A group of South Asian 7-Eleven franchisees has filed suit claiming the store is harassing and intimidating them in an effort to coerce them into giving their profitable stores back, reports Mint Press.
“[A] foreign corporation has been allowed to transform the American dream into an American nightmare for countless individuals and families,” the Franchise Owners Association of Greater Los Angeles and its co-plaintiffs allege.
Members say the retailer is taking advantage of their “cultural vulnerabilities” including deference to authority and fear of being shamed.
“We’re trained to serve a master and take the road of least resistance,” said Jas Dhillon, citing India’s history as a British colony.
The suit alleges 7-Eleven of harassing and intimidating franchisees “as part of a larger corporate effort to terminate their successful franchise stores and take the stores back at no cost. 7-Eleven then ‘churns’ or re-sells the stores, realizing a windfall profit [from] new franchisees.”
7-Eleven which is now managed by Japan’s Seven & I Holdings Co denied the allegations to the Los Angeles Times.
“Good, hardworking, independent franchisees are the backbone of the 7-Eleven brand.” the company said. “As to those few franchisees who violate the law or the franchise agreement, we are determined to protect our guests, employees and other franchisees by ending the relationship.”
You can read about why so many South Asians came to become franchisees for 7-Eleven in the Mint Press.