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Law Pro
Law Pro, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 24870
Experience:  20 years experience in business law - sole proprietor, partnership, and corporations
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I am an owner of an Aerus (Formerly Electrolux) Franchise in

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I am an owner of an Aerus (Formerly Electrolux) Franchise in Pennsylvania. Last week I went to a local vacuum shop to get some filters. I called the store, the employee answered, I called the owner of the store and got permission to exchange the filters with me and I would drop some off to replace them this week. Upon arriving at the store, I noticed that he had BRAND NEW AERUS EQUIPMENT on Display and in Boxes. Only Authorized Franchises are supposed to have this equipment so I asked the employee if I could take some pictures. I wanted to send photos of the equipment, the shipping tags and the serial #s to corporate so they could track where they originated. Most of the equipment had this information removed but I did find 2 pieces that had serial #s. The reason for this is that it is a violation of our franchising agreement to sell or equip third party/non-franchised stores with our equipment and we are to report back to our corporate headquarters if we ever come across it. Anyway, I asked the employee if I could take a few pictures and he gave me the ok, as a matter of fact, he even helped me look for the serial #s. I got a call today from the actual owner of the store saying that I didn't have his permission to take pictures inside his store, etc. I told him I wasn't looking to get him in any trouble because unless the equipment was stolen, he can't be liable for his acquisition of it, however, I still need to trace the source because if it was a franchise that supplied it for him, they are in violation of the franchise agreement. Of course he was livid (Most likely because his source is going to be cut off) and he was saying that he might get an attorney. I told him I didn't do anything wrong...I had permission to be on the premises and the ok from the employee on duty to take the pictures. My question is, did I do anything illegal by taking the pictures? I can't see how, but I just want to make sure I can't get in trouble for it.
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No, you did nothing wrong and were given permission by the employee who had "apparent authority" to and did allow you to take pictures. As such, the owner has no cause of action whatsoever against you. You weren't fraudulent in any way.

apparent authority n. since under the law of agency the employer (the principal) is liable for the acts of his employee (agent), if a person who is not an agent appears to an outsider (a customer) to have been given authority by the principal then the principal is stuck for the acts of anyone he allows to appear to have authority.

This "apparent authority" can be given by providing Joe Slobovia (who has no authority to contract) with materials, stationery, forms, a truck with a company logo, or letting him work out of the company office, so that a reasonable person would think Joe had authority to act for the company. Then the contract or the price quote given by Joe and accepted by third party is binding on the company. Apparent authority may also arise when Joe works for the company, has no authority to contract, but appears to have been given that authority. Beware of the salesman who exceeds his authority or the hanger-on who claims to work for the boss.

ostensible authority n. apparent authority to do something or represent another person or entity.

The owner has absolutely no legal basis upon which to pursue for any cause of action.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I need a follow up to my question from yesterday. I took the pictures in the store with the employees permission. Anyway...I think he was threatened that he was going to lose his job because I talked to him today and he pretty much said flat out that he would lie under oath to keep his job. What do I do if he lies because its my word against his.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
The employee would obviously be lying - if he wasn't lying he would have told you to stop what you were doing and if you didn't ordered you to leave. If you didn't stop and/or leave - he would of called the police. As he didn't do any of the previous - then he obviously gave you his consent to inspect the equipment.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your help...I have given you an excellent rating and will most definitely refer others to you

Thank you!!