Clark, Diane Clark, SBA franchise loans, franchise failures

Comments

19 Responses to “DISCOVERY POINT Franchise Complaints”

  1. http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Discovery-Point-Franchising/Duluth-Georgia-30097/Discovery-Point-Franchising-DPF-took-my-money-and-built-my-center-but-in-TN-it-would-only-310444

    Sale records indicate Discovery Point corporate picked this center up (churn) alive for a Million and sold it for more than $2 Million. The first sale by the Discovery Point corporate owners was also for more than $2M. It was SBA guaranteed but the loan officer was not Jackie Hart. This franchisee was doomed from the start- where is the proven business model? By the time he could realize what was happening he was broke and could not afford a lawyer to contest. Someone from DP contacted him by phone and offered some loan relief if he handed over the business. He handed it over and no one gave him any slack on anything. So, he lost it all. Eventually he lost family, lost home, lost job – you want to be like him?

  2. ADMIN says:

    DiscoveryPointFraud:

    Do you know a source for sales records for Discovery Point franchises that were sold, taken back over, then resold for a profit by the franchisor? Also do you (or anyone else reading this) have a current or recent Discovery Point FDD you can send us?

    Thanks,

    UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com

  3. DPfranchisee says:

    Why don’t you ask franchise owner, Cliff Clark of Discovery Point, about the churned centers. We can provide proof after he denies. But if he provides the information, you have it.

    Churning started early in the history of this franchise beginning with the first franchised center owned by the Millers. MaryAnn Edwards is also assisting with legal and financial matters in the corporate and may be helpful. She collects the money and is aware that several business entities are being used to confuse the cash flow traces.

    You may also ask Mr. Clark why the churned center in Covington, GA was financed by him and SBA did not approve the loan. How come he showed that churned center as profitable but the new owner cannot meet the bills the next month after purchase. Is SBA investigating this franchise? Let him refuse this.

    You will be scratching your head because whatever he does is>>>>. His private jet operates from Gwinnett County airport in GA but is registered in SC, where he never lived. There were seven franchised centers in SC but cannot be traced. All web presence have been purged. The corporate building pays a significantly low property tax each year compared to its neighbors even if it has bigger land and bigger floor area. It is owned by Mr. Clark with camouflaged business entities. The building is perhaps marked as unheated but actually rented out to many offices and fully air conditioned. Hired the SBA loan officer, Jackie Hart, possibly to pay back the favor. The business director, Jack Gutkin, was salaried but his income varied widely and then went bankrupt himself with no money in bank even if he made more than $100K the year before? Very interesting and stranger than fiction. There is so much more.

  4. DPfranchisee says:

    The total number of centers and growth is misleading for this franchise. Suppose 5 were built and 3 failed. So the growth is 2 centers. This franchise did not disclose the failures. The state of GA does not monitor franchise documents. You will find many franchises are based in the state of GA for that reason. This franchise claimed that there were never any problems anywhere in their system. They would not mention the 3 failed centers anywhere. For example, there were 7 centers in SC that vanished. It was not mentioned and forgotten. In 2005, corporate owned centers but were not listed as corporate owned in the FDD. Franchise lied about the waiting list too. But no one can do anything because franchises are protected in this capitalist country. They are allowed to rob, mutilate, rape and enslave the franchisees before killing them.

    A prospective franchisee sees that there was a growth by 2 centers, but in reality less than half survived in this example. But there is no way to know it. Interestingly, the franchise name was not used in the SBA loan documents. Both the SBA loan officer and closing attorney helped the franchise to hide their names from these transactions. So, SBA cannot trace the failures back to the franchise.

  5. discoverypointChurned says:

    The sale records of one of the churned centers is available here:
    http://qpublic7.qpublic.net/gsi_display.php?county=ga_newton&KEY=00130-00000-070-D00

    Several things to note:
    1. The company name used in 2006 by the franchise for the SBA loan was Discovery Development and not the Discovery Point franchise. SBA could not link the dots, even if it was the same owners.
    2. Buyer in 2006 MMET was Florida based and owners could not be found. Did the franchise owners absorbed it themselves by a fictitious company?
    3. The repurchase included all equipment and supplies and personal property by Charleston Real Estate, which was owned by Diane, an owner of Discovery Point and people suspect she passed away under mysterious conditions and was buried quickly. Note that one of the CEOs of this franchise was murdered before.
    4. The total package sold in 2006 by Diane was more than $2.5M that Diane got back for $1.678M in 2009- not to mention she collected royalty without doing anything and loan payments during these 3 years. Then she and Cliff resold it for $2.5M+. This time in 2011 SBA did not agree and did not finance. Diane financed the loan herself to hide the ownership as the discussion on churning by Discovery Point was heating up. Cliff and Diane used franchise’s marketing Dollars to sell this unit to profit themselves.

    Current owner is losing money and wonders how Discovery Point showed profit when they sold the center to her. She is now stuck with it till bankruptcy. However, DiscoveryPoint is clever and increasing the time gap between bankruptcies by not collecting Royalty or loan payments from several centers. Expect them to gradually fail in 2-5 years. Discovery Point collects fixed Royalty and therefore not interested in how the center is performing.

