SNAP-ON TOOLS Franchise Complaints

January 2, 2012

SNAP-ON TOOLS Franchise Complaints. The Snap-on Tools mobile tools franchise has been plagued with franchisee lawsuits.

The 2011 Snap-on Tools FDD (SNAP-ON TOOLS Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)) lists nearly 40 lawsuits by franchisees in the last ten years, including a class action lawsuit (settled in 2006) that cost Snap-on Tools $38 million in settlement fees, attorney fees and other costs.

Snap-On ToolsAccording to the Snap-on FDD “This complaint set forth various alleged deceptive practices, sought to represent a class for current  and former franchisees and independent dealers, sought injunctive relief, and contained counts for alleged violation of RICO, state statutes prohibiting deceptive trade practices, deceptive franchise practices and consumer fraud, common law fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.”

According to some, the franchise litigation forced Snap-on to address and fix the problems with its franchises, and become a better company.

However, others contend that major problems with the viability of the franchise opportunity and the franchisor’s attitude toward its franchise owners still persist.

jim lager writes:

They(Snap-on) does take advantage however of new naive dealers if allowed…. Snap-on loves fresh meat.

I have 5 [Snap-on] franchises  i am trying to sell off franchises and there is no value what so ever in my business. Snap-on does everything they can to inhibit the sale diminish the value… I don’t know many 13 year veterans in Snap-on running great numbers.

Judge writes:

they have the power to put you in business and can take you out. I been a tool man for some time now. When I talk to old timers that been in 25 years or more they all tell me the same thing. The company lost touch with what we are doing out here. It’s all about numbers and that’s it… I think these tool companies got too comfortable letting other people like ourselves do all the hard work and they just collect money.

Are you a Snap-on Tools franchise owner or former franchise owner?  Do you have franchise complaints, or advice for prospective Snap-on dealers you can share?

Or do you think the Snap-on Tools franchise is a great opportunity with a dedicated franchisor?

Please share a comment below, positive or negative.



To contact the author or site admin, email UnhappyFranchisee[at]

More on the Snap-on Tools franchise:

SNAP-ON TOOLS Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)

Mobile Tool Franchise Guide: List of Calls (LOC)


211 Responses to “SNAP-ON TOOLS Franchise Complaints”

  1. AfterTheRise says:


    Day Drinking? Being a bit presumptuous aren’t we? You perhaps realize that I might not even be in your time zone?

    Ok.. I did type in considerable amount of mistakes. So yes, you’ve got me there. You obviously didn’t read the entire thread, as I addressing specifics in that post. And what’s wrong with a little colorful prose? Next time I will endeavor to use only the Queen’s perfect English with you. Does that satisfy you?

    You seem to be very focused on minutiae. You probably would have understood my point had you actually read the entire thread. Instead you try to enforce your opinion by insulting my intelligence. That’s OK, I don’t expect people such as yourself to actually read between the lines.

    I am aware that this site’s moniker is unhappyfranchisee, but perhaps you missed something crucial at the bottom of the article. I took the liberty of quoting it below:

    “Are you a Snap-on Tools franchise owner or former franchise owner? Do you have franchise complaints, or advice for prospective Snap-on dealers you can share?

    Or do you think the Snap-on Tools franchise is a great opportunity with a dedicated franchisor?

    Please share a comment below, positive or negative.”

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but that does mean open forum correct? I suspect for you, that only means people that agree with your opinion. Nothing I can do about that, it’s totally your right to be obstinate.

    My point is simple, call a me misanthrope, but I do believe that many advocacy groups can do more harm than good. At best, they become pity parties. At worst, they become a sort of hive mind where anyone that differs with their worldview is the subject of attack and ridicule. Hence the mob mentality reference. Chest beating about class action lawsuits do nothing to help the people who have been made destitute. Are you trying to make the companies more transparent, or are you trying to grind them into liquidation? I believe no one wins in the latter situation. I think this is the point that many of the “positives” attempt to make. Yes, some of them are pompous pricks about it. But unfortunately it’s no crime to lack empathy.

    Incomprehensible ramblings? Read some of the other threads. I’ve read submissions by angry franchisees that mention everything from Communist China to rambling diatribes that list every grievance they had to deal with from the day they began their franchise, to the day in sank without a trace. And please excuse remark about the Middle Class, but I live and work overseas. I am married to one of those “job thieves”. I suppose she is not allowed to aspire to anything better. Entitlement positively oozes from many of these posts. Just because you work hard is no guarantee that your business will be successful. Certainly it helps, but it’s part of a larger mosaic.

