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Ironman Win - "no refunds" legal


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Saw this thru FB today

 

https://www.triathlete.com/culture/news/judge-rules-in-favor-of-ironman-in-lawsuit-over-refunds/

Judge Rules in Favor of Ironman in Lawsuit Over Refunds
The U.S. District judge ruled Ironman's "no refunds" clause was fair and reasonable.
JANUARY 8, 2021
KELLY O'MARA
   
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Tom Barber granted Ironman’s request for a summary judgement in a proposed class action lawsuit over the lack of refunds for races canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Florida judge ruled that the “no refund” clause athletes agree to when registering for a race was clear and fair.

The suit was filed against Ironman and the World Triathlon Corporation in May, alleging the company and its subsidiary, Competitor Group, owe athletes refunds for events canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. It was originally filed on behalf of one athlete, Mikaela Ellenwood, a Colorado resident who had registered for the Rock n’ Roll San Francisco half-marathon, which was scheduled for April 5. She had also purchased flights and accommodations for the event, according to the complaint. When that race was canceled on March 14, registrants had their entries deferred to the next year and were not given the option of a refund. Jorge Casanova, of Vallejo, California, was also added as a primary plaintiff to the suit. He registered for Santa Rosa 70.3, which was also canceled.

“Defendants should not be permitted to force Plaintiff and members of the class to bear the financial burden of the events canceled as a result of COVID-19,” read the complaint, which was filed in the Middle District of Florida, where Ironman is headquartered.

The suit argued that Ironman Group, which operates hundreds of races around the globe, including the Rock n’ Roll running races, was “neither flexible nor understanding of participants’ concerns.”

Ironman’s lawyers argued that the case should be dismissed because the athletes signed a contract acknowledging no refunds would be given. Judge Barber agreed.

In his decision, the judge wrote: “This is a very simple case. No refunds means exactly what it says — no refunds.”

He also said that a no-refund clause is “fair and consistent with common sense,” given the type of events being debated. If race organizers were required to give refunds when events were canceled for issues beyond their control, he said, most race companies wouldn’t be able to sustain a business.


When an athlete registers for an event, there are a number of waivers and terms and conditions they accept and agree to. For instance, it’s fairly common to acknowledge that you will not be refunded in the event of a cancellation due to weather or due to an act of God—commonly referred to as a “force majeure” clause.

The issue was really more about athletes’ feelings of frustration over a perceived lack of information and customer service around their scheduled events. Many athletes complained that they had a hard time getting responses from Ironman or finding information about their rescheduled or postponed events.

In the last year, hundreds of races have been canceled due to COVID-related concerns. However, until an event is officially canceled or postponed, Ironman confirmed the standard non-COVID cancellation policy would still be in place. Those specific policies vary from race to race, but typically mean an athlete can not transfer or defer without paying a fee or losing a portion of their entry fee, and an athlete can not get a refund unless they’ve purchased registration insurance. That means for athletes waiting to find out if their race was canceled or postponed, there were often few options. Once an Ironman race was canceled or postponed due to COVID, most athletes were offered a deferral to the next year’s race or a transfer to a specific alternative race.

The plaintiff’s lawyers did not have any comment at this time. Read the full judge’s decision here.

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So basically Ironman can just open and sell entries. Cancel an event and walk away with your money. 

That's ****ed up in so many ways. Basically you're allowed to steal from people legally now. Great. 

What about all the entries they're taking for races they don't even have a course approved for? Is that out of their control? So I know for sure Oceanside and Ironman California have been told no racing in 2021 (I know a couple of Californian race directors). Oceanside won't ever come back because defence is saying '**** no' just like superfrog has already gone by the wayside. 

Sacramento (IM Cali) have never had the support of everyone they needed but took a boat load of entries. Is it our of their control when the city says no? 

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Easy solution would be for no one to enter any of their events.  Isn't gonna happen though.

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On 10/01/2021 at 11:51 AM, Crappy said:

So basically Ironman can just open and sell entries. Cancel an event and walk away with your money. 

That's ****ed up in so many ways. Basically you're allowed to steal from people legally now. Great. 

 

Many cults have been stealing with this method for years

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On 10/01/2021 at 10:51 AM, Crappy said:

So basically Ironman can just open and sell entries. Cancel an event and walk away with your money. 

Well not exactly. The part about weather/ 'force majeure' in the article above is relevant. 

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1 minute ago, dazmuzza said:

Well not exactly. The part about weather/ 'force majeure' in the article above is relevant. 

Weather I'm ok with. Sometimes shit happens, early doors covid - shit happens. 12 months later that's not an excuse. That's what I have an issue with, they keep take more and more entries knowing cities have told them they're definitely not running an event on the dates proposed. 

