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Mailpost founder and NSW master franchisor fails code

The Federal Court Tuesday declared that Mailpost founder Peter Kritas and NSW master franchisor, Mailpost Postie Network Pty Ltd (MPNS), engaged in conduct that contravened the Trade Practices Act 1974.

MailpostIn December 2009, the ACCC initiated legal proceedings against national franchisor Mailpost Australia Limited (MPA), MPNS and Mr Kritas, alleging breaches of the Franchising Code of Conduct and misleading and deceptive conduct towards Mailpost franchisees. Proceedings were discontinued against MPA after it was put into liquidation in February 2010.

Mailpost is a print and distribution business for unaddressed promotional mail that was set up by Mr Kritas and operated through MPA at a national level and MPNS in New South Wales.

Following the ACCC’s action, the Federal Court declared by consent that:

  • MPNS breached section 51AD of the Act by failing to provide and obtain all necessary franchising documentation to/from prospective Mailpost franchisees, as required under the Franchising Code
  • Mr Kritas was knowingly concerned in the conduct of MPNS as well as similar conduct of MPA
  • Mr Kritas was knowingly concerned in MPA’s misleading and deceptive conduct, including representations made to Mailpost franchisees and/or prospective franchisees:
  • That the Mailpost business included “iMailPost” and “Thunderprint” as revenue streams for franchisees, when in fact such revenue streams did not exist at that time and were never subsequently introduced so that the Mailpost business was not a franchise and that Mailpost franchisees did not have any rights under the Franchising Code
  • That the Mailpost business was “recession proof” and was “probably the fastest growing franchise type operation in the whole world”, and so as to the income that prospective Mailpost franchisees would earn.

In addition, the court has ordered injunctions restraining Mr Kritas and MPNS from engaging in future breaches of the Act, and has also ordered that Mr Kritas and MPNS provide copies of the court’s orders and reasons for judgment to all Mailpost franchisees and undertake trade practices compliance training. Mr Kritas was also ordered to pay a contribution to the ACCC’s costs of the proceedings.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said this outcome is a reminder to all franchise operators of the importance of compliance with the requirements of the Franchising Code.

“The ACCC will not hesitate to take court action against franchisors and associated individuals that use misleading statements when attempting to recruit new franchisees to a franchise operation.”

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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