For many football fans, the weeks between Thanksgiving and early February often bring some of the most exciting games of the season. With so many conference championships and bowl games on the horizon, Better Business Bureau of North Alabama is warning consumers to be on the lookout for counterfeit memorabilia and phony game tickets.
There are three good reasons not to buy counterfeit goods: theft, quality and security. Counterfeit items are stolen goods. Someone has stolen your favorite team's name and logo for their own profit. Plus, counterfeit items are often more cheaply made, which means they won't last as long as the real thing. When purchasing counterfeit memorabilia online, you may face bigger problems. Consumers across the country, in the past, have reported websites to BBBs that don't even have any merchandise to sell. They just want the consumer's credit card number and personal information to steal their identity or drain their bank account. To get official sports gear, buy directly from the team or league websites, or from official vendors at the stadium.
Between now and Super Bowl Sunday, thousands of tickets will be listed on classifieds websites, offering buyers little protection from dishonest sellers. Your BBB suggests that you use caution with any offers that sound too good to be true.
“The reason tickets are expensive is because they’re hard to get and the chances of you getting lucky and finding a deal are slim. If an offer sounds much better than it should, such as someone selling tickets for much less than offered elsewhere, it’s probably not on the level,” says Michele Mason, president of the BBB serving North Alabama.
To help insure that you don’t get ripped off buying event tickets, your BBB recommends that you avoid the following:
Wiring money to someone you don’t know – Say for some reason you do believe that a seller you found online who lives in another country really has tickets to an event in the U.S. The fact that the seller then asks you to wire money to pay for the tickets should be the final red flag that makes you walk away. When buying tickets online, ideally pay with a credit card or through Paypal because of the consumer protections provided.
Not doing your research – If buying online, ask to see a picture of the tickets so you can confirm the seats match up with the venue. If your friends already have tickets, you can also make sure they look the same as the ones you want to buy. Search for guidance online about how the tickets should look. For instance, tickets for sale by some sports organizations come with built in safety features. They are designed to help fans and officials determine whether a ticket to see their favorite team play is authentic or fake. You may find similar information posted on your teams website. In another example, the NFL offers advice on how to tell if Super Bowl tickets are legit here.
Buying from scalpers at the event - Buying tickets outside the venue can be a game of roulette. You might get taken to the cleaners or the seats may be just as advertised. Keep in mind that, in some states, it’s illegal to charge more than the face value for tickets.
Choosing a disreputable online ticket broker – When purchasing tickets through an online broker, look for the BBB seal on their website and check them out online at bbb.org. Review the company’s policy for customer satisfaction and what happens if tickets purchased through their site are fake or not as advertised.