Spartan Postpones for Sixth Time! Can I Get a Refund?

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It’s Happened Again

Spartan Auckland has postponed… AGAIN!

Scheduled for November 25-27 2022, the event has now been postponed two weeks to December 9-11 2022.

While this most recent postponement is only a two week shift in dates, it’s a last-minute change right in the busy December/Christmas period. This has left some participants not able to make the new dates, or has left some out of pocket over travel and accommodation costs, at a busy holiday time when rebooking travel and accommodation last minute is a difficult and costly task.

This most recent postponement repeats a pattern of behaviour for the Auckland event – this is its sixth postponement. Spartan was originally scheduled for July 2020. Unfortunately it was postponed to July 2021, then again to October 2021, then again to November 2021, then again to May 2022, then again November 2022, and now to December 2022.

Throughout these postponements Spartan has become notorious for not offering refunds to any of its affected participants.

Can I Get a Refund?

Firstly, let’s look at the Spartan’s terms and conditions.

Their website states:

“Spartan Australia does not offer refunds under any circumstances.”

Digging into the fine print, their full T&Cs state:

“Subject to applicable laws, I, on behalf of myself, and/or my Child or Children, agree and acknowledge that no refunds of any monies, insurance or entry/participation fees will be offered or payable in any circumstances no matter what the reason, including due to non-use, cancellation, failure to participate or dissatisfaction by me or my Child or Children.”

Spartan makes it clear that it does not offer refunds… for any reason!

However, in the case of event postponements Consumer NZ’s chief executive Jon Duffy has said that “you should be entitled to a refund if the new date doesn’t suit.” Furthermore, the Government’s Consumer Protection website advises, “If a show or event is postponed and the new date doesn’t suit you, you may be able to claim a refund.”

So, Can I Get a Refund?

If you’re fed up with Spartan’s constant postponing, here’re some steps that may help you get a refund:

1 ) Contact Spartan. Start with contacting Spartan’s customer service team. However, not many people have had luck with this as Spartan, throughout their six postponements, have become notorious for bluntly reminding anyone who contacts them that the T&Cs they signed upon registration mean they can’t get a refund under any circumstances.

2 ) Contact your bank. You may be able to get a refund from your bank, or a charge back from your card provider. A charge back is when money paid to a retailer for an item is reversed out of its account and refunded to yours. You can apply for a chargeback if you paid for a good or service by credit or debit card.

3 ) Contact the Disputes Tribunal. The Disputes Tribunal is an informal forum that focuses on disputes regarding smaller amounts of money or property. It’s quicker, cheaper and less formal than court, and any decisions it makes are legally binding. There is a $45 filing fee and you will need to attend a hearing.

4 ) Contact the Commerce Commission. There is a possibility that Spartan’s refund policy may be in breach of NZ law. The Fair Trading Act 1986 protects NZ consumers against unfair terms of a consumer contract. The Commerce Commission can take action to stop a business from using an unfair term in a standard form consumer contract. So alternatively to step 3, or along with step 3, you may want to contact the Commission, as their role is to protect consumers in NZ against unfair trading. They can apply to a court to have a contract term declared unfair.

UPDATE 22/11/22: We’ve added two more potential steps below which may help to bring more exposure to Spartan’s refusal to refund affected ticketholders.

5 ) Contact Fair Go. Fair Go is a New Zealand TV show which features a mix of investigative journalism and consumer affairs stories, based on the motto: “If you’ve been ripped off, short-changed or given the runaround and nobody wants to know…we do!” Fair Go may be able to investigate and bring exposure to the issue.

6 ) Contact Spartan’s sponsors and partners. They not only provide funding or other support to Spartan but they’ve also linked their own brand image to the brand image of Spartan, and so may be keen to learn about complaints Spartan’s ticket holders have. The Auckland partners are listed on Spartan’s website. They are (in order of appearance in the image below): the New Zealand Obstacle Sports Association, Auckland Unlimited, Fireball Whisky, Les Mills, and Musashi. Spartan’s venue, Barry Curtis Park, is managed by the Auckland Council.

Spartan Auckland's partners

Have you been declined a refund from Spartan? Or have you had success with receiving a refund? Send us a private message, or let us know in the comments, about what sort of customer service you’ve received from Spartan.

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