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  1. #1
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    Sponsorship obilgations.....

    I need opinions...A rider on our MTB team signed a contract to do two MTB series as per our core team requirements, in return, we and our sponsors(Cannondale, Ritchey,Shimano)provided this rider with a 2003 frame, fork/hub free of charge. He also received parts and services at greatly reduced prices(less than EP). This rider did not even finish one series, then decided to quit the team before the season was even over. Now he can't understand why we want the goodies back, per the contract he signed ! We have even offered him three more than generous options 1. Give the frame/fork/hub back, no questions asked, 2. Pay us a small fee for those items, or 3. We will pay you for the whole bike. What are your opinions ? Should we take him to court ?, or let the matter drop ?

  2. #2
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    It depends...

    What's in the contract? If you set the contract such that he would need to race in order to keep the parts, you do have a right to ask for these things back. If it's not in the contract, you could still ask for them back, but it will be a lot more difficult to fight in court.

    Regardless, I think he should have made a good faith effort to race- I think it was understood that he received these goodies from you guys to race. If he doesn't race, it looks to me as though there was no good faith effort on his part to even try to hold up his end of the contract.

    It also sounds as though he doesn't want to give back the parts or pay back even one small part of what he allegedly owes, even though you guys have made a generoous counteroffer for the goods. This doesn't smell good to me.

    Your next step would practically be to take this to court. In the state of Illinois, I believe you have to have claims in excess of $50,000 for the big time court. Otherwise, you'll have to go to small claims court. It's pretty easy to file there- just go to the small claims court and fill out the paperwork for the appropriate amount of the loss of your goods, then pay a sheriff to serve paperwork on the rider. Be sure to have all your proof and evidence of the contract, plus the proof of his non-racing, and the subsequent negotiations and good faith efforts you made to resolve this.

    I'm not sure if we can tell you what you need to do. If the cost of small claims court exceeds what you paid this dude, I say drop it and let it go. Just let it be known to everyone else in the industry what this guy's MO is- he'll never get sponsorship again, and that will hurt him financially in the long run. If the cost of pursuing the matter is less than the cost of the materials the guy has, then go for it! You always want to be able to come out ahead, and you don't want to lose more money than you've already invested. The good part about small claims court is that a lawyer is not necessary, so you can file the paperwork yourself and save a lot of expense. So it may be worth it to pursue this matter, once you take out the lawyer factor.

    Good luck, and can you keep us informed on how things work out for you?

    Koffee

  3. #3
    BFSSFG old timer riderx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toorad
    We have even offered him three more than generous options 1. Give the frame/fork/hub back, no questions asked, 2. Pay us a small fee for those items, or 3. We will pay you for the whole bike.
    I would not have even offered option 3. I say notify him you are taking him to court. Then file in small claims. I suspect once that's done, he'll be willing to rethink the options you offered.

    Also, if this is a shop team or you are affiliated with a shop, I'd put up a "wanted" poster with his picture on it and his "crimes". Post in the front shop window. Nothing like a little public humiliation to make people rethink their obligations!
    Single Speed Outlaw
    Riding Bikes and Drinking Beer.

  4. #4
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    Thanx for your opinion....Yes, it was stated in the contract that he should return any items he received if he did not fulfill that contract, and our contracts are legal and binding.....I guess it's a question of ethics more than anything else...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by riderx
    I would not have even offered option 3. I say notify him you are taking him to court. Then file in small claims. I suspect once that's done, he'll be willing to rethink the options you offered.

    Also, if this is a shop team or you are affiliated with a shop, I'd put up a "wanted" poster with his picture on it and his "crimes". Post in the front shop window. Nothing like a little public humiliation to make people rethink their obligations!
    We are a factory sponsored team with several members who are currently serving on our state MTB advocacy board, including myself. Once this mess gets out in the open, who's going to look more foolish ?

  6. #6
    BFSSFG old timer riderx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toorad
    We are a factory sponsored team with several members who are currently serving on our state MTB advocacy board, including myself. Once this mess gets out in the open, who's going to look more foolish ?
    Well, I don't think you or your team will look foolish considering you held up your end of the contract and have made valid efforts to resolve things in a more than friendly manner. So, regardless of whether you want to display a "wanted" poster or not, I would not be concerned about the "mess getting out in the open". Your hands are clean, you sound like you have acted professionally and I'm sure there are plenty of other teams that have dealt with guys like this in the past. What I would be more worried about would be if you just let this guy get away with it and word got out about that. Other people would be more likely to pull the same thing. Current team members may then feel slighted, like they had to put forth more to get their "loot".

    Ultimately, you know all the details best and will most likely make the right decision based on what's important for your organization.
    Single Speed Outlaw
    Riding Bikes and Drinking Beer.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toorad
    Thanx for your opinion....Yes, it was stated in the contract that he should return any items he received if he did not fulfill that contract, and our contracts are legal and binding.....I guess it's a question of ethics more than anything else...
    There is nothing unethical about holding someone to their end of an agreement. If anything, I would tell you to pursue it now more than ever knowing that it's in the contract. You have to be a hardass sometimes when it comes to business, and at least if you do, you won't get some other lame-o rider coming in to take advantage. I would think if you didn't pursue it, other riders would think you guys would be naive enough to pay for them too, and they'd do the same thing. Pretty soon, you're known as the guys giving away the free bikes, and no one takes you seriously.

    One thing I was always thankful about when I was in the business world was that I would go ape on someone's ass in a minute if they crossed me- our attorney was also part of the company, so the threat of crossing our company was always there, which made people keep on the straight and narrow when dealing with us. But before we got hardened and all about the business, people were walking all over us, and it got pretty embarrassing before we got our act together. Now I'm retired, so I'm a softie all over again...

    Koffee

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jim311's Avatar
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    Just kick his ass for being a jerk who doesn't realize that there are tons of us out there who would love to get paid to ride.
    My money pits:

    Cannondale Jekyll 500 with Avid Mechs and Sun DS2 rims with XT disc hubs.

    Cannondale F900 with SRAM XO shifters/derailler, Mavic X3.1 tubeless wheels, Avid Mechs, Race Face Next LP cranks, Time ATAC pedals, SRAM levers.

  9. #9
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    Good news......

    Our soon to be sued rider sent the frame/fork/hub back via UPS, and it arrived in excellant condition. I believe he must have talked to a lawyer concerning the situation, and was advised to return the product, or he would lose in small claims. Thanx for the opinions guys....

  10. #10
    Crank Crushing Redneck SamDaBikinMan's Avatar
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    They need a stern lesson in personal responsibility. Take him to court if he does not cooperate.

    I would tell him to return the goodies for a free walk away pass. Otherwise sue for the goodies and all services he took advantage of while on the team, including shop charges. He did not meet his obligation and it was not due to injury.

    This kind of crap makes me sick.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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