BBB’s Coming to your Defense when Buying Football Tickets

Business
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Evan Arnold-Gordon
Golden Gate Better Business Bureau

The long hiatus without football is almost over as both college and professional football teams begin to ramp-up their training for the upcoming season. In just a few short weeks, fans will be packing stadiums to watch their favorite teams and players on the gridiron.

Whether you’re planning a family outing to see a game or you’ve gathered a group of your closest buddies for a rivalry showdown; buying from a safe and reliable source can make all the difference.

In 2017, Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Scam Tracker received more than 35,000 inquiries nationwide about event ticket sales. Consumers have filed nearly 200 complaints about problems with ticket brokers. The most common complaints were issues with refunds and exchanges, followed by poor customer service, as well as guarantees or warranties not being met. You may also be interested in buying some new gear to represent your favorite team. Unfortunately, scammers also target fans buying team apparel, as BBB received almost 900 counterfeit product scams last year alone.

Make sure you get the most of this year’s football season with BBB’s playbook of how to purchase safely:

  • Be careful buying tickets. The best way to buy tickets to professional football games is through the National Football League’s (NFL) website and the official websites of NFL teams. For college football tickets, make sure you’re buying from a legitimate company or from the school’s box office itself. If tickets are sold out and you need to go through a reseller, make sure to look the business up on bbb.org to see their BBB rating, complaint history and reviews from past customers. There, you can also find a number of trustworthy BBB Accredited resellers to choose from. Before buying, read the refund and guarantee policies carefully to see if there are any buyer protections. Anytime you purchase a ticket through the secondary ticket resale market, ticket fraud can occur. Visit bbb.org/tickets for more tips.
  • Don’t fall for a prize scam. If you receive an email out of the blue claiming that you won free tickets or a trip to an NFL or NCAA game, don’t get too excited. In 2017, consumers reported more than 2,800 sweepstakes/lottery/prize scams to BBB Scam Tracker. If you get an unsolicited phone call, email or letter saying that you’ve won a big prize, but first have to send a small sum of money to pay for processing fees or taxes, it’s probably a scam. Remember, you’ll never have to pay for winning a legitimate sweepstakes, lottery, or prize. Learn more at bbb.org/prizescam.
  • Only buy authentic apparel. It’s best to make purchases through the official NFL shop, an official team shop, or an authorized reseller – that’s where you’ll find authentic licensed merchandise. The same goes for college football gear. Make sure you’re buying from the college’s official team site or a reputable website that’s legally allowed to sell NCAA gear. If you’re unfamiliar with the business or website, look it up at bbb.org. Even if a website shows the BBB Dynamic Seal, click on it to verify that it’s legitimate or search for the business independently on bbb.org. Just as it’s easy for scammers to create a fake website, they can also fake the BBB Dynamic Seal. Authentic apparel will always have the correct fonts, colors and spelling, attached tags will usually have hologram stickers, and there won’t be any loose threads or other signs of poor quality. More information on avoiding counterfeit products can be found at bbb.org/counterfeitscam.
  • Watch out for clickbait and stay safe online. Whenever you’re doing business online, be careful. Consumers nationwide reported more than 4,600 online purchase scams to BBB Scam Tracker in 2017. Research all businesses on bbb.org before placing an order. Make sure every website you visit has a privacy policy and glance it over. Look for the “https:” – the “s” stands for “secure” – and other trust marks. You may see ads touting cheap tickets and merchandise while surfing the web – avoid the urge to click on them. They may lead you to fraudulent websites that’ll try to steal your personal or financial information, or download a virus to your computer. Lastly, no matter how excited you are for the upcoming game, do NOT post photos of your tickets on social media sites. Scammers often try to replicate tickets using barcodes that could prevent you from getting into the game in the first place.

If you encounter a scam this football season, make sure to report it to BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.

You can reach your BBB at info@bbbemail.org or (510) 844-2000, or by visiting bbb.org.

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