Is an entry form for a race, event or tour a contract? Maybe (it’s a legal answer!)

It depends on what the agreement says and what you agree too. I.e what is a contract?

This issue popped up when the New York City Marathon was canceled because of Hurricane Sandy. See Is A Race Entry a Contract? The issue in that discussion was whether or not the entry fees would or could be refunded.

Instead of looking at dozens of entry forms let’s look at how you can determine whether you have created a contract or not with your entry form.

First: You should have a release for your event. Your release should not be part of your entry form or entry contract. This also separates the known contract, the release from what you are making. If you do not want to have a contract, then separating it from the release will assist in this goal.

Second: Are you making promises which the entrants are going to rely upon? Are you expecting the entrants to rely upon your statements or promises? The promises have to be important, substantial and something that you can do or would be expected by your guests or entrants.

See If you make a promise to attract participants, you must come through on your promises.

Third: Have your created a contract?

Was there an offer to enter a contract? If you give me money, I’ll give you a race/tour/event usually meets that requirement. Is there an acceptance of the offer? Again if the participants pay their money, they have accepted your offer.

Most times the offer is pretty easy. Advertising, websites or brochures are offers. Acceptance is equally easy, a credit card or check along with the information required in the offer (entry form) are completed.

Is there a meeting of the minds? Do both sides of the agreement agree there is an agreement, a contract? Do both sides understand what they are giving and getting by entering the contract? Is there consideration, money or something of value flowing between the parties?

In a race example, the race organizer is offering a race, t-shirt, prizes for winners and maybe aid stations. If that offer is accepted by the racer paying the entry fee and signing any required form or contract. The entrant gets a race, and the race organizer gets a participant.

Both sides must have the legal capacity to contract. This means that both sides cannot be minors, and both sides must be competent. Legally competent is defined by state law; however, in general this is a very low threshold test.

The sole issue of whether or not there is a contract is the issue of whether the parties intend to be legally bound by the terms of the agreement. Either side can argue that it was not a contract, the side not wanting to be bound by a contract. The other side will want the agreement to be a contract. However, in most cases there is a presumption that if the other issues outlined above are met there is a contract between the parties.

The original question posed in the article was whether or not people would get their money back. If the contract said the entry fee was non-refundable, then no. If there was a contract between the parties, and it was silent as to whether of the entry fees were refundable, then the courts would look to the usage in the industry. Honestly, this could be a toss-up or no. The organizer would argue the money was spent and cannot be refunded.

Do Something

1.     Separate your release from your entry agreement.

2.     Determine whether you want your entry to be a contract or not.

3.     Make sure you understand what promises you are making with or without a contract and make sure you fulfill those promises.

For more articles about contracts see:

Athlete Contracts; as a manufacture do you need one?                        

Plaintiff raised argument in work/team building situation that they were forced to sign release

What do you think? Leave a comment.

If you like this let your friends know or post it on FaceBook, Twitter or LinkedIn

Copyright 2012 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law


Twitter: RecreationLaw

Facebook: Rec.Law.Now

Facebook Page: Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Travel Law


Mobile Site:

By Recreation Law   James H. Moss                  Jim Moss

#RecreationLaw, #@RecreationLaw, #Cycling.Law #Fitness.Law, #Ski.Law, #Outside.Law, #Recreation.Law,, #Outdoor Law, #Recreation Law, #Outdoor Recreation Law, #Adventure Travel Law, #law, #Travel Law, #Jim Moss, #James H. Moss, #Attorney at Law, #Tourism, #Adventure Tourism, #Rec-Law, #Rec-Law Blog, #Recreation Law, #Recreation Law Blog, #Risk Management, #Human Powered, #Human Powered Recreation,# Cycling Law, #Bicycling Law, #Fitness Law,, #Backpacking, #Hiking, #Mountaineering, #Ice Climbing, #Rock Climbing, #Ropes Course, #Challenge Course, #Summer Camp, #Camps, #Youth Camps, #Skiing, #Ski Areas, #Negligence, #Snowboarding, #RecreationLaw, #@RecreationLaw, #Cycling.Law #Fitness.Law, #SkiLaw, #Outside.Law, #Recreation.Law,, #OutdoorLaw, #RecreationLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #AdventureTravelLaw, #Law, #TravelLaw, #JimMoss, #JamesHMoss, #AttorneyatLaw, #Tourism, #AdventureTourism, #RecLaw, #RecLawBlog, #RecreationLawBlog, #RiskManagement, #HumanPowered, #HumanPoweredRecreation,# CyclingLaw, #BicyclingLaw, #FitnessLaw,, #Backpacking, #Hiking, #Mountaineering, #IceClimbing, #RockClimbing, #RopesCourse, #ChallengeCourse, #SummerCamp, #Camps, #YouthCamps, #Skiing, #Ski Areas, #Negligence, #Snowboarding, sport and recreation laws, ski law, cycling law, Colorado law, law for recreation and sport managers, bicycling and the law, cycling and the law, ski helmet law, skiers code, skiing accidents, Recreation Lawyer, Ski Lawyer, Paddlesports Lawyer, Cycling Lawyer, Recreational Lawyer, Fitness Lawyer, Rec Lawyer, Challenge Course Lawyer, Ropes Course Lawyer, Zip Line Lawyer, Rock Climbing Lawyer, Adventure Travel Lawyer, Outside Lawyer, Recreation Lawyer, Ski Lawyer, Paddlesports Lawyer, Cycling Lawyer, #RecreationalLawyer, #FitnessLawyer, #RecLawyer, #ChallengeCourseLawyer, #RopesCourseLawyer, #ZipLineLawyer, #RockClimbingLawyer, #AdventureTravelLawyer, #OutsideLawyer, Entry Form, Offer, Acceptance, Contract, Legal Capacity, Marathon, New York City Marathon,

WordPress Tags: event,Maybe,agreement,York,Marathon,Hurricane,Sandy,Race,Entry,Contract,discussion,Instead,dozens,goal,Second,entrants,statements,guests,participants,Third,money,requirement,acceptance,Again,Most,brochures,card,information,example,organizer,shirt,winners,racer,entrant,participant,Both,minors,threshold,Either,presumption,article,usage,industry,Separate,Determine,Make,Athlete,Contracts,Plaintiff,argument,team,situation,XiKRug,Leave,FaceBook,Twitter,LinkedIn,Recreation,Edit,Email,RecreationLaw,Page,Outdoor,Adventure,Travel,Blog,Mobile,Site,Outside,Moss,James,Attorney,Tourism,Risk,Management,Human,Rock,Ropes,Course,Challenge,Summer,Camp,Camps,Youth,Areas,Negligence,SkiLaw,OutdoorLaw,OutdoorRecreationLaw,AdventureTravelLaw,TravelLaw,JimMoss,JamesHMoss,AttorneyatLaw,AdventureTourism,RecLaw,RecLawBlog,RecreationLawBlog,RiskManagement,HumanPoweredRecreation,CyclingLaw,BicyclingLaw,FitnessLaw,RopesCourse,ChallengeCourse,SummerCamp,YouthCamps,Colorado,managers,helmet,accidents,Lawyer,Paddlesports,Recreational,Line,RecreationalLawyer,FitnessLawyer,RecLawyer,ChallengeCourseLawyer,RopesCourseLawyer,ZipLineLawyer,RockClimbingLawyer,AdventureTravelLawyer,OutsideLawyer,Form,Offer,Legal,whether,upon,refundable


Have a Comment? Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.