Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 21. Securities And Retail Franchising
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission, Division Of Securities And Retail Franchising
Chapter 110. Retail Franchising Act Rules
11/27/2021

21VAC5-110-10. Definitions.

"Action" includes complaints, cross claims, counterclaims, and third-party complaints in a judicial action or proceeding, and their equivalents in an administrative action or arbitration.

"Affiliate" means an entity controlled by, controlling, or under common control with, another entity.

"Commission" means Virginia State Corporation Commission.

"Confidentiality clause" means any contract, order, or settlement provision that directly or indirectly restricts a current or former franchisee from discussing his personal experience as a franchisee in the franchisor's system with any prospective franchisee. It does not include clauses that protect franchisor's trademarks or other proprietary information.

"Disclose," "state," "describe," and "list" each mean to present all material facts accurately, clearly, concisely, and legibly in plain English.

"Effective date" means the date on which the franchise becomes registered under the provisions of § 13.1-561 of the Code of Virginia.

"Effective registration" means authorization to offer and sell one or more franchises provided that the initial contracts or agreements are substantially identical in their terms or provisions. Whenever the franchisor offers or sells more than one franchise and the resulting contracts or agreements vary substantially in their terms or provisions, separate franchises will be deemed to have been offered or sold and separate registration will be required. For the purpose of this rule, substantial variation in the contract will relate without limitation to different products, services, fees charged, dues imposed, obligations incurred or investments required to be made by contract or agreement.

"FDD" means Franchise Disclosure Document.

"Financial performance representation" means any representation, including any oral, written, or visual representation, to a prospective franchisee, including a representation in the general media, that states, expressly or by implication, a specific level or range of actual or potential sales, income, gross profits, or net profits. The term includes a chart, table, or mathematical calculation that shows possible results based on a combination of variables.

"Fiscal year" refers to the franchisor's fiscal year.

"Franchise seller" means a person that offers to sell, sells, or arranges for the sale of a franchise. It includes the franchisor and the franchisor's employees, representatives, agents, subfranchisors, and third-party brokers who are involved in franchise sales activities. It does not include existing franchisees who sell only their own outlet and who are otherwise not engaged in franchise sales on behalf of the franchisor.

"Material change" includes a fact, circumstance, or condition which would have a substantial likelihood of influencing a reasonable prospective franchisee in the making of a decision relating to the purchase of a franchise.

"Parent" means an entity that controls another entity directly or indirectly through one or more subsidiaries.

"Person" means any individual, group, association, limited or general partnership, corporation, or any other entity.

"Plain English" means the organization of information and language usage understandable by a person unfamiliar with the franchise business. It incorporates short sentences, definite, concrete, everyday language, active voice, and tabular presentation of information where possible. It avoids legal jargon, highly technical business terms, and multiple negatives.

"Predecessor" means a person from whom the franchisor acquired, directly or indirectly, the major portion of the franchisor's assets.

"Principal business address" means the street address of a person's home office in the United States. A principal business address cannot be a post office box or private mail drop.

"Prospective franchisee" means any person (including any agent, representative, or employee) who approaches or is approached by a franchise seller to discuss the possible establishment of a franchise relationship.

"Signature" means a person's affirmative step to authenticate his identity. It includes a person's handwritten signature, as well as a person's use of security codes, passwords, electronic signatures, and similar devices to authenticate his identity.

"Trademark" includes trademarks, service marks, names, logos, and other commercial symbols.

"Virginia Retail Franchising Act" means § 13.1-557 et seq. of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 13.1-572 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Case No. SEC950020 § 1, eff. July 1, 1995; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 21, eff. July 1, 2008; Volume 25, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 2009.

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