Key Points:

Hell has been torture for Matt Blomfield - so he's auctioning his $830,000 Auckland store for a $1 reserve.

Mr Blomfield, a Hell Pizza franchisee, is so fed up with the New Zealand owner TPF Group's handling of the business that he's willing to take a loss selling up his five stores.

"I just want to get the business sold, pay all the bills and move on with my life."

His move to list his 130 sq m Te Atatu Peninsula store on Trade Me follows murmurs of discontentment among Hell franchisees after TPF bought the New Zealand rights from founders Warren Powell, Callum Davies and Stuart McMullin for $15 million in September 2006.

A number are selling up, while some have been seeking support for legal action to be taken against TPF over the way it fulfilled its obligations as Hell's franchisor.

John Price, partner in insolvency specialists Horton Price, has been involved in liquidating six Auckland Hell stores - five of which are Blomfield's - and knows of others in "severe financial difficulty".

He said there appeared to be "some fundamental difficulties within the group" but did not know if this was because of intense competition from rivals such as Domino's.

The Herald has also sighted emails from franchisees complaining of the lack of support from TPF, the high cost of ingredients - which they can only purchase from TPF's own supply and distribution operation - and what they say is unsatisfactory marketing.

TPF retail operations director Glenn Corbett said franchisors may sometimes not approve new franchisees because they did not have the skills to run the business, or they were seriously undercapitalised.

The mood among the 50 franchisees at its annual franchise meeting in Nelson yesterday was "upbeat", he said.

"We're doing all that we can as a franchisor, but at the end of the day, there are some tough situations going on."