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Better Business Bureau ®
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Southern Arizona
Five Easy Ways to Get Ripped Off Buying Sports and Concert Tickets
February 11, 2011
Whether you’re trying to snag tickets to the big game or the hottest concert, Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona warns that you run the risk of getting ripped off if you decide to gamble on a less than reputable source.  

Fake tickets aren’t just a concern for people who want to go to the Super Bowl or see Lady Gaga, even smaller events can become a target. Not only were counterfeit tickets to major sporting events like the BCS Championship game or the NFL playoffs a problem this winter, consumers have also recently wasted money on fake tickets for UFC fights, and local concerts.

“Every season provides an opportunity for scammers to sell counterfeit tickets,” said Kim States, BBB President. “In the winter you have college football and NFL games leading up to the Superbowl, in the spring the hot tickets are for March Madness and hockey and NBA playoffs and then summer hits with big name concerts.”

If you’re looking to get ripped off buying event tickets, BBB recommends:

  • Believing you’re that lucky – The reason tickets are expensive is because they’re hard to get and the chances of you getting lucky and finding a deal are slim. If a situation sounds too good to be true, such as someone selling tickets to a popular event for much less than offered elsewhere, it’s probably not on the level.
  • Wiring money to someone you don’t know – Say for some reason you do believe that a seller you found online who lives in another country really has tickets to an event in the US. The fact that the seller then asks you to wire money to pay for the tickets should be the final red flag that makes you walk away. When buying tickets online, ideally pay with a credit card or through Paypal because of the consumer protections provided.
  • Not doing your research – If buying online, ask to see a picture of the tickets so you can confirm the seats match up with the venue. If your friends already have tickets, you can also make sure they look the same as the ones you want to buy. Search for guidance online about how the tickets should look. For example, the NFL has offered advice on how to tell if Super Bowl tickets are legit here.
  • Buying from scalpers at the event - Buying tickets outside the venue can be a game of roulette. You might get taken to the cleaners or the seats may be just as advertised. Keep in mind that, in some states, it’s illegal to charge more than the face value for tickets.
  • Choosing a disreputable online ticket broker – When purchasing tickets through an online broker, look for the BBB seal on their website and check them out online at www.tucson.bbb.org/Find-Business-Reviews. Review the company’s policy for customer satisfaction and what happens if tickets purchased through their site are fake or not as advertised.

For more advice on spending your money wisely and not getting ripped off, visit www.tucson.bbb.org/Consumer-Tips.