What to do if I signed up with a charity to run a marathon and the contract states that I have to raise $2500 and will be obligated to pay that amount?

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What to do if I signed up with a charity to run a marathon and the contract states that I have to raise $2500 and will be obligated to pay that amount?

This is regardless of whether I raise it, am injured and unable to run, etc. In the process of training, I fractured my leg and won’t be able to run the marathon. This happened fairly early on and I contacted them to see if we could work something out. They refused, demanding the full $2500. I don’t have that much money, and raising it without running the marathon is proving impossible. What are my legal rights? Can they force me to pay?

Asked on October 12, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you signed a contract obligating you to pay this amount no matter what, even if you were injured or otherwise unable to run, then yes, they can force you to pay it. People are held to the obligations which they voluntarily, contractually assume, and people can obligate themselves to pay money even if they don't get any benefit from it (think of nonrefundable hotel reservations, party or event costs, or airfare) or even if they end up footing the entire cost personally when others were supposed to pay, too (think of a leasing space with four friends, all of whom then disappear and default--you could be held liable for the full cost).


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