Been there, done that! Running a fantasy baseball league as "League Commissioner" is a tough task. Most likely, when a group of friends or co-workers get together to form a league, they vote on that one person who is going to take the responsibility of running the league, setting up the website, planning the draft, filling the remaining open spots, drafting league rules, etc. Traditionally, fantasy leagues were created amongst friends and co-workers with drafts and league meetings done in person. Today, most leagues still work that way, but with soaring technology and the internet, more and more fantasy sports junkies are wanting more and signing up for multiple leagues. Unless your registering a team in a league on a reputable website, its very risky to join a league via classified ads on the internet. As we all know, there are a few websites out there that make this simple, but before you go soliciting a team via classified ad, just keep these simple tidbits in mind and read on for help on what to do about a league that goes sour.......
1. If you plan to join a league via classified ad, and there's a league fee, make sure you make substantial contact with the "league commissioner" before you plop down $100 through Paypal or by check/money order. Also, try to contact other league members. Never send your payment until the actual league is set up on the specific hosting website such as CBS, Yahoo, Sandbox, etc. When you join these leagues, fees paid are normally for prizes and for the league set up fee for the hosting website. Remember you are sending these fees to a real person (the acting commish) and not to a secure and reputable website.
2. If possible, once you sign up, but before you send the money, try to contact all of the other members in the league.....TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE REAL!!!! Make sure they all have a valid email and some kind of Instant messenger, make it your duty to make real contact with each of them. I can't tell you how many times I have seen or heard of people starting fantasy leagues with "Dummy Teams" and dummy email addresses, collect your league fees, and then never pay out at the end of the season. Call them "Dead Beat Commissioners". What they do is set up a league with 2-4 dummy teams, then offer other people a chance to join with the promise of a cash payout for the winners. Then, when the dummy teams win......nobody needs to get paid. Its a smart plan at first thought, but you'd have to be a real scumbag to do it! Its stealing and it puts a bad rep on fantasy sports. It also takes out the fun and adds to the hassle and frustration.
3. However, the best part is when a dead beat commissioner drafts dummy teams that suck! They'll even make trades between the dummy teams. They finish below the money and guess who's stuck paying the cash prizes? The dead beats girlfriend...... the parents......or his kids college fund ....if he pays at all! A guy offers a $1000 first prize, 12 player league, $100 entry fee, about $200 for hosting fees, etc. He drafts 3 dummy teams that finish in 8th, 11th, and last....now what? He planned on winning and keeping the money, now he owes $1000 to the first place winner. Guess who's not getting their money?...... yep, YOU!
4. So the question is, what do you do if you sign up for a league via classified ad, pay to play, win, and then a month goes buy and the commish hasn't paid the prize money? A few things.......
First, keep all correspondence in a file and give the commish 2 or 3 trys to mail out your payment or send it through paypal.
If you still don't get paid, send an email or two a day for a week asking politely to send money.
Next, contact all the members of the league and see which ones are real by doing some investigating. Ask trick questions if you need too. Also ask if the 2nd and 3rd places finishers received their money as well.
If still no luck, hopefully you remembered the address as to where you sent your league fee check. If you sent money through paypal, you should have an address there as well on the receipt that you should have saved. Use that address to investigate, maybe get a phone number through internet searching and make a call. The idea here is to be aggressive, don't give up. YOU EARNED THAT MONEY!
After you have given this dead beat a week to 2 weeks and still nothing, then offer to call the local police in this persons town. That usually gets them going. Also, put in a claim to Paypal if that was your method of payment.
If you still have no luck, and sent multiple requests for the money to be sent, then actually call the local police to see what they can do. Probably nothing, but its worth a shot. Usually, just the thought of that will have this dead beat paying you with his girlfriends debit card!
Just remember in the end, some patience and keeping your head on straight will make this process less frustrating. So the moral of the story is, BE CAREFUL WHEN SIGNING UP FOR A LEAGUE VIA CLASSIFIED AD WHEN YOU DON'T PERSONALLY KNOW THE ACTING COMMISH!
I feel my work is done here! Good luck all on a successful Fantasy Baseball Season!
Stay tuned for The Fantasy Man's 1st Annual Thanksgiving Extravaganza coming Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2006!
Fantasy Baseball Express