With game one of the World Series this week in Kansas City, and Royals fans everywhere eager to buy a ticket after a 28 year World Series absence, Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Nebraska. South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa is alerting fans to look out for fraudulent sellers when shopping online for expensive and hard-to-get tickets.
BBB warns that sellers of game tickets on secondary ticket websites may be fraudulent. “The most common ways secondary-ticket sellers scam baseball fans is by delivering counterfeit tickets or simply not sending the tickets,” said BBB President Jim Hegarty. “Even if the tickets do arrive, they are sometimes not for the seats the seller advertised – which can mean the fan is stuck with seats that aren’t next to each other, or not in the sections they bargained for.”
The secondary-ticket market for sporting events, which includes tickets bought and sold by professional brokers, speculators and season-ticket holders, is a $10-billion-a-year industry, with online sales accounting for one-third of transactions, according to StubHub.com.
“World Series tickets are extremely tough for the average fan to find and purchase at a reasonable price, and that’s driving buyers to the Internet and the secondary-ticket market,” added Hegarty. “Fans must balance their passion for their team with awareness that not all online ticket sellers will deliver on their promises, and a bad transaction could leave them at home on the couch instead of at the big game.”
Fans should also be skeptical of the hundreds of online auctions, online classifieds, and bulletin boards using person-to-person sales. The World Series is big business for the hosting cities, and where there is big money to be made, scams always follow. To avoid problems like this, BBB advises ticket seekers to check out the company’s Business Review at bbb.org to find out about the company.
BBB offers the following advice for fans seeking tickets:
. Before buying from an online ticket broker, see if there is a BBB seal on the website and click on it to make sure it is real. BBB’s dynamic seal will take you directly to the BBB Business Review on the company at bbb.org.
. Make sure the website has a secure payment processing system, usually denoted by “https://” at the start of its website address or URL or a small closed lock icon at the bottom of the screen.
. If you buy tickets through an online auction site, choose a seller with a long history of satisfied customers. Scammers can hijack old accounts, so make sure the seller has recently sold other tickets.
. Ticket buyers also should be wary of sellers who try to lure buyers from a legitimate site to another site for a “private” transaction. Scammers often want to conduct their business on sites with names that mimic well-known companies but actually are fakes.
. If you are buying tickets through an online classified ad site, never pay the seller by wire transfer. You will have no way to get your money back if the tickets do not arrive or are counterfeit.
. Always use a credit card so you have some recourse; do not use cash.
. Know the difference between a ticket broker (legitimate and accredited reseller) and a ticket scalper (unregulated and unlicensed ticket seller).
. Check the ticket broker’s refund policy. Only buy from a ticket reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction.
. Be careful buying tickets from someone on the street. When you get to the gate and find out your tickets aren’t real, the seller will be long gone.
. Check the location of the seats ahead of time. Always ask for section, row and seat number to avoid obstructed view seats or seats that do not exist. Also, feel free to ask questions to make certain you get all the answers you need to feel comfortable with your ticket purchase.
If you believe you have purchased a counterfeit ticket, immediately report it to the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) hotline at 630-510-4594 and file a complaint with BBB at bbbinc.org.