15 U.S. Code § 2802 - Franchise relationship

(a) General prohibition against termination or nonrenewal
Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section and section 2803 of this title, no franchisor engaged in the sale, consignment, or distribution of motor fuel in commerce may—
(1) terminate any franchise (entered into or renewed on or after June 19, 1978) prior to the conclusion of the term, or the expiration date, stated in the franchise; or
(2) fail to renew any franchise relationship (without regard to the date on which the relevant franchise was entered into or renewed).
(b) Precondition and grounds for termination or nonrenewal
(1) Any franchisor may terminate any franchise (entered into or renewed on or after June 19, 1978) or may fail to renew any franchise relationship, if—
(A) the notification requirements of section 2804 of this title are met; and
(B) such termination is based upon a ground described in paragraph (2) or such nonrenewal is based upon a ground described in paragraph (2) or (3).
(2) For purposes of this subsection, the following are grounds for termination of a franchise or nonrenewal of a franchise relationship:
(A) A failure by the franchisee to comply with any provision of the franchise, which provision is both reasonable and of material significance to the franchise relationship, if the franchisor first acquired actual or constructive knowledge of such failure—
(i) not more than 120 days prior to the date on which notification of termination or nonrenewal is given, if notification is given pursuant to section 2804 (a) of this title; or
(ii) not more than 60 days prior to the date on which notification of termination or nonrenewal is given, if less than 90 days notification is given pursuant to section 2804 (b)(1) of this title.
(B) A failure by the franchisee to exert good faith efforts to carry out the provisions of the franchise, if—
(i) the franchisee was apprised by the franchisor in writing of such failure and was afforded a reasonable opportunity to exert good faith efforts to carry out such provisions; and
(ii) such failure thereafter continued within the period which began not more than 180 days before the date notification of termination or nonrenewal was given pursuant to section 2804 of this title.
(C) The occurrence of an event which is relevant to the franchise relationship and as a result of which termination of the franchise or nonrenewal of the franchise relationship is reasonable, if such event occurs during the period the franchise is in effect and the franchisor first acquired actual or constructive knowledge of such occurrence—
(i) not more than 120 days prior to the date on which notification of termination or nonrenewal is given, if notification is given pursuant to section 2804 (a) of this title; or
(ii) not more than 60 days prior to the date on which notification of termination or nonrenewal is given, if less than 90 days notification is given pursuant to section 2804 (b)(1) of this title.
(D) An agreement, in writing, between the franchisor and the franchisee to terminate the franchise or not to renew the franchise relationship, if—
(i) such agreement is entered into not more than 180 days prior to the date of such termination or, in the case of nonrenewal, not more than 180 days prior to the conclusion of the term, or the expiration date, stated in the franchise;
(ii) the franchisee is promptly provided with a copy of such agreement, together with the summary statement described in section 2804 (d) of this title; and
(iii) within 7 days after the date on which the franchisee is provided a copy of such agreement, the franchisee has not posted by certified mail a written notice to the franchisor repudiating such agreement.
(E) In the case of any franchise entered into prior to June 19, 1978, and in the case of any franchise entered into or renewed on or after such date (the term of which is 3 years or longer, or with respect to which the franchisee was offered a term of 3 years or longer), a determination made by the franchisor in good faith and in the normal course of business to withdraw from the marketing of motor fuel through retail outlets in the relevant geographic market area in which the marketing premises are located, if—
(i) such determination—
(I) was made after the date such franchise was entered into or renewed, and
(II) was based upon the occurrence of changes in relevant facts and circumstances after such date;
(ii) the termination or nonrenewal is not for the purpose of converting the premises, which are the subject of the franchise, to operation by employees or agents of the franchisor for such franchisor’s own account; and
(iii) in the case of leased marketing premises—
(I) the franchisor, during the 180-day period after notification was given pursuant to section 2804 of this title, either made a bona fide offer to sell, transfer, or assign to the franchisee such franchisor’s interests in such premises, or, if applicable, offered the franchisee a right of first refusal of at least 45 days duration of an offer, made by another, to purchase such franchisor’s interest in such premises; or