    Hmmm.. do I also owe you for the time it took you to write your rebuttal? I think you’ll have to take that one to collections. As for the good taxpayers of the USA, I think they have a lot more to worry about than my so called “inadequate education’.

  2. Guest says:


    I was just calling you on your phony erudition. You touted your education and criticized “execrable prose” then out-excreted the worst of it.

    Wouldn’t you agree that the mark of a skilled and educated writer is not the use of big words and a pompous affect, but an engaging idea or position told in the simplest, clearest way possible?

    You complained about the complainers but added nothing to the very important discussion of the hidden dangers of the Snap-on franchise opportunity.

    So let’s move on to something more substantive. Of course failed tool truck operators would blame the franchisor. They were told no business experience was necessary. They were sold a dream (look at the company’s franchise marketing). They were told that Forbes rated Snap-on the #1 franchise because no one fails. They were misled in order to induce them into signing over their savings and go deep into debt.

    The truth is that Snap-on appears to hide its failures by classifying them as “reaquisitions” by the franchisor, leaving the “closures” column in the disclosure document at “0” They appear to have tricked Forbes into naming them #1 franchise because Forbes thought there were “0” failures. In truth, there were over 1000 franchises in three years whose owners could no longer operate.

    If the skilled and experienced business writers at Forbes were completely fooled by Snap-on’s sleight-of-hand, what chance do you think a mechanic or shop manager who has saved his whole life to buy a franchise would have? Don’t you think that person has the right to base his family’s most important financial decision on fully disclosed facts, not some slick shell game?

    You can call Jim Lager and those speaking out against Snap-on whiners and lucre-seekers if you wish, but they are putting their energy and effort into warning prospective franchisees about the true nature of this investment. Those who read these comments and buy anyway will have made a more informed decision because of them and will have to own the consequences.

    Their comments have undoubtedly saved families from financial ruin. Your comments just distracted from meaningful conversation by attacking the victims – those who were recruited, screened and selected by Snap-on.

    If you have a substantive point that you’ve been witholding, I’d love to hear it.

  3. AfterTheRise says:


    Ok, fair enough, I’ll make this clear. I guess erudition is in my blood, since its my essentially my job. Plus, it simply bothers me that so few people actually try. Call me pompous if you will, it really doesn’t bother me. I am who am. Touting an education? I’m not trying toot my own horn, I’m simply making a case in point. The tool franchises thrive on the uninformed. If someone hands you 523 page (I believe that was number I saw here) contract, that doesn’t speak well for transparency. I mean Good Lord, its tool franchisee contract, not a bill going before congress. This is, in my opinion, makes for a successful business arrangement… transparency.

    If you think I’m pounding on victims, you’re wrong. Why be the victims here? Why not be survivors. This is not “suck it up and drive on” type of speech. It’s just that I HATE to see the embryo of a good idea thrown by the wayside because of setback. You can only arbitrate? OK …arbitrate Snap-on until the courts can no longer ignore the painfully obvious fact that Snap-on (and all their other imitators) are setting up
    most their franchisees for failure. There will be setbacks, there will be struggles, but to give up? That’s the bigger crime than crooked franchise. Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong place, but what happened to the MTDA? Why throw a germ of a good idea away?

    Oh I think we are giving Forbes way too much credit here. I have a friend who worked as intern for Forbes. It’s chilling to hear how they come with these “Number One Franchise” numbers. They often take the gross profit as the indicator of a “successful business”. Remember Forbes magazine also once touted the likes of Bernie Madoff. Not a good indicator of objective journalism. Reacquisition… sounds too much like a euphemism, that doesn’t sound like something Forbes would overlook. Could it be that Snap-on is simply recording these franchises as “purchased”? I see from some posters that Snap-On seems very quick to write off or forgive heavy debts that franchisee’s accumulate through inventory orders. I’m not going to speculate on their bookkeeping, but I think when any franchisee goes to arbitration, they should demand to see how exactly their business was liquidated.

    I blew my top mainly because I could not grasp that Jim would believe that such a story would fly in court. Again, this damages YOUR credibility. What do you think a Judge, or better yet, Snap-On’s high priced legal team would do with a story like that? It would be ripped to shreds, and it makes every franchisee with a legitimate complaint here look like a fool. I don’t think Jim is in it for money, but to win you need to know what it is you want. Transparency, restitution, reinstatement?? I know people want blood, I did too when my business failed (not a franchise). But a clear strategy is necessary if you want to see this to an acceptable end.

    I forgot to touch on this …

    “If the skilled and experienced business writers at Forbes were completely fooled by Snap-on’s sleight-of-hand, what chance do you think a mechanic or shop manager who has saved his whole life to buy a franchise would have? Don’t you think that person has the right to base his family’s most important financial decision on fully disclosed facts, not some slick shell game?”

