MAACO Franchising Inc.’s Legal Department has contributed the latest Cease & Desist Letter / Takedown Demand to our Franchise Bullying Wall of Shame.
In the MAACO Cease & Desist letter dated September 7, 2016, Corporate Counsel Thomas Higham stated that it has recently “come to the attention” of the legal team that we posted a satirical graphic to our MAACO Franchise Complaints page with the words “Uh Oh! Better Sue MAACO!”
Mr. Higham is concerned that our sarcastic graphic creates a likelihood of confusion with the company’s trademarked line “UH OH BETTER GET MAACO.”
To our layman’s understanding, “likelihood of confusion” means that the similarity of the graphic to their logo might lead people to believe that it is MAACO, not Unhappy Franchisee, that is stating “Better Sue MAACO” and inviting franchisees to publicly share their complaints.
Since the graphic was posted more than 4 years ago, we wonder: How many confused people have contacted MAACO to ask why the company is inviting the public and its franchisees to post complaints on a site named “Unhappy Franchisee”?
Clarification: MAACO Is Not Encouraging People to Sue Them
Just in case you’ve been inhaling automotive paint fumes, suffered a traumatic brain injury, or had prolonged exposure to interviews with Donald Trump surrogates on cable news, we want to make it clear that MAACO Franchising, Inc. is not inviting readers of Unhappy Franchisee to publicly share negative experiences nor did they publish “Uh Oh! Better Sue MAACO!” in an attempt to encourage lawsuits against their own company.
Such an action would be bizarre, even unimagineable, would it not?
As we would rather have MAACO invest its time and energy into supporting its franchisees, we have respectfully replaced the tongue-in-cheek graphic with representative screenshots of MAACO Yelp reviews stating “Yelpers have reported this location has closed.”
[Updated Graphic, Left]
MAACO Franchise SBA Failure Rate Disputed
Mr. Higham also threatened to release the Howling Legal Hounds of Hell upon our humble franchise discussion site for posting the SBA Loan Failure Rate reported in the 2012 Coleman Report.
MAACO’s Higham writes: “Moreover, the Site indicates that ‘The Maaco franchise has an alarmingly high SBA loan default rate of 29%.’ This statement is demonstrably false, and causes significant and irreparable harm to the MAACO brand and MAACO franchise sales. MAACO demands that you remove this false and defamatory statement immediately.”
The post was published July 11, 2012, and cited the 2012 Coleman Report which stated that the “2001 – 2011 Failure Rate percentage” for MAACO was 29%.
As the 4-year-old post needed an update anyway, we’ve complied with Mr. Higham’s request and updated it.
We replaced references to the MAACO SBA loan default rate with excerpts from some of the 40+ MAACO Franchise Complaints comments posted to the page since it first appeared.
MAACO Franchisee Turnover Rate: 23%
We took a quick look at the Item 20 of the MAACO Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).
MAACO reports that there were a total of 587 active franchise agreements from 2013 – 2015.
136 (23%) resulted in termination (22), non-renewal (9), Transfers to new owners (70) or ceased operations for other reasons (35).
MAACO reports that there were no franchises reacquired by the franchisor during that period.
Corrections, Rebuttals, Criticism Invited
We invite MAACO Franchising, Inc. and Driven Brands executives, employees, and franchisees to share their rebuttals, corrections, clarifications or points-of view with a comment below. Or email us your thoughts, opinions or statements for publication.
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