(II) in the case of the sale, transfer, or assignment to another person of the franchisor’s interest in such premises in connection with the sale, transfer, or assignment to such other person of the franchisor’s interest in one or more other marketing premises, if such other person offers, in good faith, a franchise to the franchisee on terms and conditions which are not discriminatory to the franchisee as compared to franchises then currently being offered by such other person or franchises then in effect and with respect to which such other person is the franchisor.
(3) For purposes of this subsection, the following are grounds for nonrenewal of a franchise relationship:
(A) The failure of the franchisor and the franchisee to agree to changes or additions to the provisions of the franchise, if—
(i) such changes or additions are the result of determinations made by the franchisor in good faith and in the normal course of business; and
(ii) such failure is not the result of the franchisor’s insistence upon such changes or additions for the purpose of converting the leased marketing premises to operation by employees or agents of the franchisor for the benefit of the franchisor or otherwise preventing the renewal of the franchise relationship.
(B) The receipt of numerous bona fide customer complaints by the franchisor concerning the franchisee’s operation of the marketing premises, if—
(i) the franchisee was promptly apprised of the existence and nature of such complaints following receipt of such complaints by the franchisor; and
(ii) if such complaints related to the condition of such premises or to the conduct of any employee of such franchisee, the franchisee did not promptly take action to cure or correct the basis of such complaints.
(C) A failure by the franchisee to operate the marketing premises in a clean, safe, and healthful manner, if the franchisee failed to do so on two or more previous occasions and the franchisor notified the franchisee of such failures.
(D) In the case of any franchise entered into prior to June 19, 1978, (the unexpired term of which, on such date, is 3 years or longer) and, in the case of any franchise entered into or renewed on or after such date (the term of which was 3 years or longer, or with respect to which the franchisee was offered a term of 3 years or longer), a determination made by the franchisor in good faith and in the normal course of business, if—
(i) such determination is—
(I) to convert the leased marketing premises to a use other than the sale or distribution of motor fuel,
(II) to materially alter, add to, or replace such premises,
(III) to sell such premises, or
(IV) that renewal of the franchise relationship is likely to be uneconomical to the franchisor despite any reasonable changes or reasonable additions to the provisions of the franchise which may be acceptable to the franchisee;
(ii) with respect to a determination referred to in subclause (II) or (IV), such determination is not made for the purpose of converting the leased marketing premises to operation by employees or agents of the franchisor for such franchisor’s own account; and
(iii) in the case of leased marketing premises such franchisor, during the 90-day period after notification was given pursuant to section 2804 of this title, either—
(I) made a bona fide offer to sell, transfer, or assign to the franchisee such franchisor’s interests in such premises; or
(II) if applicable, offered the franchisee a right of first refusal of at least 45-days duration of an offer, made by another, to purchase such franchisor’s interest in such premises.
(c) Definition
As used in subsection (b)(2)(C) of this section, the term “an event which is relevant to the franchise relationship and as a result of which termination of the franchise or nonrenewal of the franchise relationship is reasonable” includes events such as—
(1) fraud or criminal misconduct by the franchisee relevant to the operation of the marketing premises;
(2) declaration of bankruptcy or judicial determination of insolvency of the franchisee;
(3) continuing severe physical or mental disability of the franchisee of at least 3 months duration which renders the franchisee unable to provide for the continued proper operation of the marketing premises;
(4) loss of the franchisor’s right to grant possession of the leased marketing premises through expiration of an underlying lease, if—
(A) the franchisee was notified in writing, prior to the commencement of the term of the then existing franchise—
(i) of the duration of the underlying lease; and
(ii) of the fact that such underlying lease might expire and not be renewed during the term of such franchise (in the case of termination) or at the end of such term (in the case of nonrenewal);
