ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) - Dozens of people showed up at a scheduled race site near Dixieland Speedway in Elizabeth City Saturday morning, but when they got there, the race and organizers were nowhere to be found.
"I spent $110 on a birthday present that was futile," said Millicent Gerni, of the race tickets she bought to run the Critical Mud Obstacle Run.
Gerni is one of the many runners who showed up in Elizabeth City.
"We had absolutely no clue until one of our friends on Facebook saw that we were going too," explained Lena Lecklider, who also signed up for the race. "And they were already down there and they couldn't find the place."
Everyone WAVY.com spoke to found out about the race through a Groupon daily deal, but the mud race never happened in the place it was supposed to.
"You knew that when the gates were locked, nobody was running," said Lecklider.
Gerni and Lecklider both paid $55 for each ticket and each bought two. One of the most frustrating things for them was they didn't know who to get in touch with.
"There was no contact," said Gerni. "There was no way to get in touch with anybody."
"I've sent emails to Critical Mud Run, Facebooked them, nothing from them," said Lecklider. "And I'm still waiting for a response from the Groupon to get our money back from them."
There was a post on the Critical Mud Obstacle Run's Facebook page early Saturday morning. An administrator said they've had people show up in the wrong locations in the past and they placed some blame on the daily deal websites.
The post on Facebook reads:
"Elizabeth City, N.C. is the location for the Sept. 28 event. We had more people show up last week in the wrong city than in the correct one, and honestly we expect the same this week. We're not happy about this and have even brought lawyers into the mix to try and Force Living Social and Groupon to either share information or contact ticket holders directly since the incorrect dates and locations were their fault, but to no avail. If you didn't get the newsletter that went out last week, it means that you're not on our email list. Groupon and Living Social ask for your contact information but do not share it with us. You have to go to our site and click on the Newsletter link."
"There are tons of comments all relating to not being able to find it," said Gerni. "People who spent money, hotel reservations."
WAVY.com looked into it and runners who used Groupon purchased their tickets on the daily deal website and registered for the race on a website called Brown Paper Tickets. According to a Brown Paper Tickets page, Back Forty Events, LLC is the contact for the Critical Mud Run. An Internet search turned up that a person named Todd Griffin owns the domain name criticalmud.com.
WAVY.com has emailed and called Griffin through information found online, and has not gotten a response.
Brown Paper Tickets also said its call center was overwhelmed with complaints about the Critical Mud Run on Saturday. The company was working to get in touch with the event organizer, but was unsuccessful and deactivated all future races by Critical Mud Runs from its system.
Brown Paper Tickets released the following statement to anyone who registered races by Critical Mud Run through brownpapertickets.com:
This message is regarding your registration for the Critical Mud ["Turkey's Revenge" Mud Run scheduled for Nov. 30/"Dirty Santa" 5K+ Obstacle Run Dec 28/"My Head Still Hurts" 5K+ Obstacle Run Jan 4]. The event organizer had also posted an event on Brown Paper Tickets for September 28, but that event did not take place, and no notice was given to registrants. Brown Paper Tickets has been unsuccessful at making contact with the event organizer to resolve the situation and get refunds for the event goers. At this time, we have deactivated all future events by this organizer in our system and we advise ticket-buyers to seek refunds for this event.
If you purchased a ticket initially through Groupon or LivingSocial, we recommend that you contact those organizations directly to request a refund.
If you purchased a ticket through Brown Paper Tickets, the event organizer elected to have funds processed through Paypal, so we are unable to issue refunds directly. We recommend that you file a dispute ASAP with Paypal. Instructions for doing so may be found here: https://www.paypal.com/helpcenter/main.jsp?t=solutionTab&ft=homeTab&ps=&solutionId=163596&locale=en_GB&_dyncharset=UTF-8&countrycode=GB&cmd=_help&m=BT
If you are unable to pursue a refund through PayPal, you will need to contact your credit card company and file a dispute with them.
We sincerely apologize for any frustration you may have experienced regarding this situation. Brown Paper Tickets is committed to providing the highest level of service to its customers - we hope that advising you on how best to achieve resolution with this issue demonstrates how seriously we take situations such as these. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 1.800.838.3006x1, or at email@example.com.
Brown Paper Tickets
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