Letter to Congress

As races are forced to postpone their event dates, one of the big threats our industry faces is chargebacks. Our industry’s potential credit crisis can be partially mitigated if credit card companies do not process chargebacks on races for as long as restrictions on events are in place.

Below is a draft of a letter that you can copy, paste, and customize to send to your state’s representative. You may also want to consider borrowing some of the language from the Events Federal Aid Package petition that can be found here, and making it specific to races. Here are some additional recommended tips from a former non-profit lobbyist:

  • In your letter, include personal stories and numbers. We’ve bolded several places below to help you emphasize the number of jobs you provide, the events you produce to bring your community together, etc.
  • After sending the email, call the representative’s office to follow up
  • Ask the office which aid in their office holds the relevant portfolio and ask for their contact info to follow up directly
  • Attempt to establish a person-to-person relationship

If you aren’t sure who your representatives are, you can use this search to find them. Each respresentative’s website should include options for contacting them: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

All senators’ contact information can be found (by state) here: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

For easy copy/paste to a new document, you can find the content here.

Dear CONGRESSMAN'S NAME, 

We are a small business located in CITY at ADDRESS that was founded in YEAR. We currently provide ## jobs to the CITY/COUNTY community and play a role in community events, including [LIST EVENTS].  

Tens of thousands of races - 5K’s, Half Marathons, Triathlons, etc. - across the country are being postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus. These races are produced by small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals as a way to bring communities together and promote healthy lifestyles. EXPLAIN HOW CORONAVIRUS HAS IMPACTED YOUR BUSINESS - USE NUMBERS AND DOLLAR AMOUNTS IF POSSIBLE.

A major problem our events, along with tens of thousands of others, have is that people who already registered for their races have the ability to do a “CHARGEBACK” through their credit card network. This process automatically refunds the customer, even though races plan to reschedule the event when they can or are offering other value to their participants like participating in the same event the following year. Because races have significant upfront costs that are non-recoverable (vendors, permits, etc.) and a complete halt of incoming revenue due to government bans on gatherings of more than 10 people, this puts the small businesses, individuals, and nonprofits who produce events in grave financial danger.

This is creating a credit crisis on the small business level that is not and cannot be addressed with SBA loans. The only way to stop the bleeding is to pass legislation that stops or postpones the ability of credit card holders to process a chargeback for these races. This can be done with direction to VISA, MASTERCARD, DISCOVER and AMERICAN EXPRESS to not approve chargebacks for MCC Code 7941 and 7999, which includes these types of races, or by exempting chargebacks through the ten largest race and event registration companies. 

This is the beginning of an inconceivably difficult time for the small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals who produce races. We need a way to prevent chargebacks during the crisis so that our industry can survive - these are the people who bring communities together in a healthy way, and we will need them more than ever on the other side of this crisis. If we can provide you more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely yours,
YOUR NAME
YOUR COMPANY AND YOUR TITLE
YOUR PHONE NUMBER
YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS

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