(B) during the 90-day period after notification was given pursuant to section 2804 of this title, the franchisor offers to assign to the franchisee any option to extend the underlying lease or option to purchase the marketing premises that is held by the franchisor, except that the franchisor may condition the assignment upon receipt by the franchisor of—
(i) an unconditional release executed by both the landowner and the franchisee releasing the franchisor from any and all liability accruing after the date of the assignment for—
(I) financial obligations under the option (or the resulting extended lease or purchase agreement);
(II) environmental contamination to (or originating from) the marketing premises; or
(III) the operation or condition of the marketing premises; and
(ii) an instrument executed by both the landowner and the franchisee that ensures the franchisor and the contractors of the franchisor reasonable access to the marketing premises for the purpose of testing for and remediating any environmental contamination that may be present at the premises; and
(C) in a situation in which the franchisee acquires possession of the leased marketing premises effective immediately after the loss of the right of the franchisor to grant possession (through an assignment pursuant to subparagraph (B) or by obtaining a new lease or purchasing the marketing premises from the landowner), the franchisor (if requested in writing by the franchisee not later than 30 days after notification was given pursuant to section 2804 of this title), during the 90-day period after notification was given pursuant to section 2804 of this title—
(i) made a bona fide offer to sell, transfer, or assign to the franchisee the interest of the franchisor in any improvements or equipment located on the premises; or
(ii) if applicable, offered the franchisee a right of first refusal (for at least 45 days) of an offer, made by another person, to purchase the interest of the franchisor in the improvements and equipment.
(5) condemnation or other taking, in whole or in part, of the marketing premises pursuant to the power of eminent domain;
(6) loss of the franchisor’s right to grant the right to use the trademark which is the subject of the franchise, unless such loss was due to trademark abuse, violation of Federal or State law, or other fault or negligence of the franchisor, which such abuse, violation, or other fault or negligence is related to action taken in bad faith by the franchisor;
(7) destruction (other than by the franchisor) of all or a substantial part of the marketing premises;
(8) failure by the franchisee to pay to the franchisor in a timely manner when due all sums to which the franchisor is legally entitled;
(9) failure by the franchisee to operate the marketing premises for—
(A) 7 consecutive days, or
(B) such lesser period which under the facts and circumstances constitutes an unreasonable period of time;
(10) willful adulteration, mislabeling or misbranding of motor fuels or other trademark violations by the franchisee;
(11) knowing failure of the franchisee to comply with Federal, State, or local laws or regulations relevant to the operation of the marketing premises; and
(12) conviction of the franchisee of any felony involving moral turpitude.
(d) Compensation, etc., for franchisee upon condemnation or destruction of marketing premises
In the case of any termination of a franchise (entered into or renewed on or after June 19, 1978), or in the case of any nonrenewal of a franchise relationship (without regard to the date on which such franchise relationship was entered into or renewed)—
(1) if such termination or nonrenewal is based upon an event described in subsection (c)(5) of this section, the franchisor shall fairly apportion between the franchisor and the franchisee compensation, if any, received by the franchisor based upon any loss of business opportunity or good will; and
(2) if such termination or nonrenewal is based upon an event described in subsection (c)(7) of this section and the leased marketing premises are subsequently rebuilt or replaced by the franchisor and operated under a franchise, the franchisor shall, within a reasonable period of time, grant to the franchisee a right of first refusal of the franchise under which such premises are to be operated.

Source

(Pub. L. 95–297, title I, § 102,June 19, 1978, 92 Stat. 324; Pub. L. 103–371, §§ 2, 3,Oct. 19, 1994, 108 Stat. 3484.)
Amendments

1994—Subsec. (b)(3)(A)(ii). Pub. L. 103–371, § 2, inserted “converting the leased marketing premises to operation by employees or agents of the franchisor for the benefit of the franchisor or otherwise” after “purpose of”.
Subsec. (c)(4). Pub. L. 103–371, § 3, redesignated portion of introductory language of par. (4) as subpar. (A), redesignated former subpars. (A) and (B) as cls. (i) and (ii), respectively, of subpar. (A), and added subpars. (B) and (C).

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16 CFR - Commercial Practices

16 CFR Part 306 - AUTOMOTIVE FUEL RATINGS, CERTIFICATION AND POSTING

 

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