Jump Swim in court for alleged misleading conduct
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has initiated proceedings against franchisor Jump Loops Pty Ltd and its parent company Swim Loops Holdings Pty Ltd in the Federal Court, alleging that it made false, misleading or deceptive statements about Jump Swim School franchises, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
The ACCC alleges Jump Swim made representations in its promotional material that a prospective Jump Swim School franchisee would have an operational swim school within 12 months of signing a franchise agreement when it did not have reasonable grounds for making that statement.
Many franchisees were not provided with an operational swim school within this period and in some cases, it was not provided at all.
There are over 90 Jump Swim franchisees who did not receive an operational swim school within 12 months or at all. The initial costs of setting up a Jump Swim School generally ranged from approximately $150,000 to $175,000.
“Franchisors need to take their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law seriously. Purchasing a franchise is a big decision, and people looking to open a franchise business rely on the information from the franchisor being accurate,” ACCC Chair Mick Keogh said.
“We allege this conduct caused substantial harm to franchisees who paid significant sums but did not receive an operational swim school within the time specified, or at all.”
The ACCC is also taking action against Jump Swim’s director, Mr Ian Michael Campbell, alleging he was involved in the conduct.
Additionally, the ACCC alleges that the franchisor Jump Loops Pty Ltd wrongfully accepted payment from franchisees where it failed to supply an operational franchise within the 12 month period specified, or alternatively, within a reasonable time. The ACCC alleges that Swim Loops Holdings Pty Ltd and Mr Campbell were involved in the conduct.
“Jump Swim continued to accept payments when it knew, or ought to have known at the time it accepted the payments, that the timing for its delivery of operational franchises was dependent on events that were outside its control,” Mr Keogh said.
Each Jump Swim School required development and building approvals from the council, and in many instances, it was taking longer than 12 months to provide franchisees with operational swim schools.
The ACCC is seeking injunctions, declarations, pecuniary penalties, redress for franchisees, disqualification orders, an order as to findings of fact, and costs.