Uniform Franchise Offering Circulars, known as UFOCs, was a response to some unethical behavior in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Today franchises are regulated by federal and some state laws. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that certain information be disclosed to potential franchisees before a contract can be signed or any payment made. The information is presented to the prospective franchisee in the form of a document — the UFOC.The UFOC, contains information franchisors must provide to franchisees by law. UFOCs are deemed to be reliable and if the information provided is false, franchisors are subject to civil penalties. However, the FTC does not require filings. There are 13 states that do keep UFOCs on file, and 23 states that require business opportunity disclosure filings.
The UFOC is designed to give prospective franchisees all the information relevant to a franchise offering. It is made up of three basic parts: 23 sections (called Items) describing various aspects of the franchise program; a set of the franchisor’s audited financial statements; and a copy of each form or contract a franchisee is expected to sign if he/she intends to buy the franchise.
The UFOC is similar to a securities prospectus. It can provide the information you need to evaluate a company. An accredited franchise company, whether publicly traded or privately owned, must provide this disclosure document.
The UFOC is most valuable for potential franchisees, potential franchisors, franchisors, investors, financial companies and suppliers to franchisees.
You can obtain UFOC’s directly from the franchisor usually for free, from the California state franchise document portal, and from several online sources such as FreeFranchiseDocs.com which downloads and scans the documents from the California database.
Cross Posted at: Let’s Talk Franchising
[edited by Ryan on on Oct 20, 2007 @ 10:15PM]