Runner beware: scams now posing as fun runs


Austin (KXAN) – The Better Business Bureau is warning runners looking for a good time that the race they may have signed up for could actually be a scam.

The BBB has been hearing lots of complaints from around the country about various fun runs that have been cancelled with short notice, often with no refunds.

Last week, BBB of Greater Cleveland reported on a 5K Foam Fest that was cancelled with just four days’ notice. An email to paid participants said “Unfortunately, we’re not able to provide you with a refund.”

A similar event scheduled for southern California was also cancelled with the same “no refund” email. The race website says they have ceased operations as of July 17. Another race company has offered Foam Fest participants a discount code for future theme races.

The two 5K Foam Fest events were to be put on by Round House Racing Team, which is based in Utah.

Since the cancellation was announced, BBB Utah has received 90 complaints from participants looking for refunds of the $45-75 registration fees they were charged.

BBB is processing those complaints now, and an Alert was added to the company’s BBB Business Review.

 

If you are thinking about participating in a themed fun run, here are some BBB tips:
• Do your research. Check out the company’s BBB Business Review and search online for additional information before signing up.
• Understand the terms and conditions. In some cases, promoters say on their websites that they don’t offer refunds, but many consumers don’t read the fine print before hitting “I agree” to long online documents.
• Check the local venue. Contact the park or other venue to confirm that the event is scheduled.
• Pay with a credit card. Charges made on a credit card can be disputed after a purchase, whereas debit, cash or wire transfer transactions cannot.
• Keep documentation of your order. After completing the online registration process, you should receive a confirmation receipt. Print out and keep a copy of the confirmation and any supporting documentation for future reference.
• Check out the charity. Most fun runs are for-profit, but if the promoters claim a portion of the proceeds will go to charity, check it out on give.org to make sure your donation is going to a trustworthy charity. Be wary of sound-alike names similar to more famous charities.

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