7-Eleven to pay $98m after franchisees allege its model was 'a lemon' based on wage theft By business reporter Emilia Terzon Posted Wed 6 Apr 2022 at 12:53pm , updated Wed 6 Apr 2022 at 3:56pm The ABC first exposed widespread wage theft in 7-Eleven stores back in 2015, as part of a Four Corners investigation. (Four Corners) Convenience store giant 7-Eleven is set to pay out almost $100 million after being hit with class actions by Australian franchisees who alleged the company's business model was "a lemon" that was built on wage theft. The Federal Court of Australia today approved the payout of $98 million to hundreds of franchisees. The convenience giant largely operates in Australia through a franchise network model, where individual operators buy the rights to operate stores under its logo and guidelines. The company's franchise network in Australia was first Key points: 7-Eleven was being pursued by franchisees as part of several class action proceedings The action alleged 7-Eleven's business model was unprofitable unless staff were underpaid 7-Eleven has settled for $98m without hit by wage theft allegations in 2015 after a joint ABC admitting any wrongdoing Four Corners and Fairfax investigation found store staff – many of them migrants – were working twice as long for half the pay. The investigation alleged that franchisees implemented this wage theft but also that the head company was aware of it.