Run or Dye cancelled, participants wait for refunds

A fun run billed as "the world's most colourful 5K" has left some Thunder Bay would-be participants angry after a cancellation and concern over refunds.
Typically on the run, participants get covered in what the Run or Dye website calls "eco-friendly, plant-based powdered dye" in an explosion of colour. (ca.runordye.com)

A fun run billed as "the world's most colourful 5K" has left some Thunder Bay would-be participants seeing red after a cancellation and concern over refunds. 

Cathy Barnard and her daughter-in-law signed up for the Run or Dye race that was supposed to take place this weekend. But on Aug. 11 she received an email message saying it was cancelled.

The email gave registrants four options for compensation. They could opt for several different combinations of merchandise (from the event's on-line store) and tickets to other Run or Dye events or they could opt for a refund.

Barnard says she chose the refund.

"There was a link and your registration popped up and you clicked "full refund" and submitted it and...never to hear from them again,” Barnard said.

Mistydawn Bernst paid approximately $130 to register herself and her family. She said she received an email saying they were among the first 50 participants to register, so they would receive gift bags.

Bernst said she and her husband received their gift bags in the mail, but her children never did, and she twice tried emailing organizers about it but never got a response. 

When the event was cancelled she also received the email offering a refund, but said her online link led to a blank page.

“I replied back to the email a couple of times, I tried contacting them on Facebook, I tried contacting Viral Events ... I left a couple phone messages, and I can't get a hold of anybody,” Bernst said.

When contacted by CBC News, Katie Langston, communications director for Viral Events, which organizes Run or Dye, apologized for the company's slow response time and said Thunder Bay residents can private message her via the Run or Dye main Facebook page.

“I will personally monitor the private messages and make sure they are responded to,” she said.

Langston said people can request refunds through the URL posted on the external links section of this page, but they take up to six weeks to process. 

A spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau said Run or Dye is also cooperating with it in handling complaints filed at their website (bbb.org).

"The business has responded to every complaint so far and offered refunds and/or a timeframe when to expect a refund and we've received notification from consumers that they've received it," said Brittany Asay, director of operations at the BBB in Utah. 

"I know that if [registrants] contact their credit card companies or their banks they can dispute the charges," she added. There have been so many press releases that have gone out and news stories that a lot of the banks are aware of the issue."

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