Unhappy Franchisee – Best Blinds franchise owners Eric & Laurie Wilson claim that they bought a Best Blinds franchise, but then found out the franchisor had already sold the exclusive territory rights to someone else.
The Wilson’s sued and won.
However, the Wilson’s claim the blind company ducked out of paying the judgement by declaring bankruptcy.
…Lisa Wall-McMahel is continuing to do business as usual under the premise that her husband Darren McMahel is the president.
They have also started a “new” business doing the same thing as before, but not offering territories. Buyers BEWARE!!! The “new” scam business can be found at bestblinds.biz The training she is offering can be obtained free by vendors and the wholesale pricing is better directly negotiated with the vendor. She is hoping to create a buying group through her, at higher prices, so that she can receive vendor incentives and rebates. By the way, this is her second filing of bankruptcy. She has played this game before.
Lissa Wall-McMahel responded with a long comment alleging that there was no fraud involved, and that the Wilsons’ took advantage of the court system and, basically, destroyed the Best Blinds franchise program. Rather than being franchise victims, Lissa McMahel alleges, their actions actually did damage to the dealers who benefitted from the now-dismantled Best Blinds franchise program.
Lissa Wall-McMahel wrote:
“Mr. & Mrs. Wilson were the FIRST franchisees for Best Blinds – prior to that territories were awarded through Business Training Agreements that were not in compliance (unknowingly) with FTC rule on franchising. Best Blinds was converting to a franchise program when the Wilsons made their original contact.
“Mr. Wilson left out a few KEY details in his complaint, as listed below:
“1-Mr. Wilson was FULLY aware of the other person (not a franchise) who had the rights to PART of the territory in which he purchased, since that person referred him to Best Blinds while on a sales call at the Wilsons’ home, with what Mr. Wilson said was “rave” reviews of Best Blinds and me as a person. He even supposedly told Mr. Wilson that he no longer wished to provide service within that territory.
“2-Mr. Wilson was notified PRIOR to training that the agreement had been submitted to the other party, but not signed, and Mr. Wilson chose to go through with the training anyway.
”3-Mr. Wilson was offered his money back plus $6k in attorneys fees prior to filing his lawsuit, but turned it down (supposedly due to the non competition clause in the termination agreement, that protected Best Blinds against other possible litigation).
“4-Mr. Wilsons allegation of FRAUD AND DECEIT is untrue and unfounded since neither judge found FRAUD, and the Wilsons were aware at all times of the other territory owner and were speaking with him (doing “due diligence”) AT ALL TIMES.
“5-Mr. Wilsons claim that the territory was “never repurchased” is FALSE, it was repurchased FOR MORE THAN 6 TIMES THE ORIGINAL AGREED UPON AMOUNT, so that the Wilsons could then operate unencumbered. But, and before the ink could dry, Mr. Wilson filed his lawsuit anyway.
“6-The Wilsons HAPPILY operated as a Best Blinds for over 5 months prior to filing their lawsuit.
“7-Mr. Wlson had numerous conversations with the territory owners during contract negotiations with Best Blinds, and after they became franchisees, right up until they filed their lawsuit.
“8-The Wilsons were party to another business distributorship involvement with family members of theirs within months of contacting Best Blinds, which they only participated in for a few months and from which they received a rather large settlement.
“9-I filed bankruptcy because there was NO money left after buying out the original territory owner for more than 6x what the original oral agreement with them was, and paying the attorney fees from 8 months of negotating with their ever changing and unreasonable demands. We were a very new company just getting launched and just did not have the capital to withstand the lawsuit. I certainly did not enjoy filing bankruptcy, or derive any pleasure from it, or ANY part of this litigation. It cost me a business that I had worked years to build.
“10-This is not a game for me. Once the judgement was awarded in the first case, Mr. Wilson thru his attorney filed a proceeding against me personally asking me to bring to court ANY AND ALL of my personal possessions, including my wedding rings, silver, etc. It was evident that things were going to go from bad to worse, and that the Wilsons would be relentless in collection efforts, and would go as far as trying to take our personal belongings., cars and home.
“11-Prior to court, we entered into settlement discussions on numerous occassions with the Wilsons and their attorney, and it was clear that they wanted $200k+, which we did not have to give. Offers of payments over time were referred to by their attorney as a ‘pig in the poke’.
“12-I NEVER knowingly ‘double sold’ any territories. The ONE Mr. Wilson refers to is one of the older dealer training agreements where (bad) copies of maps were used and drawn onto with territory lines. The maps overlapped in a small area, and was NEVER discovered OR brought up in ANY capacity until the Wilson’s needed it to use in their lawsuit. It was merely a mistake.
“13-There are many happy people who bought into our dealer group, and then signed on to our new franchise program, who still are in the window covering business because of the Best Blinds training and support. Some of whom have been damaged because of the unneccesary dismantling of the Best Blinds Franchise program.
“14-The Wilsons changed their name, but still operate a window covering company, which is in direct competition with my retail operation.
“This IS what is wrong with our country today…LITIGOUS PEOPLE costing our courts time and our small company’s their businesses.
“The reason the Wilsons lost their adversary proceeding in Federal Bankruptcy Court is because there was NO FRAUD. I appreciate that our courts protect individuals from relentless and unreasonable creditors who would rather you live in the street if you do not pay them what they demand.”
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