BLAINE, Minn. (KMSP) - The season for fun runs is just getting started, but after organizers of an upcoming Bubble Run suddenly changed the date of the event, many runners are feeling robbed.
“Nobody wants to feel scammed, especially when they are saying some goes to charity,” said Lindsay Moroney.
Moroney and her three friends paid $20 each to take part in the Minneapolis Bubble Run scheduled for June 11. Together, they are trying to run a race each month all year. They were shocked to receive an email Wednesday and read a post the organizer's Facebook page alerting them the event, which has attracted 17,000 people, has been moved from June 11 to July 30.
“I was completely shocked. In the years that I’ve ran, I’ve been running since college, I’ve never experienced a race canceling two weeks out," said Moroney.
The post on Facebook has since been deleted, as hundreds of people posted the new date does not work for them. The organizers, Cool Events LLC, make it clear on their Facebook page refunds are not given, plus date and locations are subject to change. Co-owner of Cool Events LLC, William Spata, says he will not be giving refunds, but maybe credit. Spata is part of management group behind roughly 150 fun runs annually all over the country.
Reaching Spata by phone in Phoenix, he refutes what both the City of Blaine and the National Sports Center told Fox 9, that no one from Cool Events LLC started the permit process until about a month ago. The earliest Blaine City Council could approve the permit request would be at its June 15 meeting, four days after the original date for the 5K run. Organizers opted to change the date to July 30.
“As much as this is horrible for the participants, we are looking at a massive, massive, massive loss," said Spata. "Trying to move this around, like I said, we have other events. It’s not in our best interest to move it trust me. We have other events all over the country to get our stuff and the semi-trucks and everything. The cost to get it back over is in the tens of thousands of dollars. This is a major error. So when we deal with that we have to figure out how to offset and balance it, so that we still put on this great event, but we also get that money back to the charity we committed to do and we will.”
Within 24 hours of the announced date change the Better Business Bureau started receiving complaints. Dan Hendrickson with the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota points out the Phoenix BBB already has three previous complaints filed against the Bubble Run, all of which are unresolved.
“I understand the policy, but if’s a situation where the company didn’t pull the permits or didn’t do the organizing. I find it hard to understand why that should fall on the customers,” said Hendrickson.
Spata says in the past five years they have had to change dates for runs because of other unforeseen circumstances. They may offer runners credit toward future runs coming to the Twin Cities if they can’t make the July 30 date. To request that credit, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The BBB suggests if the run was paid for with a credit card, try to dispute the charge.