Former Petland Inc. franchisees are suing the Chillicothe chain for fraud, alleging the stores are doomed from the start – and the company knows it….Melick estimates the average investment per franchisee totals up to $250,000, and the firms have been in contact with more than 40 franchisees.
The lead plaintiffs claim Petland fraudulently induced them to start a pet store when it knew, or should have known, the shops couldn’t succeed. A major allegation from franchisees, Melick said, is that pets supplied to the stores through Petland’s vendors were sick or dying.
Melick compared the franchisees’ problem to a restaurateur opening a new business and sending dozens of people to the hospital for food poisoning in its first weekend.
“For a large group of these franchisees, sick puppies is a problem when they open,” he said. “You just can never recover.”