Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Green Acres chasing rogue franchisees for damages

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Green Acres says it will "vigorously" chase two former franchisees for costs and damages after it stopped the pair from running a rival lawn mowing service.

Two former Green Acres franchisees, Garth and Gwyneth Ruebe, cannot mow lawns in competition with the home services company after it obtained an injunction against them.

While the matter was sorted out at confidential arbitration, the injunction award was entered as a High Court judgement.

The court order allowed the company to apply for damages for costs and chief executive Logan Sears yesterday said that these would be pursued "vigorously" as part of the arbitration process.

Sears said damages the company would be seeking had not yet been worked out but that Green Acres' legal costs alone were more than $70,000.

The company said on Friday that the Reubes had operated a South Auckland Green Acres sub-franchise for a decade until the start of this year and chose not to renew their agreement.

Green Acres chief executive Logan Sears says two breakaway former franchise holders will be pursued 'vigorously' for costs and damages.
Green Acres chief executive Logan Sears says two breakaway former franchise holders will be pursued 'vigorously' for costs and damages.

"Instead they removed Green Acres livery from their vehicle, changed their telephone numbers, handed back the Green Acres operations manual and set up their own business.

They contacted the customers they had acquired while they were Green Acres sub-franchisees and offered to continue servicing them."

Read also:
Green Acres bars former franchisees from servicing clients

The Ruebes lawyer, Lawrence Ponniah, on Friday said his clients were average lawn-mowing contractors and weren't wealthy.

Green Acres were out to "make an example" of them, he said.

Green Acres was founded in 1991 and has over 600 franchisees throughout New Zealand providing home and garden care as well as commercial cleaning.

- NZ Herald

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