October 27, 2015 –Beginning today, the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets will begin battling it out for the title of “World Champions,” and many fans are still looking to get their hands on tickets and World Series merchandise. BBB serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa is warning baseball enthusiasts to watch-out for phony deals, fake tickets and counterfeit World Series related items.
Tickets to the games sold out almost immediately. This means that anyone who still wishes to get tickets must purchase them from a ticket reseller. Currently, prices on the secondary market range from hundreds of dollars for standing room tickets to more than ten thousand dollars for seats closer to the field. Bogus tickets may not be delivered after payment, will not be awaiting the buyer at the ballpark’s “will call” window, can have invalid bar codes or may simply be counterfeit in other ways.
Last year, federal agents seized thousands of bogus “World Series” items ranging from caps and tee shirts to baby clothes. Counterfeit merchandise is not the authentic memorabilia that fans want and often is also of very poor quality and does not support the league.
BBB offers these tips so baseball fans can avoid being ripped off:
- Avoid buying tickets from unknown sellers through online classified listings, auctions, or bulletin boards even if they offer face-to-face exchanges. Stick to reputable ticket sellers with a track record you can verify.
- Before purchasing tickets through an online broker, visit their BBB Business Review page bbb.org for a history of complaints and Customer Reviews. You can also check to see if they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers at natb.org/MemberList.aspx – an organization that works with law enforcement agencies, professional sports teams and other organizations to fight against counterfeit tickets.
- Research the ticket broker’s refund policy before purchasing. Tickets for World Series games are very expensive so you’ll want to check to make sure that the ticket broker will cover the full cost of the tickets in the event that one of the games is canceled or if the tickets don’t work when you arrive at the gate.
- Do not buy tickets from sellers who may approach you on the street claiming to have tickets for sale. There’s no way to verify that tickets from individual scalpers are real until you attempt to use to them to get into the stadium.
- Always use a credit card so you have additional protection. Never pay with cash and don’t wire money: in these cases, there is no way to get your money back if the tickets do not arrive.
Counterfeit World Series goods may be hawked by sellers outside the ballpark, on the street or on counterfeit websites that may not originate in the U.S. Fans who want the real article should rely on purchasing from authentic MLB-licensed sellers, such as the teams’ own websites and shops in the ballpark.
Check merchandise to see if it bears the official MLB hologram on the sales tag which is very hard to fake, along with an alphanumeric ID. Authentic team apparel should carry official team logos and copyright marks, instead of just tags bearing information about the country of origin.
If you believe a business is scamming consumers in connection with the World Series, you can file a complaint with BBB at bbbinc.org or 800-649-6814.