Do You Know What You’re Signing Up For?

2013-10-09T16:00:24+00:00 October 9th, 2013|Sports Management|

Do you get solicited for offers that you simply did not ask for or opt-in to receive, or find “surprise” charges on your credit card bill? Also, do you wonder how telemarketers found your phone number and how they knew something specific about you?

Many corporations make it their business to acquire names, phone numbers, and as much personal information as possible to fuel their marketing campaigns. Believe it or not, signing up for that next road race or your child for soccer might be one of the ways this information is acquired.  Before you sign up for sports, it is important that you know exactly what you are signing up for, and how your personal information will be used.

Buyer beware!

Even sports parents should keep this in mind when they sign up themselves or their children for sports programs or events. Completing your online registration might also be signing you up for things you did not expect. There are real examples of this going very wrong.

In September, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced a $252,167.42 agreement with The Active Network Inc., a San Diego-based company that operates Active.com to resolve allegations that it enrolled unknowing Iowans in a membership program. “We allege that when many consumers registered online for a sports-related activity like a marathon, a 5K run, or even a soccer camp or little league, the company enrolled them as members of the ‘Active Advantage’ membership program,” Miller said. “The company charged an annual $59.95 membership fee, which showed up on credit card or bank statements.”

Most sports organizations utilize third-party services to handle registration and data management. Most are reputable companies with strict policies that prohibit the commercial use of your personal information. Unfortunately, there are some registration companies out there that contractually own or co-own your personal information.  There are some that are even owned by a retail corporation and your information will be used for solicitation (by email, phone, snail mail, etc.) without your explicit consent. Some may claim to “sponsor” your sports organization in exchange for direct access to your personal information, all without your explicit consent.  In our opinion, that’s just plain wrong.

When it comes to signing up for sports, here’s the bottom line: you can’t be too careful.

Take the time to read the privacy policies. Sure, they can be long and complex, but they tell you how the site maintains accuracy, access, security, and control of the personal information it collects; how it uses the information, and whether it provides information to third parties.

If you don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, contact your sports organization or event director directly and ask them if they are the sole owners of your personal information. If they don’t know or say something other than “yes”, you should be concerned. You should also ask if there are any strings attached to your registration – that is, are you automatically opted-in to a corporate database without your consent? Will your information be used for any other purpose than to sign up for the event/program?

In a world where your information is so valuable, even the most innocent of transactions, like a sports registration, can lead to your personal information being compromised.  Don’t be a victim, take pause before you register.

At SportsSignup, your data is never sold or redistributed by SportsSignup in any manner.