    This is not even a shell game, it’s affinity fraud. Most technicians have no interest in Forbes. The salesmen patting on them on the back were most likely technicians themselves. This sells more franchises than an article in a business magazine, and this what your constituents need to watch out for. Will he make a commission on this sale? If yes, get a lawyer to comb over the contract as if it had lice.

    Guest, It’s late here in the Land of The Morning Calm. Despite what you may think of me, I’m not here to bash anyone. But I do feel that Snap-on could be a good company if fine people such as yourself put steady pressure on them. As it stands right now, they have nothing to fear. Why let them win?

  4. Shawn Garrett says:

    Well snap on has managed to sqrew me again. customer service got cought lying to me and didnt take any of my info for a tool that i needed warranty.A tool rep that never shows up or when he dose make apperance he never has the tools you need. A simple pair of plyers has made me boycott snap on for ever It dosen’t take a month just to get one tool. 30 years of wrenching using snapon tools has come to a hault. I WILL PASS THE WORD ON DON’T EVER BUY SNAPON TOOLS TO EVERYBODY!!!!!!

  5. Rodney Dufault says:

    I’ve been buying snap on tools for more then thirty years and never had any trouble, Until I bought a 3/8 air gun and I had a problem with it right away.Sent it back and it worked better for awhile. Then it started doing the same thing again. So I sent it back and got charged for repair. I don’t think it was anything I was doing because, I don’t abuse my tools and I’m just not happy with its performance. It wasn’t standing up to the snap on name. Other guys in my shop are not experiencing this problem, I think mine was defective.
    Unsatisfied Costumer,
    Rod Dufault

  6. Gary Duveyoung says:

    Why is it that the neighborhood Snap-On Tool truck drivers do not care at all about fixing or replacing a homeowners Snap-On Tools? Try to get a ratchet fixed or replaced is virtually impossible.

  7. Gary Duveyoung says:

    I live in Saint Clair Shores,Michigan and Dave(the boss) of Keith Lake are two useless Snap-On Tool distributors that hurt themselves and their company by not fixing or replacing my ratchet wrench. I was going to buy a set of locking flex head ratchets from them but I realized that they only care about the shops they deliver to.

  8. John says:

    I have been a Snap On Dealer for 24 years,and I will be blunt-this business is what you make it. Take care of your customers,treat them like you want to be treated,and all is well. I will not brag about income,but if I was not making a nice living,it would not take me 24 years to figure it out.

  9. John says:

    Also,consider that every franchise that ends is not a failure. Dealers die,retire and simply change professions like everybody else.

  10. Jeff says:

    As a former franchise, realize that most of the “bad” that you read is from those who failed in the business. I was in for nearly 8 years and made a very good living. The horror stories being presented as possibly true, but I did not see this nor hear or it from the many franchisee’s I knew.

    Research is important, but Snap On spends a lot of time and money training their new franchisee’s and do not enjoy having to fill routes. The managers that I had were very eager to help me when I needed it, and were pleasant to work for.

    If you are looking for instant riches without having to work, do not pursue this. But if you do work hard, and yes the hours are longer than a minimum wage 8 hour day, you van have a great deal of success. Unfortunately in life, if you want to succeed, you have to put in the extra effort and hard work. Welcome to reality, regardless of the field you choose.

    I left primarily due to the amount of hours I was having to put in to be successful. For me, it was too much with a family of 4 kids. But, the money is good if you work at it. I left but have no ill feelings towards the company. You can not work hard and fail, or you can work hard and smart and succeed. There are tons of very happy and successful franchisees in the Snap On world.

    If you think this business is about parking a truck on a corner as customers come in and hand you money, wrong business for you.

    If you want to work hard, listen to those that are successful and learn from them, you can do very well.

    I did well with Snap On, but I worked long days and Saturdays as well. Made good money, but did not have the time to be with my kids that I wanted.

    So tired of hearing lazy people bitch about how their failures in the business were someone else’s fault. You control your success or failure.

    If it was easy, everyone would do it.

  11. Pal says:

    A mechanic has been wronged by the company. We have discovered so many things about Snap-on’s procedures that more than likely fail to follow fair lending guidelines. Their practices are very shady. If you too are a purchaser of Snap-on products and feel you have been mistreated or misled by Snap-on, please email [redacted]
    They bully one buyer at a time… their tool pushers are as rude and deceitful as those you’ll encounter at Snap-on Credit. Unite with others to get some action. We are filing complaints on the state levels, but may be taking this to the news. They’ve messed with the wrong person as I will see this through to the end.