Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby mpridmore » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:19 pm

Hi guys,

New member, passionate cyclist. I was stirred by a recent incident to register here and ask for some advice.

I bought a place in a big cycling trip organised by Bicycle Network Victoria, around Tasmania, in November. The ride doesn't take place until February. However, in early December, I broke my arm in a freak bike accident. As soon as I found out from my orthopaedic surgeon that the ride would be impossible for me to undertake, I called Bicycle Network Victoria, explaining everything and asking for a refund (clearly, the accident was not deliberate, and was out of my control). They told me that I would be unable to receive any refund whatsoever.

I wrote a letter to the CEO, and sent it to him electronically and in the post. I explained again, also mentioning that I had a medical certificate from the surgeon confirming my story, and hoped he would be able to help. Some two weeks pass. Finally, I received a response (not from the CEO), stating that nothing can be done. Keep in mind that I alerted Bicycle Network Victoria in December, two months before the ride is going to take place. Also keep in mind that tickets are currently being sold, and filling my place will not be a problem given their popularity, and the available timeframe.

I'm at a bit of a loss, because Bicycle Network Victoria's response seems massively unjust and unreasonable - whether or not a no-refund clause exists in their terms & conditions, surely in such an unusual and unexpected situation, a compassionate result is warranted. It seems ridiculous that this "charity" should be entitled to keep all $2,000. I've contacted consumer affairs, who have told me that I may have to wait up to five weeks for them to decide whether to take on the case. The wait's fine by me, but are there any suggestions on other avenues I could take to sort this out? Have any of you had similar problems with Bicycle Network Victoria?

Thanks for any input. Great forum!

Kind regards,
Mary
Last edited by mpridmore on Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by BNA » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:37 pm

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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby ausrandoman » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:37 pm

The response from Bicycle Notwork Victoria does not surprise me.

I think your story deserves wider ciruclation - I suggest posting it on the general discussion forum, as a start, and on any other web sites you frequent.
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby othy » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:49 pm

Did you pay by credit card? My credit card offers travel insurance that may cover this.
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby im_no_pro » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:56 pm

If its anything like other BNV rides I believe you can onsell it up to a certain timeframe prior to the event, might be worth looking into.
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby mpridmore » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:34 pm

ausrandoman,
The response from Bicycle Notwork Victoria does not surprise me.

I'm sorry to hear that, it certainly appears that their customer service is severely lacking.

I think your story deserves wider ciruclation - I suggest posting it on the general discussion forum, as a start, and on any other web sites you frequent.

Thanks, it would be great to get the word out, hopefully if public attention is brought to this, BNV will fix the error of their ways. Am I allowed to post the same thread twice on the BNA forums, such as in the general discussion board? Should I maybe just move this thread to the new location? I've posted this on the BNV forums also. Where else would you recommend?

othy,
Did you pay by credit card? My credit card offers travel insurance that may cover this.

Yes, I did. However, as Tassie is my home state, I didn't see that travel insurance would be necessary/appropriate.

im_no_pro,
If its anything like other BNV rides I believe you can onsell it up to a certain timeframe prior to the event, might be worth looking into.

This is a very interesting suggestion, thank you. Trust BNV not to tell me about this option, if it's available :). I'll give them a call.

Thanks for the responses everyone, hopefully I can get some more useful information. :D

Cheers,
Mary
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby MichaelB » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:29 am

Bugger about the break, hope recovery is wift and good.

What are the T's and C's attached to the ride ?

Whist the comms from BV are not good, I'm not surprised they won't refund, as most rides are the same. Best I have seen is a mate get a 50% refund from the TdU when a similar thing happened.
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby im_no_pro » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:43 am

MichaelB wrote:

Whist the comms from BV are not good, I'm not surprised they won't refund, as most rides are the same.


Agreed, hence the resale suggestion (and forgot to mention, you may find there is a small transfer fee involved in changing all your details to the person you sell it to). Taking ethics/morals out of the discussion (as its highly personal and varies from person to person), at the end of the day whilst it isn't OP's fault the break happened, it's not BV's fault either.

If you check out the BV forums in the leadup to Around the Bay, there is always a number of threads for people selling their entries.
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby othy » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:47 am

mpridmore wrote:othy,
Did you pay by credit card? My credit card offers travel insurance that may cover this.

Yes, I did. However, as Tassie is my home state, I didn't see that travel insurance would be necessary/appropriate.


