The IFA Ombudsman Program has three distinct applications to benefit its members.
- IFA Ombudsman Program – IFA Ombudsman can provide all of the services directly to the parties under the IFA name;
- Private-label Ombudsman Program – IFA Members can retain a qualified Ombudsman, referred by the IFA Ombudsman, to provide continuing ombudsman services within their franchise system under the company’s name; and
- In-house Ombudsman Program – IFA members can retain consultative services to assist in creating an Ombudsman Program tailored to fit the needs of their franchise system, and which the company would fund and operate independently of the IFA.
The cost of the private label and in house Ombudsman Programs reflects the time and resources necessary to provide the services to the franchise system.
Under the first and IFA member can call the IFA Ombudsman and the IFA will cover the costs of the phone calls and the Ombudsman's services. If the parties wish to utilize the IFA Ombudsman for assistance in resolving a dispute, which requires a face-to-face meeting, the parties will be responsible for travelling and meeting costs.
Under the second, or private label program, an Ombudsman, referred by the IFA, will be retained to assist the franchise system in establishing the criteria and structure for an ombudsman program. The costs of this initial consultative phase will range depending upon the nature of the company’s needs. Once the structure has been determined, the program will be contracted to a qualified Ombudsman, who will administer the program on behalf of, and in the name of, the franchise company. Disputes reviewed by the Ombudsman will be charged at an agreed upon rate.
Under the third, or "in-house" program, a franchise system may retain an Ombudsman, referred by the IFA, to create and implement an in-house ombudsman program for the franchise system. This service may range and may be primarily of interest to mature franchise systems. When completed, the franchise system will have its own, internal ombudsman capability. From then on, the entire process of the ombudsman function will be funded and administered internally by the franchise system.