National pre-contractual disclosure obligation laws



On a national level, the following countries in Europe have adopted Pre-contractual Disclosure Obligation laws.
The general purpose of these laws is to assist the potential “buyer” (i.e. franchisee) of a (franchise) business in getting full, accurate an non-misleading information from the “seller” (i.e. franchisor) some time before signature in order to be able to make an informed decision before signing the agreement.
In these civil law countries, the principle of “good faith” governs relationships at pre-contractual level too.

BELGIUM
Until 30 May 2014 : Law of 19 December 2005 on Pre-contractual Disclosure Information regarding Agreements to form a Commercial Business Relationship
Since 31 May 2014 : this Law is replaced by the following articles in the Code of Economic Law/Code de Droit Economique:
art. I.11, 2° CDE (définition of a commercial business relationship)
articles X.26 à 34 du titre 2 du livre X du Code de droit économique
The new dispositions bring a slight change to the definition of a Commercial Business Relationship as defined in the original law of 19 Dec. 2005.
The dispositions apply to any business system which includes one or more of the following elements:
A common brand;
A common commercial name
Transfer of know-how
Commercial or technical assistance.
The dispositions are:

• Not specific to franchising but applies to franchise agreements (b-to-b relationship between independent undertakings)
• Period of time before signing the contract: at least one month before signing
• Must be in writing
• Must provide mandatory information list + copy of draft contract
authentic languages: French, Dutch, German
Text in French: Belgium Precontractual Disclosure in French
For further information, visit  www.fbf-bff.be

FRANCE
Commercial Code art. L330-3 & R330-1 (familiarly known as the “Loi Doubin”)
Authentic language: French Code du Commerce Article L330-3 :  http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000005634379&idArticle=LEGIARTI000006231936&dateTexte=&categorieLien=cid
Code de commerce - Article R330-1
http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000005634379&idArticle=LEGIARTI000006266469&dateTexte=&categorieLien=cid
Text in English [provided by courtesy of the FFF:http://eff.demoroom.be/Data/France%20Article%20L330%20precontractual%20disclosure-english.pdf

• Not specific to franchising but applies to franchise agreements (b-to-b relationship between independent undertakings)
• Period of time before signing the contract: at least 20 days before signing the agreement or pre-payment for some form of “reservation right”
• In writing
• To be made at each renewal of contract and/or in case of a significant development in the course of a contract
• Mandatory information list + copy of draft contract

Note: Commercial Code art. A.441-1 stipulates that the franchisee must inform the consumer of his status of independent entrepreneur. This info must appear clearly on all types of documents (including publicity) in and outside of the business.
For further information, visit  www.franchise-fff.com

ITALY

Rules on Commercial Franchising, the Franchising ACT N° 129 of 6 May 2004
• Contains provisions regarding the contract as well as pre-contractual disclosure obligations
• Specific to franchising
• Pre-contractual information must be provided at least 30 days before signing the agreement
• In writing
• Mandatory information list + copy of draft contract

Regulation on Commercial Franchising, the Franchising REGULATION, Ministerial Decree N° 204 of 2 September 2005
• Applies exclusively to foreign franchises seeking to operate in Italy
• Specific to franchising
• Pre-contractual information must be provided at least 30 days before signing the agreement
• In writing
• Mandatory information list + copy of draft contract
Authentic language: Italian
Text in English: http://www.assofranchising.it/en/franchising/law-on-franchising.html
For further information, visit  www.assofranchising.it


SPAIN
Reforma de la ley 7/1996, de 15-1-1996 (RCL 1996/148, 554), de Ordenación del Comercio Minorista
Authentic language: Spanish: http://igc.xunta.es/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/IGC/004_INFORMACIONAOCONSUMIDOR_MENU/001_NORMATIVA_MENU/NORMATIVA%20ESTATAL/LEY%2047-2002%20COMERCIOMINORISTA_0.PDF
This Retail Commerce Act (particularly Art. 62) regulates the offer and sale of franchises. This act was amended by the
Legislación Franquicias (Real Decreto 201/2010 de 26 de febrero (RCL 2010\725) que regula el ejercicio de la actividad en régimen de franquicia y la comunicación de datos al registro de franquiciadores)
• Pre-contractual information must be provided at least 20 working days before signing the agreement or any pre-payment
Authentic language: Spanish http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2010/03/13/pdfs/BOE-A-2010-4175.pdf


Franchisor’s REGISTRY: legal obligations
• All franchises operating in Spain, domestic and foreign, must be registered (at the Central Registry – Ministry of Economy & Competitiveness – and/or at Regional Registries) and provide information about the business. Registration must be done within the first 3 months of setting up business in Spain. An Update of mandatory information is required every January. As a result of this legal obligation, franchisors do not have the obligation vis-à-vis a franchisee to update the pre-contractual information since the latter may consult the Registry.
Authentic language: Spanish http://www.comercio.gob.es/es-es/comercio-interior/registros/franquiciadores/informacion-para-franquiciadores/paginas/procedimiento-de-comunicacion-de-datos-.aspx
Franchisor’s REGISTRY: consultation  http://franquicias.comercio.es/
For further information, visit  http://www.franquiciadores.com/registro.php
Spain-Real Decreto 419-2006 of 7 April 2006 which modifies RD 2485-1998 Franchising and its Registration.pdf
SPAIN-Royal Decree 201-2010 of 26 February 2010 on Franchise Regulation and Registration-sp.doc.pdf

 

SWEDENAuthentic language: Swedish:http://www.riksdagen.se/sv/Dokument-Lagar/Lagar/Svenskforfattningssamling/Lag-2006484-om-franchisegiv_sfs-2006-484/?bet=2006:484
SF’s Ethics Committee:  Sweden Ethics Committee
For further information, visit: http://www.svenskfranchise.se/

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