BBB Logo

Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Eastern Oklahoma
BBB Warning: Fun Runs Promise More Than They Deliver
July 23, 2014

Better Business Bureau has been hearing lots of complaints 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. The BBB is processing those complaints now, and an Alert was added to the company’s BBB Business Review.

This cancellation news came just a month after Runners’ World reported that the Electric Foam 5K had shut down after numerous race cancellations and an F rating with BBB for its parent company, Color Mania 5K. A number of BBBs and at least one national media outlet had been investigating the cancelled Electric Foam 5Ks when the company announced it was closing down all the events. Some participants received refunds through Groupon. The company’s website said it was filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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.

For tips you can trust, visit bbb.org and for the latest, check out our blog, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

About BBB

BBB serving Eastern Oklahoma is an independent, non-profit business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair business practices and works for trust in the marketplace. For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. BBB provides services for both BBB Accredited Businesses and non-accredited businesses. In 2013, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB® serving Eastern Oklahoma is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada. Visitbbb.org for more information.