My point was that for some credit cards, travel insurance is applied automatically if you purchase the holiday with it. This is a very common feature, so check if your card provides this cover, you may be in luck.
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby grantw » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:49 am

The conditions for refunds and transfers are on the website here

But the bad news is

Cancellations
22. If the Ride Participant wishes to cancel his/her participation in the Ride, the Ride Participant must notify Bicycle Network Victoria in writing, providing his/her name, address, event number and reason for cancelling.
23. Written cancellations received before 5pm, 10 October 2012 (AEST) will be refunded their entry fee and transport costs less $AUD400 (deposit).
24. Written cancellations received before 5pm, 16 November 2012 (AEST) will be refunded 50% of their entry fee and transport costs.
25. No refunds will be offered for cancellations received after 5pm, 16 November 2012 (AEST).
26. Once the written cancellation has been received from the Ride Participant and processed by Bicycle Network Victoria the Ride Participant can no longer transfer their ride ticket.
27. Except as otherwise stated in these Entry Terms, Bicycle Network Victoria is under no obligation to refund monies or entry fees due to non use, cancellation, failure to participate or dissatisfaction by the Ride Participant.
Changes to Ride Options
28. Participants may add a new option (unless sold out) up until 18 January 2013 (AEST).
29. Participants may add, change and remove Ride Options Online until the earlier of 5pm, 18 January 2013 (AEST)or until option sold out. Your personal details can be changed at no cost.
30. If the balance is greater than the original payment participants will be directed to pay via credit card. If the balance is less than the original payment participants will not be automatically refunded for the remaining amount. Participants must call the Bicycle Network Victoria office on 03 8636 8888 to request a refund. A $AUD20 administration charge applies to all refunds.
31. Ride Merchandise and Ride DVD will not be refunded. Once the product is purchased, the product remains the property of the buyer and will be distributed to the buyer at the allocated time.


Travel Insurance
32. The Ride Participant may choose to purchase an external optional travel insurance policy which may cover them in case of cancellation.
33. Bicycle Network Victoria Members that participate in the Ride may have travel insurance included in their Membership
34. Bicycle Network Victoria Members should refer to the policy details available at http://www.bv.com.au .


Transfers
35. The Ride Participant may transfer his/her registration for the Ride. A request for a transfer must be received in writing by Bicycle Network Victoria before 5pm, 24 November 2012 (AEST)
36. To qualify for a transfer, the cancelling Ride Participant must supply Bicycle Network Victoria with the new Ride Participants details at the time of the transfer.
37. A Ride Participant may transfer his or her ride ticket. The new Ride Participant must sign up in full then a refund equivalent to the monies paid less ($AUD75 administration fee and merchandise) will be refunded to the original ride participant.
The $AUD75 transfer fee will be deducted from the original payment and cannot be paid by the new Ride Participant.
Merchandise remains the property of the original Ride Participant and will be posted to the ride participant after the ride.

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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby Ozkaban » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:57 am

Just a thought - is there an option to transfer your entry fee to next years ride?
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby Mike Ayling » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:07 pm

I understand that BNV management seldom read posts on their own website and their staff are discouraged from participating in it.

You could give BNV a spray on Facebook and Twitter as well.

You could try and get onto one of the Melbourne talk radio programmes like 3AW and have a whinge there. There is a segment on Wednesday mornings called Grouse or Shouse on 3AW.

A mate of mine paid his deposit at the end of the 2011 ride for 2012 to get the best price and then was told by a young relo that he/she was getting married on the weekend that the ride was due to start.
Same story on refunds and if he wished to on sell there would be an admin fee of $175. Talk about Ned Kelly still being alive and well! He eventually traded to the last three days of the ride (one of the options) but I think it still cost him money.

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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby The 2nd Womble » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:44 pm

Mary, head to Safe cycling Australia on FB and whinge away. We've said for years that cyclists are merely a cash cow for the larger Org's. name any org you like and I can assure you that your membership, issues, queries, concerns, interests and anything else you care to conceive of, is of absolutely no concern to them whatsoever.
You will get no refund from BNV unless I or a couple of others embarrass them publicly by highlighting the issue.
Don't worry though. As I've said a couple of times recently, BNV trolls on this forum site have read this already and reported your concerns. They do know you've shared, but this won't draw them out from under their rock.
What you're dealing with in Victoria in particular, are shonky businesses that thrive on the patronage of people such as yourself, to give them payment to ride on public roads in a group with a sausage sizzle at the end. You have essentially paid them for nothing and they get to roll in the mountains of money regardless of your eventual (non) participation.
The really sad thing is that the majority of the time the rides are supposedly held with the aim of benefiting cyclists and cycling further down the track, when in reality, nobody's seen any benefit from these rides for years, and the only reason they're held at all is because the Government has already paid (insert org here) to hold one in order to keep them pesky bike riders quiet and happy. The money you pay them with your entry is pure profit in the board's pockets. Ah Mary, you've been ripped off, but only a bit more than every other cyclist in Victoria.
BNV will be listed on the stock exchange sooner rather than later
Last edited by The 2nd Womble on Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby il padrone » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:50 pm

Personally I think it is strange that you think BNV should operate as a charity to cover your neglect in taking out travel insurance. Sorry, but the conditions are there, BNV has to outlay a lot in pre-planning their rides and in any other similar ride/event you would be unwise not to take out some travel insurance, or for smaller cost events just take your own responsibilty for any non-attendance.

