Chicago, IL – September 21, 2010 – With the excitement during football, hockey and basketball season, many fans take to the internet to find tickets and deals to cheer on their favorite teams. However, the Better Business Bureau warns sports fans to use caution to avoid scammers who are ready to make them a loser.
According to StubHub.com the secondary–ticket market is a $10 billion dollar a year industry which includes professional brokers, speculators and season ticket holders. Because many of these sellers are not licensed or bonded and are often found on unregulated online auctions, online classifieds, and bulletin boards using person to person sales sports fans need to be more skeptical and on the alert.
“The Internet has become the playing field of choice for sports fans looking to buy or sell tickets. Unfortunately, it is also a breeding ground for scammers looking to take advantage of game day fever,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Sports fans are often blinded by their devotion to their team and run the risk of putting their trust in a seller that doesn’t deserve it.”
In the past twelve months alone, there have been 225 complaints filed and more than 20,000 inquiries to the BBB about companies in the “Ticket Sales – Events” category.
Joshua Meyer of Carpentersville, Ill. stated, “I bought tickets on 12/27/09 as a gift for my fiancée. They were supposed to e-mail me the tickets and on January 5th they called to let me know that they did not actually have the tickets so that I would not get them. He promised me a refund of the $178.54 that I paid. I called them over and over and never got the refund or even a returned call. My bank eventually refunded the money but I never heard from them.”
If you are considering buying tickets on the secondary market, the Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to ensure a successful transaction:
· Check to make sure the broker is licensed as required in the state of Illinois.
· Do not ever wire funds for payment.
· Deal only with brokers that provide clear details concerning the terms of the transaction. For instance, you should know up-front the amount of the surcharge for each purchase; whether the tickets are guaranteed; how they will be sent to you and the timeframe for delivery; and the broker’s refund, rescheduling and cancellation policies.
· Check if the ticket broker is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) and the Better Business Bureau.
· Visit several Web sites to compare prices and ticket availability for the event you’re interested in attending.
· Verify the location of the seats on a seating chart provided by the venue to avoid purchasing non-existent seats or seats with obstructed views.
· Pay with a credit card or another secure form of payment so you can dispute the charge with your credit card issuer or bank.
“The most common way sports fans are getting scammed online is by either paying for counterfeit tickets or tickets that never arrive,” added Bernas. “Even if the tickets do surface, they are sometimes not for the seats the seller advertised – which can mean being stuck with seats that aren’t next to each other, up in the nosebleed section, or with an obstructed view.”
For more information on finding ticket brokers you can trust, visit www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.