Excitement continues to mount as football fans anticipate Super Bowl XLVIII, the first outdoor, cold weather Super Bowl. New York and New Jersey will jointly host this historic event on February 2, 2014 and football fever is running high with local fans. With the big game just a month away, eager fans should be on guard for scammers looking to profit from their fun by selling knock-off team jerseys, counterfeit memorabilia, and especially, phony game tickets.
“There are three good reasons not to buy counterfeit goods: theft, quality and security,” notes Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York. “Counterfeit items are stolen goods. If you love your team, don’t buy a hat or jersey from someone who has stolen the team’s name and logo for their own profit. And counterfeit items are almost always more cheaply made, which means they won’t last as long as the real thing.”
A simple way to check for authenticity is to look for a tag with the official NFL Shield hologram sticker on it. Some counterfeit jerseys also come with hologram stickers, but the hologram on the fake stickers is all one color instead of multiple colors like the official sticker. Also, if the tag on the jersey says it's made in China, it's a fake. No officially licensed NFL jerseys are made in China.
You may have an even bigger problem if you try to buy counterfeit memorabilia online. Online scammers might not even have any merchandise to sell you…they may just want your credit card number and personal information in order to steal your identity or drain your bank account.
The best way to ensure you are getting official sports gear is to buy directly from the team or league websites, or from official vendors at the stadium. The official online merchandise store of the National Football League can be found at www.NFLSHOP.com.
Beware of Ticket Scams
Tickets for the big game can be an even bigger rip-off. Buying on the secondary market can often be the only way to get to the game. But how can fans make sure the tickets they buy for the Super Bowl are legitimate?
Tickets can be purchased through the official NFL Ticket Exchange by Ticketmaster at http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/48. Tickets purchased on the Exchange are guaranteed to be 100% authentic and delivered on time.
For those who choose to purchase tickets from an alternate source, BBB and the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) offer the following tips for safe ticket purchases:
Check out the seller/broker. Look up their Business Review on newyork.bbb.org and check to see if they are a member of the NATB. NATB members agree to follow a code of ethics that requires them to provide a 200% refund of the contracted ticket price if the tickets don’t arrive in time for a game, concert or show.
Know the difference: A ticket broker is a legitimate and accredited reseller of tickets. A ticket scalper is an unlicensed and unregulated 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.
Always use a credit card so you have some recourse; do not use cash.
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 NATB’s hotline at 630-510-4594 and file a complaint with BBB at bbb.org.