5 On Your Side

Man Fights for Refund After Grandson's Camp Canceled

Posted January 3, 2008 5:30 p.m. EST
Updated January 4, 2008 11:51 a.m. EST

— Christopher Ewell, 11, can play a little basketball.

“I want to go to the NBA one day and high school and stuff, so I need to start now,” he said.

That's why Christopher’s grandfather, Bobby Joe Ewell, registered him for basketball camp last summer.

“To improve his basketball skills is the main thing, you know,” Ewell said.

He found the Higher Learning Basketball Academy - a camp run by Shaw University Coach and former Duke star Robert Brickey. The camp was scheduled for last June.

“The name ‘Brickey’ gave me confidence that this was good,” Ewell said.

He registered online through Active.com.

“[I] signed up for it, paid for it online and went up there on the 18th and no one was there,” Ewell said.

“I feel like I was about to cry,” Christopher said, remembering the day.

It turned out, the camp was canceled. Ewell said he repeatedly contacted Brickey for a refund of the $225 registration fee.

At one point, Brickey e-mailed Ewell saying Active.com had not yet sent him Ewell's payment, but that he would "rectify" the situation as soon as possible.

After waiting a month, Ewell again e-mailed Brickey who said he was still working on it. Eventually, after more e-mails to Brickey, Ewell contacted Active.com himself and was told the company sent Brickey checks.

“I think there's a disconnect between them and Brickey. That's all,” Ewell said. “It's a big chunk of money. I want it back. That's why I called you up. That's why I went through you to say hey, maybe you can lend a hand to get my money back.”

So 5 on Your Side called Active.com and Brickey. Active officials said one of two refund checks they sent to Brickey was never cashed. They offered to cancel the un-cashed check and re-issue a new one.

Brickey did not return 5 on Your Side’s calls, but immediately sent Ewell a check for $225. So now, Christopher can hopefully hone his skills at a different camp next summer.

Since Ewell paid by credit card, he could have disputed the charge with his credit card company. He probably would have received a refund sooner. However, most credit card companies require customers to initiate that dispute within 60 days after the first bill containing the error was mailed.