Via Unhappy Franchisee we are getting word that 7-Eleven is increasingly seizing stores from franchisees, giving them no compensation, hearings or chance to appeal. The site highlights the story of 7-Eleven franchisee Dev Patel whose parents have operated a franchise for nearly 20 years. Their 7-Eleven franchise was recently seized from them because the Texas-based 7-Eleven corporation claims they had engaged in “excess couponing.” Patel says he and his family were not given ample time to consult with a qualified franchise attorney to protect their assets.
7-Eleven called my parents on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 to ask them to come down to the office to meet about financials. When my folks got there they were put into what amounted to an interrogation room by 7-Eleven loss prevention managers and told their store that they have owned for 19 years would be taken from them because they had engaged in “excess couponing.”
The loss prevention managers did not permit my parents time to consult with a qualified franchise attorney to protect their rights and, instead, told they had two options:
1) Turn the store over without compensation for their years of good will and pay $100k in damages; or
2) Face 7-Eleven filing a federal court suit seeking $250k in damages and still taking the store.
When we asked why this happened, they only ACCUSED my parents, didn’t PROVE, that we were committing coupon fraud. They showed a page of transactions that did not seem to prove anything and a short video clip (one time) to substantiate their claims. When we asked to see the video again because we could not determine that any wrongdoing had occurred, they would not show it to us for a second time.
My parents asked to have 24 hours to think about the situation, 7-Eleven REFUSED. When I asked to fax or email a copy of 7-Eleven’s complaint to a friend of mine who had recently graduated law school, the loss managers again refused. Then the loss prevention managers told my parents that if they left the building without signing over the store 7-11 would immediately file suit. I got my friend to come down because I couldn’t contact a franchise attorney. My friend said this was above his head and asked for more time. 7-Eleven refused. My mother became emotional, broke down and cried. In order to stop her pain, my father was COERCED into signing over a business that was worth at least $450,000. 7-Eleven used Gestapo tactics to force the store out of my parents’ hands.