No formula change, but further development by the franchisor

The District Court of Maastricht ruled on 6 October 2022, ECLI:NL:RBLIM:2022:7655, on whether the franchisor can close a franchisee’s website if the franchisee does not accept a change in the policy. The franchisor also indicates that it will suspend the continued payment of monies collected by customers of the franchisee.

The preliminary relief judge ruled that the franchisor did not act contrary to the franchise agreement by prescribing that from now on only one permanent lead generator may be used. The claim to put the website on which the leads come in online again, so that the lead generation can be continued by another lead generator, is therefore rejected.

In addition, the franchisee claimed an injunction against suspension of the continued payment of monies collected by the franchisee’s customers. The franchisee engaged in marketing activities on the Internet without the necessary consent of the franchisor, had changed control of the franchise business and violated the franchisor’s contractual pre-emption right. The franchisee then argued that the unwanted marketing activities should be discontinued and that the contractual pre-emption right should still be fulfilled. The franchisor had announced that if the franchisee had not complied with the summons, it would not pass on the monies of the franchisee’s customers to the franchisee. The preliminary relief judge rejected the franchisor’s prohibition on suspension. After all, there was no question of any actual suspension (yet).

The preliminary relief judge did not rule that there had been a formula change, but was apparently of the opinion that there was a further development to which the franchisee had to conform. It is conceivable that if the franchisee does not comply with this, suspension of the franchisee’s assets could be permitted.

mr. Th.R. Ludwig
Ludwig & Van Dam lawyers, franchise legal advice.
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