The event launched last fall as Muddy Muggle, and later became Muddy Mortal, cancelled all events and ceased operations as of this afternoon. Obstacle Racing Media has been looking into the validity of these events since late June, when we began to receive questions from consumers looking for answers from “postponed events”.
Event owner Jamie Guined launched FitGeek Events in late 2016 and began advertising their events in several cities. Each location event promised a weekend of activity including an obstacle race, costume contest, and several other Harry Potter themed events. (Full disclosure, ORM was paid for advertising Muddy Mortal’s calendar of events up until April of this year.)
The first Muddy Mortals were to take place this spring/summer in Dallas, Seattle, Temecula, and Flagstaff. Each event location was “postponed” by the event organizers for a variety of reasons.
Consumers were justifiably upset and began to ask for refunds. FitGeek Events created a form for participants to fill out in order to get their money back. Jamie Guined and FitGeek Eventes asked those that filled out the form to wait up to 90 days to receive that refund.
We reached out to Jamie at this point to find out the future plans for her company. She wrote back:
As we stated in our previous email reply:
1) We have not “cancelled” any of our currently scheduled events, but due to circumstances beyond our control, we did have to postpone the first events.
2) All registered participants for the affected events have received communication from our company regarding their alternatives (including refunds, transfers, etc. on a case-by-case basis).
Thank you for sending along the questions for our review so we had an opportunity to ensure that the correct information was published, rather than adding to the ongoing false information and libel.
At the same time, Muddy Mortal closed registration on many of the events on the EventBee registration platform, and posted that they were looking for a new registration partner.
The next event was to take place August 11-13th at Colorado Off Road Extreme Park (CORE). We received word from CORE late on Sunday August 6th that Jamie Guined had not made final payment for the venue, and was looking to again postpone the weekend events. Word began circulating quickly about these new revelations on social media.
By 11:00 am this morning, the Muddy Mortal Facebook page was down, Muddy Mortal’s website took down all of their events, and Jamie Guined had removed her LinkedIn page.
As of 7:00pm, the following message was available on the Muddy Mortal website:
Sadly, this is not the first time event owners have attempted to defraud customers with false promises. Many have experienced similar issues with Lozilu, or other fly by night themed races. The good news is that there is recourse for many through your bank or credit card company. A former bank claims department member in the racing community, Jeremy Lopez-Decot, gave specific language to use. He told us:
Please note you do NOT want to use the word “Fraud” … Fraud means a purchase that you did not initiate. Since you gave your card information to Muddy Mortal, this would be called a merchant dispute. You need to be honest that you indeed gave over your information but that the services promised were not delivered. You want to do this as soon as possible as there are time limits for you to be able to make a claim with the bank.
While many may not receive refunds, and many more are upset about a promised experience that never happened, we want to point out something you may not have thought of. Many of you helped shut this event down and saved hundreds or even thousands of victims a similar fate. Once upon a time, a company could continue to defraud people for months or years, even in the Facebook Age, because there wasn’t enough cross country chatter. By refusing to be quiet, or “only speaking positive” when something didn’t feel right, you helped speed up the process to put this company out of business.
A quick final note, we at ORM have received several phone calls and emails about people who were are aware of previous fraudulent activity by event owner Jamie Guined. We are currently pursuing this larger story. If you have any information about Jamie or any of these events, please reach out to us as soon as possible.