GEEKS ON CALL: Franchise HQ Closed?

geek squad_feat[Geeks on Call CEO Richard] Cole said he expects the company to be cash-flow positive in 2009 and that the company will turn a profit. In other words, he is optimistic.

Inside Biz, January 12 2009

In the January 12, 2009 story in Inside Biz, Geeks on Call CEO Richard Cole stated both his optimism in the turnaround of the troubled chain, and his committment to the success of his remaining franchise owners:

…despite the recent tenuous relationship with some of its franchise owners given the lawsuits, Cole maintains that franchisees are still his priority.

“Some people don’t get this about the franchise world. We are joined at the pocketbook,” he said. “If franchisees succeed, we succeed. If they fail, we fail.”

Commenters here and on Unhappy Franchisee are not so positive.  Geeks on Call news, rumors, unhappybutt100opinions and comments continue to come in regarding the downward spiral of this once-promising franchise company.  The comments below appeared recently on Franchise Pick blog posts Geeks On Call (GOCHE) Troubles Deepen and GEEKS ON CALL: Franchisee Geeks Squeal on Papa Geek.

(Also read Geeks on Call Franchisees Sue Struggling Franchisor & Geeks On Call Franchisees Allege Their Franchisor is Breaking Law.)

Insiders report that the Geeks on Call franchise support HQ recently quietly closed.  Other comments claim that Cole’s strategy is not quite so franchisee-friendly:

On October 12, 2009, Geek Expert wrote:

Has anyone heard that Geeks on Call has left their offices of 10 years and now have a virtual office in some building while their dispatchers answer the phones from their own home? They have also co-located their IT infrastructure and customer records with some other IT company. They say they are doing it to provide better services to their franchise owners but say nothing about the lawsuit against them for not paying their rent. 2009/10/12 at 5:52pm

Om October 14, 2009 “Dick Artese” wrote:

Looks like the GOC corporate offices are no longer at their 814 Kempsville Rd location. A big moving truck came in the darkness of night and moved all the stuff out of there.

Calls to the call center and asking for a mailing address they will still provide the 814 Kempsville Rd address, but when pressed will admit that they are no longer at that location.   2009/10/14 at 10:03am

October 12, 2009, X Geek Stockholder wrote:

What has happened is that GOCA management forced these owners into bankruptcy by continuing to take their large royalties and advertising fees and did not provide the services or the TV ads the owners were being told every month they were getting.

GOCA put the owners in Phoenix, Portland, KC, Boston, DC and Chicago out of business so they could take over their revenues and all of the hard work they did in building a customer base that was loyal by using top of the line techs.

Since GOCA controlled the phone number and email addresses and our bank accounts they decided to put their largest owners out of business and to put ONforce techs in our place for what their 10Q called “a more profitable 3rd party tech model”. Instead of getting 11% royalty for each invoice GOCA is now able to pay these non certified, inexperienced 3rd party techs a small fee per call and keep the rest for themselves. Most of these Onforce techs do not have background checks and none of them have to drive company cars.

GOCA let us build the regions with our monies and sweat then forced us out of business to take over the good will and brand we were able to hold on to through their myriad of bad decisions and brand changes.

As they say what comes around goes around and the lawsuits against GOCA are not over and are just beginning once the other owners across the country find out that Richard Cole was working with one of their largest franchise owners to buy up failed franchises to keep them off of the UFOC and to hide their failing business from them and and prospective investors.

The Geeks on Call system did not work from the beginning and this was a constant concern of many but GOCA kept selling franchises to unsuspecting investors and then their stock which is selling for less than a penny per pink sheet the last I checked having been delisted.  2009/10/12 at 10:40am


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