Better Business Bureau Cautions: Play It Safe Buying Sports Playoff Tickets

April 21, 2014

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) alerts fans purchasing tickets to the upcoming Blackhawks and Bulls playoff series to be cautious when buying tickets online.

 The secondary–ticket market is a large industry which includes professional brokers, speculators and season ticket holders. Since 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 need to double check the offer.

 “Taking time to do research before spending a large sum of money on playoff tickets is crucial,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “When searching for tickets, it is easy to become blinded by what looks like a good deal.”

In the past twelve months alone, there have been 136 complaints filed and more than 32,000 consumers contacting the Chicago BBB for pre-purchase information about companies in the “Ticket Sales – Events” category.

If you are considering buying tickets on the secondary market, the Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to help with a successful transaction:

  • Check to make sure the broker is licensed as required in the state of Illinois.
  • In case the tickets may be counterfeit, avoid paying cash for tickets in person from a stranger.
  • Never wire funds for payment.
  • Deal only with brokers that provide clear details concerning the terms of the transaction.  For instance, make sure you know up-front the amount of the surcharge for each purchase; whether the tickets are valid; how they will be sent to you and the time frame 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 review their rating with the BBB at
  • Visit several Web sites to compare prices and ticket availability for the event you’re interested in attending. 
  • Do not buy tickets from Internet sites that are not secure or lack a privacy policy; fail to disclose their refund, rescheduling and cancellation policies; does not provide a telephone number and address; or insists on cash payment.
  • 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. “If something seems too good to be true, it most likely is.” 

For more information on finding ticket brokers you can trust, visit

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 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.