Tag Archives: race

Today, I Submitted a Complaint with the NY AG’s Office. Here’s Why.

20 Feb

Today, I write to you out of rage. I don’t know if you all are aware of how much scams piss me off, but they REALLY piss me off. I am not one of those people who is like,

Oh, how cute, a scam. Let’s learn more about it give the scammers more notoriety and fame, ie Caroline Calloway.

Because where ever there is a scam, there is someone(s) who is the victim of it. Someone who has been knowingly taken advantage of. So, here is a story about a decidedly un-cute scam. In fact, to all my race running and riding friends: you might have gotten caught up in it.

A few weeks ago, I signed up to run a race with a few of my friends. It is one of my friends first race ever and I was, and still am, beyond excited to get to cross the finish line alongside her! The signup for the race, which takes place here in NYC this spring, was managed through a company based in Dallas called Active Network LLC. The outsourcing of registration for races is pretty common for smaller organizations so I didn’t think twice when I went through the process. What I did do was make sure to uncheck all the boxes so I don’t get any emails, unwanted magazine subscriptions or added payments for services I don’t want or need. Just sign me up for the race and let me do the rest. And yet today when I checked my debit card I noticed a charge for $89.95 that was labeled ACT ACTIVE NETWORK. I was completely confused. The only charge I made yesterday was $10 to the Warren campaign as a congratulations for her warranted MURDER of Mike Bloomberg on the debate stage but that was done on my American Express card. So, I did what I always do and I researched.

Well wouldn’t you know it, I somehow inadvertently signed up for a trial membership, the free period of which had ended yesterday. Friends, I never sign up for trial memberships because I always forget to cancel them and then I end up spending money on shit I don’t want and don’t need.* The first thing I did was dispute the transaction. I work hard for my money and it is the winter time and the bar has been very slow. There is no way I am giving away a chunk of my money to some membership thing that I did not sign up for and don’t even understand. After doing some more digging, I found out that I am by no means the first person to deal with this. Here is a complaint that dates back to 2014! Even with this piece of information, I thought I would do the right thing and give them a call. I called the number listed on their website, it said it was out of service. So I found a second number and called that one. What I found out is that if you wait long enough they actually present you with an option related to the credit card charge that apparently takes a lot of people by surprise. (When you Google the company, the charge is one of the top search results.) After a few more minutes on hold I was put through to a person. She said hello, introduced herself and asked how she could help. So I said,

Hello. I am calling about a fraudulent charge…

It was at this point that I heard a beep and Sufjan Stevens started playing. Weird. I looked at my phone and wouldn’t you believe it — she hung up on me and my phone automatically started playing a song I didn’t even know I had! Now I was really mad. I took the reasonable next step: Better Business Bureau, bitches! What I found was that this company has A LOT of negative complaints. Here is one of my favorites:

I’m a lawyer who has litigated deceptive “free trial” offer cases and I have no idea how i got enrolled in this Active Advantage scam. I do find that there was a class action settled in California regarding this practice, as well as an Iowa Attorney General action. this practice seems ripe for some more class actions or FTC referral.

I added my complaint to the pile. I still had some rage left over so I took the reasonable next step, and some good advice, and reached out to Leticia James, the New York Attorney General!** I explained my complaint AND I submitted supporting documents because everyone loves supporting documents plus it made me feel really official. Basically like a detective. I might actually go online and order myself a cool badge and wear it around for the next few days.

So I guess I will have to wait and see what Leticia James has to say about this. Hopefully her office will respond.

I know this probably sounds like a waste of time to some of you. I was on hold with my bank and with Active Network LLC for close to an hour; I spent a fair amount of time looking for other reports to be sure I wasn’t just an idiot who missed something; I filed complaints with two different government offices, including supporting evidence. But here’s the thing. This is crap. People shouldn’t have their money taken from them via questionable means. People budget. A random $90 withdrawal from an account can be devastating. And I am lucky enough to have time, research skills and an abundance of rage – especially right now. I can take the time to call my bank, submit these complaints, and do follow-up if needed. I can sit here and write this blog. A lot of people don’t have that time and, in my opinion, that is what companies prey on. They work it into their metric that a lot of people don’t regularly check their bank statements and might miss these withdrawals year after year (I saw reports of this). They rely on the fact that a lot of people will realize what happened, cancel their membership, (maybe) get a refund and never take additional steps. And then there are a few people like me who really don’t like to feel taken advantage of by a company acting in a shadowy manner. And more than that, I really don’t like that, based off my research, they have been doing this for years. And that there is a chance they are taking money from old people. I really don’t like when people take money from old people.

Next stop: Federal Trade Commission.

Anyway, I will keep you posted. And don’t worry, my hate fire is still burning.

*Side note, I think this practice that companies have of rolling trial memberships over into paid memberships without a reminder is sneaky and should be outlawed. We all forget to cancel that shit. I think I paid for a membership to the Wall Street Journal (PUKE)  for a year because I wanted to read one article about Simone Biles that was hidden behind a paywall and then totally forgot to cancel immediately. Technically my fault but I feel like a reminder would just be the right thing to do.

**Actually I just went to the website but whatever.

Post-Race Recap

25 Feb

So I figured that since I wrote a blog about my Pre-Race Jitters, I might as well recap the run (I will spare you the boring details), following a similar format to the original post just for accuracy.  For those of you who didn’t read the initial blog, that’s okay, you can read it here, or where I already linked it above!  Or not at all.  Whatever, it’s your life.

