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Athlete files class action law suit against Ironman over refunds and processing fees

In addition to lack of refunds, suit contends registration process violates Consumer Protection Act

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

An athlete who registered for Ironman Mont-Tremblant in 2020 filed a class action law suit against Ironman Canada Inc. and World Triathlon Corporation last September, and after being given a refund less the “processing fees,” has filed a second class action suit for a refund of the processing fees as well.

The suits have been filed by Lambert Avocat Inc., who were unavailable for comment on the cases, but directed us to a page on their website with details about the class actions against Ironman.

According to the lawyers, their client, Joanne Picard, paid $900.21 on Aug. 21, 2019 when she registered for Ironman Mont-Tremblant, which was to take place on Aug. 23, 2020. On April 20, 2020 “she was informed that the triathlon would not be held because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Our client contacted the organizer on several occasions to seek a refund, but was informed that it wasn’t possible,” the lawyers continue. “She was told that she had to either accept a transfer to another IRONMAN event in the United States to be held later this year or to defer her registration to next year in Mont-Tremblant. In December 2020, our client received a partial refund for her registration for IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant. In fact, the processing fees of 66.68 $ weren’t refunded.”

The first class action was filed on Sept. 11, 2020 for “All persons who registered and paid to participate in IRONMAN 5i50 and Sprint Mont-Tremblant 2020, IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant 2020 and IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant 2020, which were cancelled or postponed without possibility for a refund.”

The second was filed in January for “All persons residing in Québec who registered for and who paid a higher price than the announced price to participate in the events organized by the defendants since July 25th, 2017.”  

According to the application filed in the first class action, Picard had requested a full refund from Ironman for her entry, but was only given the option to transfer to an event later in the year, or to postpone her registration to 2021. On July 24 she “received an email informing her of the cancellation of her registration for the event.” She contacted the Office de la protection du consommateur, “which informed her that the Defendants’ actions were prohibited under section 16 of the C.P.A.” She then contacted Lambert Avocat Inc., who initiated the class action. In addition to asking for the reimbursement of entry fees, the suit looks to get the “Defendants to pay each Class member the sum of $300.00 as punitive damages, with interest at the legal rate and the additional indemnity provided for in section 1619 of the Civil Code of Quebec from the date of service of the present application.”

In the second filing we learn that Picard received a check for $833.53 from Ironman Canada Inc. dated December 18, 2020. Lambert Avocat notes that for Ironman Mont-Tremblant and other Ironman events she had registered for in the past she had been paying processing fees “varying between 9.2% to 14.48% of the registration price.”

In addition to the lack of refund of those fees, the suit contends that the registration process doesn’t follow the “objectives of the C.P.A” which are designed to “allow consumers to form a complete picture before purchasing goods or services.”

“The defendants failed to disclose and display the amount of the processing fees, the payment of which is mandatory, in a precise manner in the steps leading to the transaction.”

“By failing to disclose the processing fees before the final payment, the defendants failed to display at their first opportunity a price including all the costs that the consumer had to pay, thus violating article 224 c) of the C.P.A.”

This suit looks to have ” the defendants to pay each Class member an amount in damages equivalent to the processing fees they had to pay, with interest at the legal rate and the additional indemnity provided for in article 1619 of the Civil Code of Quebec from the date of service of the present application.”

Both cases are “awaiting authorization from a Superior court judge.”