Southfield, MI – September 2014 — Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan joins fans in congratulating our Detroit Tigers for their fourth straight AL Central title but is also warning fans to beware of potential scams by fake ticket sellers seeking to cash in on the Detroit Tigers’ success. Sports fans most often get scammed buying tickets from individuals outside the stadium, on the street or through online auctions, classified ads and bulletin boards. Sports fans can get burned by purchasing counterfeit tickets or paying in advance for tickets that never arrive.
The secondary market for sporting and entertainment tickets is estimated at more than $10 billion a year. It includes tickets bought and sold by professional brokers as well as those purchased and resold by speculators and season ticket holders. Tickets purchased for sports and entertainment events are the source of hundreds of BBB complaints by consumers nationwide.
The Internet has become the arena of choice for sports fans looking to buy or sell tickets, but unfortunately, it also has become a breeding ground for scammers looking to take advantage of sports fans. The BBB’s database of BBB Business Reviews includes reputable, secondary market ticket firms that provide buyer protections, including money-back guarantees if tickets are fake. Local BBB Accredited ticket services can be found here. Fans can also purchase tickets directly here.
The BBB offers the following advice for fans seeking tickets:
- 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.
- 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, where you can read about the company’s record for responding to complaints.
- 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.
- Check the seats out 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 www.bbb.org/detroit.
About Better Business Bureau Serving Detroit & Eastern Michigan
Better Business Bureau Serving Detroit & Eastern Michigan is a non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting trust in the marketplace by assisting in the protection of consumers and businesses from fraud and unethical business practices. In addition to its recognized dispute resolution services, the BBB maintains business reviews on the customer service history of more than 85,000 local businesses and provides consumer education materials on numerous topics. BBB provides its services free to the public and its service territory stretches across Eastern Michigan from Ann Arbor through Metropolitan Detroit, Lansing, Flint, upward to Alpena, and covers the entire Upper Peninsula of the state.