With the College World Series kicking off and thousands of fans searching for tickets, Better Business Bureau (BBB) is alerting consumers to look out for fraudulent sellers when shopping for expensive and hard-to-get tickets online.
BBB warns that sellers of game tickets on secondary ticket websites may be fraudulent. “The most common ways secondary-ticket sellers scam college baseball fans is by delivering counterfeit tickets or simply not sending the tickets,” said BBB President Jim Hegarty. “Even if the tickets do arrive, they are sometimes not for the seats the seller advertised – which can mean the fan is stuck with seats that aren’t next to each other, or in the sections they bargained for.”
The secondary-ticket market for sporting events, which includes tickets bought and sold by professional brokers, speculators and season-ticket holders, is a $10-billion-a-year industry, with online sales accounting for one-third of transactions, according to StubHub.com.
“College World Series tickets are extremely tough for the average fan to find and purchase at a reasonable price and that’s driving buyers to the Internet and the secondary-ticket market,” added Hegarty. “Fans must balance their passion for their team with awareness that not all online ticket sellers will deliver on their promises, and a bad transaction could leave them at home on the couch instead of at the big game.”
Fans should also be skeptical of the hundreds of online auctions, online classifieds, and bulletin boards using person-to-person sales.
The College World Series is big business for Omaha, NE, and where there is big money to be made, scams always follow. Ticket buyers have already run into some misfortune with ticket purchases. An Omaha man bought four tickets from a secondary website. The man thought his tickets were for the reserved section, but he later found out, after receiving them, that they were located in the general admission section, which may mean long waits in line and no guarantee to get in.
To avoid problems like this, the NCAA advises CWS ticket seekers to check out ticket information at ncaa.com/cws to find out the latest on available tickets, prices, and fan-to-fan ticket exchange information. The NCAA and TD Ameritrade Park have also teamed up with Ticketmaster Buildings to provide secure tickets for fans. If fans choose not to go through Ticketmaster or the TD Ameritrade Park ticket office for ticket purchases, the BBB provides advice below for purchasing tickets online for the CWS:
· Only the event, the venue and the event’s authorized ticketing company can guarantee the ticket you purchase online will be valid to attend the event.
· When buying from a merchant, always check with the BBB to be sure that you’re dealing with a company that has a good reputation for satisfying customers and a secure website for processing your payment.
· When buying from an individual through an online exchange don’t be lured away from the website by the seller. Even if you met the seller on the exchange website, the company may not guarantee any lost money if a transaction occurs outside their domain.
· If you buy tickets through an online auction, choose a seller with a long, continuous history of satisfied customers. Scammers can hijack old accounts, so make sure they have recently bought or sold other items.
· Pay with a credit card or through PayPal, which offer some protection and potential reimbursement. Never pay with a cashier’s check or wire money to a seller; you’ll have no way to get your money back if the tickets do not arrive.
· Many sellers will include pictures of the tickets with their posts on auction sites or bulletin boards. Scrutinize the tickets closely for any inaccuracies or alterations, and cross-check the seat assignment with the map on the venue’s website before you buy.
For more tips and advice you can trust for safe online shopping go to bbb.org