Womble.... an awful lot of spurious and unsupported ranting claims there. It'd be good if you could provide real evidence for even one of the claims you make. Such verbal barrages do your own organisation no cred, no cred at all :roll:
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby The 2nd Womble » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:14 pm

Don't care. Don't care at all. If you want to ask how the rides are funded, ask them. They'll hate you for doing so. And again, post on the page. I bet you'll get a response :)
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby WestcoastPete » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:27 pm

il padrone wrote:Womble.... an awful lot of spurious and unsupported ranting claims there. It'd be good if you could provide real evidence for even one of the claims you make. Such verbal barrages do your own organisation no cred, no cred at all :roll:


+1

SCA has no credibility in my book, and once it's gone, it's very hard to get it back...

Back to BNV and this ride; at first it your argument sounds reasonable, but the terms and conditions are clear. It's pretty tough to foresee breaking a bone before something like this, but still, it's there in the T&Cs. I imagine they need to have the money locked in early to organise an event like this, and even if a few people wanted refunds they'd probably put a bit of a dent in the planning, effecting the outcome for everyone. On-selling the entry sounds like the best bet to me. Or travel insurance. I'm not sure if the automatic travel insurance with credit cards is valid domestically, at least for me, but I'll have to check.
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby il padrone » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:18 am

The 2nd Womble wrote:Don't care. Don't care at all.

Sad to hear really, displays a lack of awareness of public image.

The 2nd Womble wrote:If you want to ask how the rides are funded, ask them. They'll hate you for doing so. And again, post on the page. I bet you'll get a response :)


The costs and revenue are mostly covered here - http://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/media/ ... Report.pdf

But the rides are funded by revenue, and their profit overall contributes in very large part to BNV's operations ie. lobbying and activities on behalf of cyclists. BTW, do not label me as some BNV troll - I am very far from that. No membership, no supporter, for various reasons.
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:35 am

il padrone wrote:
The 2nd Womble wrote:Don't care. Don't care at all.

Sad to hear really, displays a lack of awareness of public image.

The 2nd Womble wrote:If you want to ask how the rides are funded, ask them. They'll hate you for doing so. And again, post on the page. I bet you'll get a response :)


The costs and revenue are mostly covered here - http://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/media/ ... Report.pdf

But the rides are funded by revenue, and their profit overall contributes in very large part to BNV's operations ie. lobbying and activities on behalf of cyclists. BTW, do not label me as some BNV troll - I am very far from that. No membership, no supporter, for various reasons.

Since when did I refer to you as a troll? Besides, outside of BNA's walls it's a different kettle of fish. Ive realised that views in here are merely views in here. That's why no one else wastes their time in here. You haven't noticed?
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby bychosis » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:35 am

It is in the terms and conditions. They have set out clearly how early you can get a refund, less admin costs (which seem really high). Most events I have partaken in do this, it's up to me to get to the event in one piece. True the amount of money for this event is large compared to the event entry fees I have paid, but you pay you're money you take a chance.

On sell the entry, you will lose some money, but not all of it. Been there, done that.
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby il padrone » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:02 am

The 2nd Womble wrote:Since when did I refer to you as a troll?

Just a pre-emptive comment. As I seem to be supporting the BNV view I thought you may be about to make such a claim.
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Re: Broke my arm - BNV won't refund months in advance!

Postby Mike Ayling » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:26 am

I still believe that Bicycle Victoria could have made an ex gratia payment in Mary's case. After all they are a charity aren't they? (Wink)

Pete's link to the Financial Statements was for 2009-2010 so I delved further. I found 2010-2011 but BNV does not appear to have posted their 2011-2012 results yet.

Rides revenue:
2009 $7,026,000
2010 $6,791,000
2011 $7,797,000

Management Discussion and Analysis reports that the small drop from 2009 to 2010 represents a change in mix between short and long rides, one providing more revenue than the other.
2011 MDA reported that the increase in revenue was due to the Western Australia ride but they had taken a bath on costs and incurred a loss for the year. They proposed to increase the entry fee for the New Zealand ride in 2012 and were hoping that it would be profitable albeit with fewer entries. They raised a valid comment in my opinion that some people prefer rides with smaller numbers.

So we are yet to see how profitable the 2011-2012 rides were but it does give some indication why they want to preserve their revenue base at all costs.

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