  6. discoverypointAvoid says:

    Discovery Point seems to be a corrupt organization and currently buying franchisees to rob SBA.
    Discovery Point and Legacy Academy are based on the same location, Atlanta, GA, and based on the same franchisee mauling principles.

    According to Discovery Point, “A Wake Forest couple is trading their international careers for local connections: Jan and Hong Chen aim to meet the Triangle’s burgeoning demand for quality child child care by opening North Carolina’s first Discovery Point Child Development Center.

    Ground was broken in March at 1212 Heritage Links Drive for what will be Discovery Point’s biggest child care center: 13,200 square feet capable of handling between 230 and 240 children ranging in age from newborns to grade school. The center will serve the Wake Forest, Raleigh and Rolesville areas starting in the Fall of 2014.”

    This so called “trading international careers” couple are actually job less (doing odd jobs now) and Discovery Point is buying them Green Card to operate this center. SBA will be looted again. Note that this center is even bigger- earlier smaller centers went bankrupt because they could not be filled. This franchise knows the magic to sell to SBA- now changed bank because earlier banks refuse to finance this franchise. The total package will be made such a way that the loan amount will be much higher than the construction price, so that Discovery point can make money on pseudo-names. Discovery Point will pretend to make contribution to the project from the profit made – if this is not fishy, what is?

    SBA wake up- it has happened on many loans made to this franchise and loans were not marked as franchise loans. Please stop wasting tax payers’ money!!

  7. discoverypointAvoid says:

    Sorry Admin, cannot give you the identity. Even if you do not wish to disclose, these are mafia like operations and we are afraid that they can do anything to make money. What if they hold a gun on you or on your kid? It is easy to get a hit-man in Atlanta and it is easier for someone who makes half a Million from one transaction from one sell. Hiring a hit-man is cheap for them.

    The murdered CEO of Discovery Point knew about money going overseas. Most of the past franchisees cannot be found, are they not alive or hiding in fear? Do not know. One past franchisee was sent to jail on most likely fabricated charges. Publicly traded bank’s officers are also involved. There is too much risk and people are afraid.

    Only supporters are the existing franchisees, who are afraid to go against and run the risk of losing everything.

  8. ADMIN says:

    “Most of the past franchisees cannot be found…”

    Which franchisees specifically cannot be found? Have they been reported missing, or you just can’t find them with a Google search?

    discoverypointAvoid, you do understand this sounds a bit… extreme, right?. Do you have evidence to back up these allegations, or is this just wild conspiracy theory?

    Also, to keep from being defamatory, you should make it clear when you are stating proveable facts and when you are voicing opinions.

  9. danger says:

    This franchise operation is scary. Franchisee Burgess was jailed after the Clarks took their business for free. http://www.covnews.com/archives/4714/

    At that time, the corporate office was locked on all sides and employees were told to be cautious. Even today, the corporate office is locked all the time and it is hard to get a direct phone call in.

    An accountant knows about the money sent overseas and setup of false residence to FL to avoid taxes. There are many companies registered by Cliff Clark and those cannot be traced back to him easily. For example, Westair Corporation of South Carolina, which collects money from franchisees cannot be easily traced back. So is the ownership of jet aircraft N910DP, which is owned by Cliff via tangled ownership corporations.

    This franchise owner appears to have many clandestine operations and therefore franchisees are afraid to discuss matters openly.

  10. ADMIN says:

    From 2008: “Robert Weston Burgess, 43, 1080 Skyline Dr., Covington, Nov. 24. Aggravated stalking.”

    Are you saying it’s your opinion that franchisee Burgess was framed by the franchisor for Aggravated Stalking?

    How much time did he get?

    (b) Any person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years and by a fine of not more than $ 10,000.00. http://www.womenslaw.org/statutes_detail.php?statute_id=74#statute-top

  11. johnny says:

    Cliff has damaged not only franchisees but also his accomplishes. Jackie Hart, the bank vice president who got him Millions in profits via SBA, got fired from her job but has kept her mansion paid for by the commissions. Jack Gutkin, who lied left and right on Discovery Point’s earnings, got bankrupt himself and was thrown out of his office. Unfortunately all of them are still roaming the streets free and looking for next victims.

    Jack Gutkin was a director at this franchise corporate and was smooth as silk to sell Discovery Point centers at inflated unsustainable prices. He exchanged emails directly with the bank officer to make the SBA loan happen. He knew he was damaging families with young kids as he rode with them to sights, there was no moral and he does not repent. Watch him happy and talking … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndfHPyHb1TI

    Can you see how sincere he looks! The same was with Cliff and Diane. That is why franchisees believed them and got screwed. At one time this country was a good place, now frauds are everywhere, so look out for yourself and avoid this.

  12. johnny says:

    Jack the ripper. This impostor is now posing as a health care provider and may be a threat to the society.

