KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Everyone may be smiling in the photos on the Ultimate Wine Run's website -- but its customers in Kansas City aren't among them.
"I don't care if it was $5 or $5,000," said Suzee Mellott who signed up for the run that was supposed to be held last fall. "I want my refund."
Mellott said she is out about $80. Organizers canceled the race one week before the event. Months later, the promised refunds are still unpaid.
Frustration with the Ultimate Wine Run and organizer Aaron Scott extend far beyond Kansas City, according to the Better Business Bureau.
"We've received complaints about him (Scott), scam tracker reports about him, emails from places all over the country Denver, Houston from all points," said BBB spokesman Aaron Reese.
There's even a Facebook page called Ultimate Wine Run Truth that's filled with postings from people demanding refunds. Reese said it's not just the multiple canceled runs that are problematic, but also the charity that the Ultimate Wine Run was supposedly supporting. It's called The Achieving My Dreams Foundation.
"We couldn't find any active programs they were doing or active postings," Reese said. "As nearly as we could tell they (the charity) stopped operating a year before the race was supposed to be held."
That's just one of the reasons the BBB gave the Ultimate Wine Run an "F" rating. But that didn't stop the Ultimate Wine Run from scheduling a new race for this May at Berkeley Riverfront Park. It told the park it was under new management and had a new name the WorldWide PUSH Foundation. Plus the race would raise money to help low-income high school students afford college.
But FOX 4 Problem Solver did some digging and discovered that the Worldwide PUSH Foundation was created by -- you guessed it -- Aaron Scott. And that charity the race was supposed to be supporting. It's his too. After learning the news, Berkeley Riverfront Park officials ordered Scott to stop advertising the event.
"If you owe money to the people of Kansas City, Missouri, you will not have a race here," said Jenny Chronister, who manages the scheduling of most races in the city, although not the ones at Berkeley Park.
Chronister said runners should be wary whenever a new races pops up from a new company. Chronister said another red flag regarding the race was the $70-85 entry fee.
"If you think the race fee is really high -- anything over $40 -- you really want to look at that," she said.
By the way, the same people behind the Ultimate Wine Run also are behind Margarita Madness. That's another race that has multiple cancellations.
After FOX 4 Problem Solvers got involved, Mellott finally did get her refund. However, no one from the Ultimate Wine Run -- including Aaron Scott -- ever returned emails or phone calls from Problem Solvers seeking comment about their canceled races and lack of refunds.