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BBB warning: Fun runs may not deliver

8/28/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

GREATER AKRON — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been hearing complaints about various fun runs that have been canceled with short notice, often with no refunds.

Recently, the BBB of Greater Cleveland reported on a 5K Foam Fest that was canceled with 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 also was canceled with the same “no refund” email. The race website stated it had ceased operations as of July 17. Another race company has offered Foam Fest participants a discount code for future theme races.

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 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 well-known charities.

For more tips, visit bbb.org.

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