    Discovery Point provides training and operating manuals. Ask any franchisee when is the last time they have opened their manuals. The manual copies stuff from websites and state and federal childcare rules. Clean the floor, clean the toilet, lock the store before leaving are in the operating manual and there are many volumes – it is made to promote and legalize fraud. Because legally they are providing operating manual, even if it is all trash.

    The training is included with the $60K franchise fee. Note that a 4 year undergraduate tuition cost less than that in most Universities and Colleges. The training is ridiculous and shows you how to say hello and divide numbers and round off student to teacher ratios. The ratio is already provided by the state and there is no new or proprietary information there. This training setup is made to satisfy the legal aspects so that fraud cannot be contested.

    This is a well orchestrated fraud setup. If the business succeeds, it is good for the franchise, and if it fails, either it is churned, or not mentioned to the future franchisees. Just try to find the centers they were operating in the sate of South Carolina, no mention anywhere. Each new franchisee provides a profit of nearly half a Million to the Cliff on the day of closing, so continuation of existing franchisees is not important as they have already paid him all they had and nothing left in them.

  13. AtlantaHostFraud says:

    Oh my goodness! Atlanta based fraud is spreading to Houston. http://www.discoverypointhouston.com/ – Stay away unless you have done a thorough research. This con man will sell you one Million Dollar unit for three Millions. No one cares if the new franchisee is successful or not because the big money is made on the day of the closing. The franchisee also releases the demon from all liabilities on that day. The franchise fee is fixed, so why bother helping them? Once you pay the franchise fee, you are hooked, cannot get out till you financially die or con another franchisee as a resale.
    Do not buy misfortune with your own money.

  14. AtlantaHostFraud says:

    One more thing. This sudden growth activity after many failures is after Diane’s death. Is this her life insurance at play? Was it intentional? Amen!!

  15. DiscoveryPointFraud says:

    Discovery Point at Alpharetta is for sale- 4015 Discovery Point Drive, Alpharetta, GA 30004. Based on previous experiences, do not go there. They claim to be profitable. Most re-sellers are more dishonest than the franchiser himself. They lie in every aspect of the business.
    The bright example is the Discovery Point at Laurel Springs. Owners Gail and Paul Burris were heading to bankruptcy, and so they misrepresented income statements and sold that center to Kimberly Craig. Craigs found the center to be a total financial disaster and were advised to lie for a resale. But Craigs were honest and refused to lie like the Burrises and went bankrupt themselves in about three years.

    Are you ready to lie. If so, go ahead and evaluate a Discovery Point Center. There is no room for good honest people in this franchise. You will be robbed and skinned alive. If you have kids, the fun for the franchiser is even more as you cannot give any resistance due to the family burden and responsibilities.

  16. franchisee1 says:

    The franchise loan package included more than $100K in starting operating funds. Most franchises do not do that but this did. The reason behind that is the business then took several years before going bankrupt. That avoided any red flags with SBA even if the startup fund was also mostly SBA guaranteed. Needless to say all of that went to the franchisor as royalty and other payments like second mortgage. This college drop out (may be rusticated) Cliff is a very corrupt and immoral person. Stay away. His appearance will tell you how similar he is with infamous Bernard Madoff.

  17. DiscoveryPoint_LetsSue says:

    The SBA loan officer, Jackie Hart, sold her 4500 sq ft mansion with swimming pool and 2000 sq ft basement in January 2014 and fled. She is most likely hiding in Florida with a changed name.

    From what we can see, the Bank made the franchisees take a mortgage loan, which was not serviceable. There was not enough income to sustain that burden and bank knew it. They knew it so well that they could pin point which one will make it and which will not. The ones that would make had the franchise name associated and other loans did not show as franchised loan. Bank (all loans from the same bank- Fidelity) made the franchisees take insurance as SBA guarantees. The project price was increased from $1.9M in 2006 to $2.8M in 2008. The same loan officer serviced them and was aware that franchisees were doomed. She also allowed seller financing, where the seller (Cliff Clark) put part of the profit, not real money, back in the project as down payment with extremely high interest rates to the franchisees.

    These franchisees are bankrupt. Any lawyer out there to consider this Multi-Million Dollar mortgage fraud in contingency? Please post your contacts here. Unfortunately you cannot post your phone number, but name and city should be able to locate you.

  18. DiscoveryPoint_LetsSue says:

    No lawyers come forward to help you. It happens only in stories and movies. Franchisees and prospective franchisees, hope you get the point. There is no help even if you have been deceived and there are documents. You will go bankrupt and nothing will happen to the franchiser, they will find next victim, it is surprising how many of them are there. Either you become a franchiser yourself, if you can handle fraud that US government and law supports, or just hide your tail between legs and run away. This is a country built on slavery and continues to do so.

  19. Stephen Neal says:

    During 2007/08 my family completed the initial screening process to be eligible for the childcare franchise. Jack Gutkin was our representative. We paid the $50,000 application fee however the center for whatever reason passed us by for prime location in the Alpharetta Ga, area. The company wanted us to take over failing centers. After refusing, they just kinda pushed us to the side and later refused to continue doing business, and offered no explanation. We tried unsuccessfully to get our money back. Please stop those guys…don’t do business with that franchise.

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