Next time you sign up for a tournament, check the fine print. Somewhere, usually in the middle of the last paragraph, hidden among all the disclaimers, is an interesting statement. It usually reads something like – “No refunds after the deadline date.” That is the exact wording for the tournament I am currently signed up for. The tournament is on the 28th of August. The deadline is August 20th. No matter what happens in those eight days, I will never…never ever, get my money back. USATT won’t listen to your grievance unless you’re willing to pay $250 to be heard. No way! No how!
The following conversation is true. It never actually took place. It’s more like… true in a universal way. It could have happened. Parts of it may have happened. Okay. It feels true. There might be some truth in it somewhere. If you ever tried to wrestle your entry fee away from a tournament director, it will seem like the absolute truth.
Loyal USATT Member – Hello Bob. I know it’s only a week before the tournament but I’m not going to be able to make it.
Tournament Director – Damn it Bill. You know you’re signed up for five different events. We’ve already set up the draws. We’ll have to completely redo it. If you don’t show up, nobody will be there for hard bat. You know that would be a gold medal for you.
Loyal USATT Member – I know. I was really looking forward to coming, but you see… I’ve been shot.
Tournament Director – You’ve been shot?
Loyal USATT Member – Last night at league, I kept insisting that this new guy toss the ball up when he served. Later that night, he pulled a pistol and shot me three times in the arm.
Tournament Director – Which arm?
Loyal USATT Member – My right arm.
Tournament Director – But, you’re left handed.
Loyal USATT Member – I just can’t make it Saturday. I’ve lost a lot of blood.
Tournament Director – Fine. But you know, this is the second time you’ve dropped out of a tournament.
Loyal USATT Member – That was twenty years ago, and my grandmother died.
Tournament Director – Oh. Well, sorry to hear about your grandmother.
Loyal USATT Member – There’s one more thing. I really need to get my entry fee refunded. I expect I will be out of work for a while.
Tournament Director – You know the deadline for withdrawing was three days ago.
Loyal USATT Member – I know; but I thought you might consider an exception since I’m still in the ICU.
Tournament Director – I don’t think so. That’s a really slippery slope. If I give you a refund, what’s to stop somebody who only got shot twice from asking for one.
Loyal USATT Member – I’m begging you Bob! It would mean a lot. I’ve always been there to help out the club. I’m a silver level sponsor, for God’s sake!
Tournament Director – Silver level? Listen. I can’t be bought. But, if you were to become a gold level sponsor, I think you could get the gold level discount for our Fall tournament.
Loyal USATT Member – Unbelievable! Is the club really hurting so bad that you can’t ever give refunds?
Tournament Director – The club is doing great, but we’re looking to acquire a full time facility. After this tournament, we’ll be less than a million dollars away from our goal. Your $155.00 will help. Every penny counts, you know.
Loyal USATT Member – So, there’s no situation, no circumstance, no possibility of anyone ever getting an entry fee refunded?
Tournament Director – I can’t imagine one. Hey! I’ve got to go. It looks like we’ve got another new player. This customer service stuff just never ends. Hope to see you at the Fall round robin.