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Decide Says Ironman Group Would not Owe Jilted Athletes Any Refunds

Most athletes had an agreement that specifically prohibited them from requesting refunds.

A federal judge has joined the Ironman Group, stating that the triathlon organizer does not owe any refunds to athletes who were unable to compete due to cancellations of coronavirus-related events and venue closings.

According to the triathlete, the lawsuit was filed against Ironman in May. While the complaint initially had only one supporter – a Colorado resident who signed up for an event in San Francisco – it grew quickly, and attorneys found that more people had lost money to cancellations.

The main demand of the lawsuit, however, remained simple: reward.

The prospective class action lawsuit had demanded that Ironman reimburse anyone whose event was canceled or postponed due to COVID.

In a lawsuit, attorneys said Ironman was essentially trying to get their clients to accept the financial consequences of a pandemic that is beyond everyone’s control.

“Defendants should not be allowed to force the plaintiff and members of the class to bear the financial burden of the events that were canceled due to COVID-19,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also alleged that Ironman had shown little sympathy or care for plaintiffs’ concerns, lost time, and failed investments.

A triathlete is running. Image via Wikimedia Commons / User: Peter van der Sluijs. (CCA-1-> 3.0).

“The defendants’ refusal to offer refunds to the plaintiff and members of the class is merely a maneuver by the defendants to maintain sales and profits regardless of whether paying customers can actually attend and attend scheduled or postponed events,” it said .

However, the Ironman Group’s attorneys found that almost every athlete covered by the class action lawsuit had signed rigid agreements confirming that they could not receive or request a refund.

That argument was enough for US District Judge Tom Barber, who said the competitors had necessarily agreed to a clear-cut clause.

“This is a very simple case,” Barber wrote in his decision. “No refund means exactly what it says – no refund.”

Barber said that no-refund clauses, including Ironman’s, were “fair and consistent with common sense.” In his decision, Barber believed that race and event organizers like Ironman would likely go out of business if they were forced to issue refunds or if cancellations were made for reasons beyond their control.

Triathlete Notes that when athletes register for an event, they are usually required to sign a series of waivers, terms, and endorsements. According to Triathlete, it is common for such documents to contain a provision stating that potential competitors will not seek a refund if an event is canceled due to something called force majeure.

Most members of the class, Triathlete adds, would likely have been given the opportunity to register for future races without having to pay back the registration fees.

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