URGENT MESSAGE TO : SECRETARY, FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, ROOM 159, SIXTH STREET & PENNSYLVANIA AVE.,NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20580
FROM : RAYMOND & ROBERT BUCKLEY - 176 MYRTLE AVE. MILLBURN, NJ 07041 - MEMBER, AMERICAN FRANCHISE ASSOCIATION
REGARDING : "16 CFR PART 436"
We are in desprite need of your help. In February 1994 we purchased a franchise businesss from BV Paragon 4150 Belden Village St. NW Suite 303, Canton, Ohio 44718.(Phone # 330-966-1877) The owner, Steven Vandergrift, sells franchise businesses under the name of Scorecard Plus.
Throughout our intial visits with Vandergrift and his representatives we were convinced by BV Paragon that they had created a unique system. More importantly he represented his company as highly trained in all phases of the business and capable of supporting a franchise system.
To make a long story short, Buckley Golf and 22 other franchisees who invested in the Scorecard Plus program have lost almost everything. All current and former owners are deeply in debt, some have lost their homes and the burden on our personal lifes has been unbearable.
In fact of the 23 franchise's sold by Paragon not one has ever made money !
Since 1994 Steve Vandergrift has operated his Franchise system thru intimidation and threats.
#1 - We have been kept from contacting in any way some current and former franchise owners due to "gag orders" forced upon these owners by Vandergrift. These gag orders have been used to keep current and prospective franchisees in the dark regarding the failure of the franchise system and the "deals" Vandergrift makes with certain owners to keep them quite.
#2 - Since 1994 we have been forced to give up all our legal rights and claims against BV Paragon each time we requested to use alternative suppliers or discovered a more efficient and cost effective means of producing our product. Each time we were threatened that if we did not sign the document we would not receive the required material necessary in the operation of our company.
# 3 - Since we signed our franchise agreement in 1994 we have discovered that as franchisees we have little or no rights. Everything in a Franchise agreement is geared to protect only the Franchisor. This includes such clauses as "all disputes must be resolved via litigation", and worse yet, "in the home state of the Franchisor".
CAN SOME ONE AT THE FTC PLEASE EXPLAIN TO US HOW OUR GOVERMENT HAS ALLOWED THIS TO GO ON SO LONG. HAS THE POWER OF THE FRANCHISOR LOBBY BECOME SO STRONG THAT IT'S NOT CONCERNED WITH OUR BASIC CONSTITUTION RIGHTS. EVERYTHING CONTAINED IN OUR FRANCHISE AGREEMENT GOES AGAINST WHAT'S RIGHT AND DECENT AND AFFORD'S US NO PROTECTION.
STEVE VANDERGRIFT HAS RUINED PEOPLE'S LIVES AND SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO HIDE BEHIND AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL FRANCHISE AGREEMENT. INSTEAD THE ARBITRATION CLAUSE SHOULD BE ILLEGAL AND HIS FATE DECIDED BY A JURY OF HIS PEERS. ISN'T THIS THE SAME RIGHT WE AFFORD MURDERERS AND RAPIST !
#4 - Steve Vandergrift did not properly disclose all aspects of the Scorecard Plus system prior to us purchasing the business. Vandergrift and his staff knowingly and willingly lied about the following issues in order to convince people to invest ;
a.) Misrepresented the amount of money needed to start and properly run the business.
b.) Misrepresented the amount of money you could make and profit from the business. This includes earnings and profit statements made in writing which were fraudulant and made without any basis in fact.
c.) Vandergrift misrepresented his system by lying about his own product, passing it off as highly profitable when in fact he was losing money.
#5 - CURRENT FRANCHISE OWNERS NEED THE IMMEDIATE PROTECTION OF THE FTC!!!!!!!!!!!
Four years and millions of dollars later, Steve Vandergrift has been unable to prove his system is viable. In fact it has been proven to be a fraud yet he answers to no one because of the unconstitutional nature of his franchise agreement. Individuals and families who invested their life savings in Scorecard Plus because of their trust in Vandergrift have lost everything. These people worked hard and helped Vandergrift grow his business. Now Vandergrift is using threats and the power of his franchise agreement to force everyone out for his own personal gain.
Buckley Golf has proven it can be profitable without the interference and poor management of BV Paragon and the Scorecard Plus system. Unfortunately, our government seems unwilling to protect our rights so we can pursue a living for our families.
Steve Vandergrift has specifically ;
a.) Restricted our ability to use local suppliers. We have discovered ways to produce our product at a 50% cost savings while exceeding the standards set by his company. We are being forced to us his system and services even after four years of failure and financial devastation.
b.) Restricted by "not to compete" covenents which, if left unchanged, will force us out of business leaving us financially ruined and unable to earn a living for our families.
c.) Vanderfrift has devalued our business through constant encroachment. Buckley Golf has created a product image far beyond the "standards" of BV Paragon and the Scorecard Plus system. In fact Vandergrift's system does not meet the minimum standards of Buckley Golf and it's clients. Yet we are forced, through intimidation, to use the Franchisors system and services which prevents us from growing and meeting the needs of our customers.
FTC PLEASE LOOK AT THE FACTS !!!!!!!
A FRANCHISE IS CREATED FOR ONE REASON AND ONE REASON
ONLY ; THE FRANCHISOR DOES NOT HAVE THE FINANCIAL MEANS TO DO IT ON HIS OWN. HE INSTEAD USES THE INVESTMENT OF OTHERS TO GET HIM TO WHERE HE WANTS TO GO. THIS SCENARIO DEMANDS THE TRUST AND COMMON DECENCY OF BOTH PARTIES TO AVOID ILLEGAL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL BEHAVIOR WHICH MUST BE REGULATED BY A THIRD PARTY. THAT THIRD PARTY MUST BE THE FTC !!
ANY ACTION TAKEN BY THE FTC MUST BE TO PROTECT ALL FRANCHISEES. THIS MEANS CURRENT AS WELL AS PROSPECTIVE OWNERS.
PLEASE DO NOT LET BV PARAGON AND STEVE VANDERGRIFT GET AWAY WITH WHAT THEY HAVE DONE. BETTER YET WE ASK YOU TO GIVE US THE SAME RIGHTS AS ANY OTHER BUSINESS AND LET A JURY DECIDE !!!!!!!!!
YOU HAVE OUR DEEPEST GRATITUDE FOR YOUR TIME AND EFFORT IN CHANGING THESE UNFAIR FRANCHISOR PRATICES.
WE WELCOME YOUR RESPONSE AND LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING THE PROGRESS MADE OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS.
BOB & RAY BUCKLEY - BUCKLEY GOLF, INC.