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...nobody ever reads them!


Well, people do read them when it's too late and yet they are there for a reason.

It is to preserve the integrity of the event(s) and ensure that some degree of control is in place to support the commercial commitment made by the company. When you enter an event the first thing that happens is 20% of the entry fee just disappears off to HMRC by way of VAT. The company - in this case BTR - has to pay this regardless of whether you take part or not. It's a legal requirement.


Now, lots of people will never refer to terms and conditions because they turn up on the day and enjoy the event. However, when personal circumstances change that's when it gets interesting. Just prior to race date is when emails start coming asking for refunds, deferrals or entry transfers. Peak time is around three weeks out from the event date and by that time as well as committing to VAT payments, BTR will also have ordered a range of event collateral - event timing, water, t shirts, medals, race numbers, Goody Bag content and so on. That is on top of a number of other standard charges such as road closure permits, policing, stewards, traffic management, public liability insurance to mention just a few.


There is a statutory refund arrangement in place that allows for refunds within 14 days of an individual entry but beyond that it is standard industry practice to not provide refunds. It is simply not practical as the events would end up with much less revenue come race day than it anticipated set against a 100% commitment for full expenditure.


Another industry standard fact is the element of no-shows on the day.

There will be between 10% and 25% of entrants who will not show up on the day for a whole host of reasons. The commercial structure of any event will be delivered against this criteria. This is for all events and not just BTR.


It is very rare that a BTR event will run out of t shirts and medals in particular because we have to almost over order against the expected level of turn out to minimise waste. That is part of our commercial obligation to you the runner.


Over a calendar year BTR events will attract 20,000+ runners. That will mean a minimum of 2,000 people (at 10%) will not turn up on race day . 15% will see 3,000 no-shows and 20% will take that number up to 4,000. Now, to have to manage up to 4,000+ entries for deferrals or entry transfers is a big job. And that's without any option currently being in place. If the option to defer or transfer was there then it is feasible that figure could double.


I think the main issue is that people only ever see the refund / defer / transfer situation from their own personal perspective and don't appreciate the bigger picture of what happens when potentially thousands of other people ask the same question.


Your entry fee is your commitment to the event. When personal circumstances change then it is unfair to expect the event to consider a refund / deferral / transfer request on a personal basis. Where is a line drawn to accept one application and reject another? What criteria would be needed to validate any application? BTR cannot be the judge and jury in these matters.


So just to reiterate the terms and conditions are there for a reason and it is not commercial gain. It is to mantain a level of commercial stability and allow the events to function properly.


The moral of the story is.... always read the terms and conditions of whatever retail transaction you enter into. That way you can make an informed decision to purchase or not.


Alan Rothwell

BTR Liverpool

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