A mother trespassed from her Hell Pizza franchise says her family lost more than $300,000 in the venture.

Natasha Thorn and her husband Benji were forced from their store in the upmarket Wellington suburb of Khandallah after three breaches of their franchise contract.

They walked away with nothing when the store was sold last April and are fighting to save Natasha's parents' house, which was security. Another former franchisee has spoken of the directors taking a "ruthless" approach and a third said they were too scared to speak out.

Original directors Warren Powell, Callum Davies and Stu McMullin bought the master franchise back from Tasman Pacific Foods Group in 2009.

In a statement on the Hell website, they say: "In May 09 we started the resurrection of HELL. We opened 2 new stores, took out the trash ..."

Davies said they had little option but to issue a termination notice to the Thorns. The store received more complaints than any other and failed to meet hygiene standards.

"They were letting the side down. We said 'you come to us with an exit strategy'. I guess they thought they could let it ride."

Davies said the business was in bad shape when Hell bought it back. Turning things around included tough decisions.

Tom Lowe, who owned Hell outlets in Symonds St and Papakura in Auckland, said he lost about $50,000 when forced to repay 20 per cent of the value of one under the franchise agreement.

"[Hell] had all the power ... They were pretty ruthless."

But James Tucker, who formerly owned seven franchises, said the Hell directors were trying to protect the brand. "If you haven't got those controls, a few bad apples can really harm the rest of the group."