Beginning Jan. 1, 1996, franchisors who choose to use the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC) to provide pre-purchase information to franchise buyers as required by the Federal Trade Commission's Franchise Rule, must follow amended UFOC guidelines adopted by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) in April 1993. Use of either the earlier or the amended guidelines has been permitted by the FTC since December 1993. But in today's Federal Register, the FTC announced that, as of Jan. 1, it will revoke authorization to use UFOCs prepared in compliance with earlier guidelines.
The FTC's Franchise Rule is designed to provide potential purchasers with the important information they need to make fully informed decisions about investing in a franchise or business opportunity. When the rule was issued, the FTC authorized franchisors to substitute the UFOC -- an alternative disclosure format required by 15 states -- for the basic disclosure document required by the rule. The Commission permitted use of the UFOC so that franchisors could use a single document to comply with both federal and state disclosure requirements.
In April 1993, NASAA amended the UFOC guidelines, and the FTC approved use of the amended guidelines in December 1993. At that time, the FTC said it would allow franchisors who choose to use the UFOC to follow either the existing or the 1993 guidelines until six months after the amended guidelines were adopted by all states that require franchise registration. New York was the final state to adopt the amended guidelines when it did so on July 28, 1995. Accordingly, the revocation date for Commission acceptance of disclosure documents prepared under the earlier guidelines would have been Jan. 29, 1996. The Commission has instead adopted a Jan. 1, 1996 date, however, because many franchisors use a calendar fiscal year and a later revocation date would allow them to delay converting to the amended UFOC until January 1997.
The Commission vote to announce the revised revocation date for the 1986 UFOC guidelines was 5-0.
Copies of the Federal Register notice are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580: 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it happens, call the FTC's NewsPhone at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other documents also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC Matter No. R511003)