Earlier this year, well about 6 weeks ago I signed up for the much advertised Active Advantage. There were two driving factors, an additional 25% discount on schwaggle.com and the waiving of the “processing fee” that you are charged when registering for races on active.com.
In the last 12 months my race sign ups have obviously shifted from ultras to triathlons and with that the shift to using active.com race registration instead of more localized sites such as race360.com and ultrasignup.com. Added to which that a triathlon registration is expensive; a “small” Sprint race can cost $100, an IM branded 70.3 is around $275 and a full IM is around $675 so any opportunity to save $10 or $20 here or there soon adds up especially when you are signing up for 5-6 races in a year, it almost become a case of buy 5 get one free.
The initial cost was $1.99 for the first month and another $59.95 for the rest of the year after 30 days “trial”. My trail ended and my Visa was charged. Since paying my $59.95 and signing up to activeadvantage.com schwaggle.com was retired and is now powered by Left Lane Sports under the banner of activegearup.com Left Lane is an online broker of discounted gear. Both outlets had been around for a while and I have actually purchased several things through schwaggle in the last year whereas I have never purchased anything from Left Lane, I even have their app on my iPhone and receive a daily email from them but their selection is too broad for me they cover a lot of outdoor sports including; climbing, skating and surfing and these things are not any interest to me.
The really only left one compelling reason for the membership which was the waived processing fees. With that in mind I signed up for IMSG and had $10 waived. This week I went to sign up for the Desert Tri in March, it’s a work up race for IMSG. It was my first triathlon ever earlier this year…if you remember I had a disastrous swim. I had toyed with doing both the Sprint and International (Olympic) distances, the former as some form of redemption and the latter as training, but given the combined cost of nearly $200 plus travel and accommodation and the fact that 2013 is not a cheap race year already I decided that redemption can wait.
So to active.com I went in search of the race and registration, it was easy to find and it was advertised as “Save on this event”, great I thought another $10 saved. If you click on this link it takes you to the Active Advantage sign up page!
I went through the sign process but the waived processing fee would not show when I went to check out, I tried it several times and I couldn’t get it to work?!!?
The open window is what pops up when you click on the “?” by Processing Fee
I opened a help ticket with them and got an email back asking me to call them, which I did. After some discussion I was advised that the race did not participate in the processing fee waiver and I had to pay it. I questioned that they were advertising it as such? The Customer Service Rep told me that nearly all events are advertised with it but not every event participates! It wasn’t her fault but I was upset as this is really a case of double dipping, I pay for the “Advantage” but I don’t get it.
It was at that point that I cancelled my membership and today I was refunded my $59.99…the whole experience has been rather tasteless and in the end I saved $8.00 which I probably spent in time writing to them and being on the phone!
Don’t get me wrong, I get it that these companies are in business to make money…what I disagree with is their methods; falsely representing the discount is just plain wrong.
I’ll save any more rants and raves on this issue and leave you with active.com own words “In 2011, 205 million people attended 1.8 million meetings at a total cost of $263 billion in direct spending in the United States alone” all I can say is that’s a lot of $10 processing fees!
As for the Desert Tri, my processing fee was the price of a quick look at the race website and a stamp!