Let Joe Know: Check all offers before paying up-front - East Valley Tribune: Business

Let Joe Know: Check all offers before paying up-front

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ABC15 Investigator Joe Ducey is Arizona’s consumer alert expert. Watch his reports weekdays on ABC15 at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., and email him with questions or news tips anytime at jducey@abc15.com.

Posted: Saturday, November 9, 2013 8:52 am

While racing fans are in the Valley for NASCAR this weekend, one fan says he’s frustrated with his racing experience.

Jimmy Sutton signed up with the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure for a day of racing at Phoenix International Raceway.

It was supposed to take place this past September.

Sutton paid around $1,100 for he and his brother-in-law. And he says it’s worth it.

“You’re racing actual NASCARs. They are cars that have been raced in the last couple of years in the Nationwide series and Spring Cup series.”

So Sutton got time off and booked non-refundable hotel rooms.

Then he says, the racing adventure took a turn and told him his dates had to be rescheduled.

Sutton says the business told him the racetrack double booked. They offered him a voucher towards a future date.

“I explained to them that was not acceptable and asked for my money back,” Sutton said.

He says he didn’t get a promised call back and he didn’t get any money, so he disputed the charge with his credit card company.

Then Sutton did some digging.

He called Phoenix International Raceway and asked what happened with his September dates.

Sutton received a letter from the raceway saying it wasn’t a double-booking problem. The letter says, “the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure did not have contracted track rental dates” anytime during 2013.

We caught up with racing champ Dale Jarrett himself in town for the NASCAR events.

The business website with Jarrett’s name says, “he remains closely involved with the workings of the company.”

While Jarrett didn’t know about Sutton’s situation, he did say that sometimes things fall through the cracks.

“Normally it would be a situation immediately we would go back and get those dates and someone failed to do their job there, and that will happen,” Jarrett told me.

He said that vouchers for a future date are offered first, and if the customer does want a refund, the business makes an effort to get that done quickly. He apologized if it took too long.

After we contacted the company’s North Carolina headquarters, we received an email where the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure admitted “a contract (for the Phoenix track) was never received nor was it followed up on.”

They say they agreed to give Sutton’s money back.

But they say, “the same day his refund was processed, we received a dispute letter (from the credit card processor). It took a few days to actually refund the money.”

In the end, Sutton did get his $1,100 refunded to his account.

And he says the experience didn’t sour him on future racing experiences.

In fact, Sutton was able to race the September weekend he wanted with the racing school that did contract with Phoenix International Raceway for the time.

The Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure says its common to sell dates and not have a contract with a raceway.

And they do have a contract for February dates at Phoenix International Raceway.

But, I would say before booking anything like this with any business, make sure to call the venue where the event is scheduled.

Check it out before paying anything.

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