Parents who registered their daughters for softball camps in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma and California are complaining to Better Business Bureau that they have been unable to obtain refunds after the camps were canceled earlier this year.
BBB advises caution when dealing with the organizer of the camps, Andrew C. Heifner of Chesterfield, or his company, Legit Softball LLC.
The parents said they paid $190 to $295 to register their daughters for the camps, which were supposed to be held in June and early July. More than 100 high school-age girls may have been registered. In a recent email to one of the parents, Heifner acknowledged that he owes more than $8,000 as a result of the cancellations, but it appears that the actual amount may be significantly higher.
“The $8,000 would be a good start to get more people taken care of,” Heifner said in the email.
BBB began receiving complaints against Heifner, Legit Softball LLC and Gateway to the Next Level Softball Camp in mid-July. A parent from Lubbock, Texas, said he has been unable to obtain a $195 refund from Heifner since he was notified on June 11 that the camp in San Antonio had been canceled. “I want my money now,” he said.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said the parents have a right to be concerned.
“These parents paid for camps that never took place,” Corey said. “Continuing delays in making refunds is simply wrong.”
Heifner has not responded to a phone call or email from BBB. But in a series of emails to a parent in Dallas, Texas, he called the situation “a big mess. I’m a coach and on the wrong side holding the bucket on a bad business model that went terribly wrong.”
Heifner said, “I have every intention of making this right. There is NO email scam going on. We have executed 18 successful camps, and it was always my intention to have the camps. Trust me on that one.”
The camps were promoted as opportunities for the players to work on their skills and meet college coaches. The camps were scheduled in San Antonio and Houston, Texas; Broken Arrow, Okla.; Palmdale, Calif. and East Peoria, Ill.
Heifner notified many of the registrants that the camps had been canceled “due to low registration.” He said at that time that “all money will be refunded within 30 days.”
Heifner registered Legit Softball LLC with the Missouri secretary of state in June 2012.
A friend and former associate of Heifner said Heifner’s “heart was in the right place” in running the camps, but “he got behind the eight-ball.”
A mother from Lake Elsinore, Calif., said she is still awaiting her $200 refund after learning on June 7 that her daughter’s camp in Palmdale, Calif., had been canceled. “It sounds like this guy just took us for a ride,” she said. “I’m sure I will never see that money again. He’s done this to God knows how many families. This man needs to be stopped.”
A father from Dallas, Texas, said he is still awaiting his $220 refund after cancellation of his daughter’s camp that was set to be held June 20 in East Peoria, Ill. “His reputation is done,” he said of Heifner. “He’s not going to be able to do this any more.”
Another father from Dallas said he paid Heifner $295 that has not been refunded. In an email to Heifner, the father said, “I understand that things can snowball, but I hope you would agree that this situation is way out of hand.”
BBB offers the following advice for parents considering sports camps for their children:
Research the business and owner or owners carefully before paying any upfront fees. Check out the company’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org or by calling (314) 645-3300.
Ask for references and contact them. Ask about fees and payment deadlines, refundability on deposits, extra charges for activities and whether meals and transportation are offered.