Think a Franchisor took your money improperly?

Juan Medina/REUTERS

Why not contract with someone to shame them into giving your money back?

The Globe and Mail has as an interesting article called Dressed to embarass: Spanish collection agency sends out men in top hats and tails to humilate debtors into paying up.

It seems a collection agency with over 600 employees in Spain and Portugal called El Cobrador del Frac (English: The Debt Collector in Top Hat and Tails) collects about 70 per cent of the debts they buy at a discount from individuals and businesses

“We send collectors in uniform and collectors without uniform. It depends on how the debtor reacts. If we need to do it to collect a debt, we send a collector wearing top hat and tails, so his debt attracts more attention,” he said.

They first start with a telephone call, a facsimile and only resort to sending someone out when there is a refusal to settle.

The agency swears that they always stay within the limits of the law but that does not stop them from being very creative.

For example:

…seeking to reclaim a large debt for an unpaid wedding banquet, the company even resorted to phoning guests who had attended to demand they pay their share of the bill. The red-faced bride and groom soon coughed up…

My oh My…isn’t his a clever idea for a way to raise funds for a national franchisee association? Or the next big thing as a franchise concept?

  • “Buy” franchisee debt and collect from their franchisors.

Lots of possibilities here, folks:

Q: “Why does that man in the funny hat keep following us?”

A: “Don’t worry, son. He’s just been sent from a loser, m—–f—-r franchisee.”

Q: “Daddy, what’s a m—–f—-r?”

A: …

It seems using shame is a very old Spanish tradition in debt collection. They will simply follow around the president of the company for as long as it takes: as he lines up to catch a coffee at Starbucks, sits next down to him at the cafeteria, at home on the weekend, public events with the family, etc.

Now let’s be fair: Don’t forget to anyone that profits from the status quo in Big Franchising. We don’t want to limit our unfettered capitalism to just these examples:

  • franchise bankers [and their exec VPs] at their Christmas party,
  • alpha male lawyers [and their senior partners] when they show up to Court or sales appointments,
  • media outlets who sponsor franchisors’ trade shows [tip off their competitors, first, maybe?],
  • franchise associations at their golf tournaments/trade shows/annual meetings,
  • picket every Monday a.m. to key politicians at their offices [constituency and other],
  • saying hello to the lapdog regulators on behalf of franchisees who were denied investigations into their complaints,
  • sales consultants when they exhibit at vertical industry trade shows,
  • the list goes on and on.

Of course, everything would be recorded on a digital camera, live streamed and archived on a YouTube channel. To protect the innocent and the initially recalcitrant.

Perfectly legal, Highly effective :: Doable Tomorrow.

Maybe it’d at least slow down crap AU lawsuits heaped on franchisee advocates which are designed drive them into bankruptcy and silence.

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