NFL Fans Warned Not to Fall for Phony Ticket Scams

  
     
February 03, 2010
The Super Bowl is all set to be played in Miami in less than two-weeks.  Unfortunately, as is the case every year, scammers will be looking for every opportunity try and to part would-be Super Bowl-goers with their hard earned money.

There have been reports in NFL cities of people selling official-looking, yet completely bogus tickets on the streets, only to have the purchasers turned away at the gate. Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona advises against purchasing tickets that cannot be verified through the issuing organization.

The same advice applies online.  Sites such as eBay, Craigslist and numerous others offer people the ability to sell their tickets, however, they also offer the opportunity to scammers that may take advantage of fan’s excitement and team loyalty. Some online scams offer to take half of the payment for the tickets upfront as good-faith money, taking the other half afterwards. While this may sound like a good idea at first, it is frequently part of a scam to get any amount of money out of an unsuspecting fan. The scammer will likely disappear after the first transaction.

Beware of sellers asking for cash payments or money transfers, as there is no recourse should the deal go bad. Some online marketplaces will offer you protection for a bogus purchase if you pay through PayPal or with your credit card, but that won’t help you on game day when it’s already too late.

If you decide to purchase tickets through a ticket broker, verify the company’s report at www.tucson.bbb.org, and find out what means the company has to verify that the tickets are legit. Most legitimate ticket brokers take possession of a ticket, independently verify their authenticity, and only then resell the ticket. Some will offer a guarantee of authenticity which includes buying a ticket at the gate if you are turned away on game day. At this time, Ticketmaster’s NFL Ticket Exchange is promoted as the only NFL approved ticket exchange.  In any situation, you will want to ensure that if you chose to purchase tickets, they have a way to validate that the tickets are legitimate. Be aware that tickets may sell for significantly over their face value in many situations. More information regarding ticket brokers is available here.

Also watch out for travel package deals that may “include” Super Bowl tickets, as the package price may be severely inflated to accommodate the purchase of tickets, or the accommodations and other aspects of the package may be below expectations. Be sure to verify all aspects of a travel package if you are of a mind to purchase tickets in that way. BBB Reliability Reports on hotels and other travel services can be checked at www.tucson.bbb.org. The U.S. Department of Transportation has warned that not all tour packages that are marketed as “Super Bowl packages” include a ticket to the game.  If a game ticket is not specifically mentioned in the advertising or solicitations, it is probably not included.  DOT’s rules state that if a tour was described as including a game ticket and you do not receive one, you are entitled to a full refund of the entire package upon your return.  People may file complaints through the BBB, but also, through the Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Transportation at: http://airconsumer.dot.gov.  However, as mentioned before, this will not help you get into the stadium on game day.

BBB encourages fans to be safe, and make wise buying decisions as the Saints and Colts square off for glory in Miami for Super Bowl XLIV.