At the moment a few cities in the US, one in AUS has said definitely no racing till all this shit blows over, but they're still taking entries knowing those races aren't going to happen. That's where I draw the line personally, why are they allowed to do that and just say "too bad so sad". That's the part that really doesnt fly with me, I know a lot of people taking it up with their credit card company are being refunded. 

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Just been through the dispute process in NZ to recover money my son paid for a snowboard internship - the company involved claimed FM through circumstances outside their control and offered up only a fraction of what he paid. Without going into it in detail he was able to recover a substantial amount of what he paid through the small claims court.  What got me the most was that their clientele is predominantly 17-20y/o 'dreamers' who had mostly saved this money themselves only to come up against some immovable corporate.  Maybe with IM their some of their clientele can afford dropping the cash but there has to be long term brand damage.

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I'd probably say any entries taken after 1st May are kind of in that really grey area. Anything between say March and April could go either way. Anything prior to march is that area where "shit happens"

Admittedly I will never enter another IM branded event or any event they own (no matter how much I loved Tarawera and UTA). I actually just sold all my go fast gear, if anything COVID just drove me back to club racing and having fun on a roadie.

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2 minutes ago, truck said:

Just been through the dispute process in NZ to recover money my son paid for a snowboard internship - the company involved claimed FM through circumstances outside their control and offered up only a fraction of what he paid. Without going into it in detail he was able to recover a substantial amount of what he paid through the small claims court. 

I reckon that ironman saying hey, our bad here's 85% of your money back would be a fair way to do it, I'd almost be ok with that. Yeah they incurred some costs, but the biggest cost is shutting down a city which they have no had to pay for if the event didn't even come close to being on.

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Entered Rapperswil 70.3 when I arrived in Switzerland and they postponed it and transferred all entries to the postponed date. Then postponed again and you could take the option of whether to get your entry fee back. Any slots which became available rolled down to next on the list. 

Seems very Swiss and very fair.

However, advertising for races which Organisers know aren't going to happen AND people entering those races knowing that they probably won't run is wrong on the first part and dumb on the second.

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On 13/01/2021 at 5:25 AM, Rimmer said:

Entered Rapperswil 70.3 when I arrived in Switzerland and they postponed it and transferred all entries to the postponed date. Then postponed again and you could take the option of whether to get your entry fee back. Any slots which became available rolled down to next on the list. 

Seems very Swiss and very fair.

IM Brasil was the same way. I signed up for the race that was supposed to happen last May. It was bumped to August and then to November, and then cancelled. They offered me a rollover to 2021 or most of my money back. I took the cash. IMNZ will allow me to roll over to 2022, which is what I'm going to have to do – I registered knowing the risk and knowing the deal they were offering. No complaints.

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I think that the IM solution in Australia has been reasonable. You could either roll your spot over to the next year or get a credit to use at any IM event in the next 2 years. 

Not a perfect solution but still better than some airline and travel companies that I am still trying to get a credit or refund from.

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There’s a real concern that the rollover model will end up with a lot of companies going under. With multiple events being rolled multiple times, all planning, marketing, staff costs etc are being spent multiple times as well without additional revenue. 
 

Seeing events start to sell with refunds as opposed to rollovers I think will start to appear, and a tightening around rollovers as well. At least for events that are being sold during covid, not before.

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3 hours ago, BarryBevan said:

Should I enter Busso, rumour is Peter and Bored will race!!

LOL 😂.  I’ve done 10. No more.  
 

I am down to do WS70.3 if it happens. 

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4 hours ago, BarryBevan said:

Should I enter Busso, rumour is Peter and Bored will race!!

Peter thinks that the race is doomed and Bored thinks that it is the hilliest and toughest IM in Oz, neither will enter.

I think that Iden will win Busso. Jan and AB are has beens!

Assuming that there are flights and quarantine places I will be there to set a new PW.

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From Ironman NZ today:

We recognise that the strict border controls currently in place for New Zealand are unlikely to ease in the immediate future. As an international athlete it will be difficult, or in some cases impossible, for you to attend the event. With this in mind, we would like to offer you alternative options now.
Free deferral to 2022 Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand on 5 March 2022; or

A free transfer to 2021 Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns on 6 June 2021; or

A free transfer to 2021 IRONMAN Western Australia on 5 December 2021; or 

An Event Credit for the full value of your entry fee (and additional purchases), valid for three years, and able to be redeemed on any other IRONMAN Group events.  

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Cancelled IM races in 2020 in Australia gave this credit:

An Event Credit for the full value of your entry fee (and additional purchases), valid for three years, and able to be redeemed on any other IRONMAN Group events in Australia. 

I deferred IMWA to 2021 and took a credit for UTA.

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