Baseball season is back in full swing and whether you’re a fan of the Oakland A’s, the San Francisco Giants, or any other team, it’s important you Start With Trust® when purchasing tickets or merchandise. It may be tempting to choose the lowest price available, but without proper research you could be thrown a curveball without even knowing it.
Last year alone, consumers nationwide lodged more than 3,000 complaints with BBB against ticket brokers and event ticket sales companies. The leading cause for complaints were problems with refunds and exchanges. Common complaints include being unable to obtain refunds, poor customer service, and hidden fees.
Buying jerseys, hats, and other gear can also lead to issues. According to the BBB Risk Index, online purchase scams were the second riskiest scam of 2018 and the riskiest scam for people between the ages of 34-44. Furthermore, clothing purchases were one of the most common online purchase scams. The number of online purchase scams submitted to BBB Scam Tracker in 2018 rose dramatically to 10,450 reports, up 124% from 4,655 in 2017. The majority of online purchase scams occur when a payment is made online in exchange for a good or service, but nothing is delivered.
Before you head out to the ball game for some peanuts and Cracker Jack, check out these helpful BBB tips:
- Don’t drop the ball when buying tickets. Stick to trustworthy sources when buying tickets. The best way to buy is through the Major League Baseball (MLB) official website, com. If they’re sold out and you have to purchase from an online ticket exchange or broker, be cautious. Look up every business at bbb.org and check out their BBB Business Profile before making a purchase. For more tips on avoiding fraudulent tickets, visit bbb.org/tickets.
- Only buy authentic gear. BBB Scam Tracker received more than 1,300 counterfeit product scams reported in 2018 with consumers losing an average of $92. Counterfeit goods mimic original merchandise, right down to the trademarked logo, but are typically of inferior quality. The safest way to be sure the hats and jerseys you’re buying are authentic is by shopping at the MLB’s official store, com. You can also buy MLB licensed gear from authorized resellers. Visit bbb.org to find trustworthy BBB Accredited Businesses and look up unfamiliar retailers.
- Be safe shopping online. Whenever you’re making a purchase online, use good judgement. Verify that the website is secure by looking for the “https:”, where the “s” stands for “secure”, and other trust marks. Make sure your computer is running up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware software. It’s best to use a credit card since they offer more protection than other methods of payment. Never pay by wire transfer or gift cards – if a seller insists on an unusual form of payment, consider it a red flag. Make sure to read the terms and conditions of your purchase carefully. Understand the refund and guarantee policies before clicking the “checkout” button, and be on the lookout for hidden fees. You can check out more online shopping tips at org/shoppingonline.
You can always file a complaint with BBB at bbb.org/complain, and report scams to bbb.org/scamtracker.
You can reach your BBB at email@example.com or (510) 844-2000, or by visiting bbb.org