1.  The training, yea, I didn’t really do a good job of it.  I ran the 13.1 miles in roughly the same time I ran it last year, plus a few minutes.  My 2013 time was 1:48:23 and my 2012 time was 1:45:15.  Not too shabby.  But my hips hurt because I stopped doing hip strengthening exercises about halfway through my training cycle.  And today my quads are sore because I don’t like to do squats at the gym because of this stupid trainer there who butted into my workout and gave me bad advice.  I wrote about that here, if you care to refresh.  But all in all, it was what I thought it would be.  Cardiovascularly* I was good to go, muscularly not so much.  But it was fun after I relaxed into it so that’s something.

2.  I decided, with the advice of my good friend C., to wear the old shoes that I had already run too many miles in instead of the new shoes that hurt my ankle bump.  I think this was the right choice although I felt like I ran the entire race with cement feet.  Also, for the second time this week my pinky toenail cut the inside of my fourth toe during the run.  Gross.  Also, ouch.

3.  My period started the day before the race which was exactly the wrong time for it to start but also exactly what I expected because my period is an asshole that wants to ruin my life.  I will spare you the gorey details on that one but suffice it to say that it was necessary for me to wait in the obscenely long port-o-potty line before the race, making me almost late for the race start, and then rush to the port-o-potty again right after the race.  For those of you who might never have used a port-o-potty either before or after a race, there is basically nothing grosser.  In short, runners are disgusting.  Also, there may not be any Purell left by the time you get there.  Not that I had that problem personally…right…okay…moving on.

4.  I know that my initial blog only had 3 worry things, but now that I am recaping I want to add something to this list that I never would have thought to worry about before the race but that then occurred during the race and made me feel really sad.  So, in my experience as a person who has run a lot of races of all different distances, I always find that runners are a good and supportive bunch.  I have seen people encourage others, help them up if they trip, support people over the finish line when they are completely out of energy, run a fallen comrade’s shoe over the final time mat so she could receive her medal.  Never have I encountered someone who was intentionally rude and disrespectful to their fellow runners.  That is until yesterday.  Yesterday I got stuck next to these two bros from miles 2-4, give or take.  One of them didn’t say much but the other…oh man was he a piece of shit.   So, there was this girl who got overheated and pulled over to the side of the course to take her long sleeved shirt off.  This is a normal thing.  And what did the asshole do?  He screamed,

“Oh yea! Take it off!”

I literally almost lost my shit.  I thought about saying something but then I was afraid I would be stuck next to them for the entire race and it would ruin my own experience so instead I sped up to get ahead of them and snarled in the dude’s ear as I passed,

“You’re a real fucking gem.”

He didn’t hear me because he was wearing headphones which he technically shouldn’t have been doing anyway but whatever.  I thought I was safe but then they caught up with me again and there was this guy wearing a tight pink running top and some capri running tights — not at all a weird outfit to see — and the fucking dude hit his friend in the arm, pointed at the guy and started quietly laughing at him.  I had half a mind to say,

“How dare you laugh at people who worked hard to get here. Who do you think you are?  Grow up.”

But I bit my tongue partially for the reason I mentioned before but also because I didn’t want the pink dude to overhear me scolding them and realize they were making fun of him and then feel self-conscious and therefore have a bad race.  I really wish I had written down his bib number so I could have written a letter to the race organizers.  Which I would have done and then shared with you all.  Oh well.  Hindsight.

And now for the good things!

1. I didn’t actually end up running with C. because she is fast and just cannot help herself from running fast.  She kicked butt in the race despite not being super well-trained for it.  What a talented jerk.

2.  There was music!  And some of it was really awesome and fun.  I loved the people who put huge stereos outside of their super cool Southern-looking houses.  What I didn’t love was the band stationed at the mile 3/7 mark who played the most unmotivating music ever.  Purple Rain?  Patience?  Really?  You need a runner friend to lend you their motivating playlist, band.

3.  C. and I did not become friends with either Kara or Shalane.  But I ran with my hands in my armpits anyway.  I am totally kidding.  Or am I?!

4.  I had a Bloody Mary (or two..).  Melvin shared this one with me:

IMG_04685.  In the afternoon, I went to a bar with my friend Carie and we had a vodka soda and then this ridiculous thing happened which made us mad.  There we were, minding our own business, sipping our insanely-strong vodka sodas with straws when some dude reaches between us where a candle was perched and goes

“I’m just gonna borrow a little light for our candle”

and proceeds to reach into my drink, grab one of my straws, and try to light it using our candle.  He took a straw with his filthy ass hands that he may or may not have washed right out of my drink!  Who the fuck does that?  When I objected by grabbing the straw out of his hand and telling him exactly how not okay it was that he did that he says, like a fucking dickwad would,

“Calm down, killer.”

Ugh!  Needless to say this sent Carie and I into “put a douche in his place” mode.  I will let you imagine how that went.

6.  I am still planning on watching the AT&T American Cup on Sunday (when will USA Gymnastics announce the competitor who is replacing Elizabeth Price for crying out loud?!) and I am still planning on writing a letter to NBC about their need to fire one or all of their commentators and replace them with Alicia Sacramone.

So, yea, that is pretty much that.  Oh, and to the person who came across my blog by searching the term “what melts dog poo” I hope that it answered your question which is nothing.  Nothing melts dog poo you stupid idiot.  Just pick it up.

*I would like to acknowledge the fact that while WordPress does recognize the word “ginormous” as being acceptable in the English language and therefore not in need of a red squiggly line underneath it, it does not feel the same way about the word “cardiovascularly” or its own company name.  Seems fishy to me.