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Western Virginia
BBB Advisory: Avoid March Ticket Madness
March 17, 2014
Roanoke, VA (March 17, 2014) As the University of Virginia Cavaliers are preparing to take on the field in the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament, the BBB Serving Western Virginia is advising sports fans to use caution when purchasing tickets to avoid buying fraudulent or nontransferable tickets. 

“March Madness is an exciting and unpredictable sporting event and it’s impossible to control your team’s destiny,” says Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB Serving Western VA. “One thing you can control is where you buy your tickets if you plan on attending a game in person. Don’t add additional ‘madness’ to March by getting misled into buying fake tickets, different tickets than were advertised, or tickets that can’t be transferred.”

Virginia will kick off their tournament run on Friday, March 21 in Raleigh, NC and fans are expected to attend in large numbers. 

Here are some tips for enjoying this year’s tournament from fan advocacy group Fan Freedom:

Use Reliable Sellers: Beware of fly-by-night ticket sellers. If you’re unsure whether a company is legitimate, check its ratings with the Better Business Bureau. If purchasing from a ticket broker, check to see if they are members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. Their Code of Ethics requires members to adhere to basic consumer protections.

Check your ticket vendor’s guarantee policy: For example, websites like Stub Hub, TicketsNow, Ace Tickets, All-Shows and members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers guarantee every ticket sold on their sites and will replace them or provide refunds to consumers if they receive the wrong tickets or their tickets are invalid. Craigslist and other online classifieds sites do not offer such guarantees; it’s “buyer beware” when shopping there.

Pay Attention to URLs: When buying tickets directly from a venue, check the website’s URL to ensure that you don’t get duped by an imposter. Remember, even if a website looks like the official site, it may be bogus.

Read the Fine Print: Just because you bought a ticket doesn’t mean you can give it away. Some concerts and sporting events sell restricted paperless tickets, requiring the buyer to show up at the venue and present the purchasing credit card and photo ID. With such tickets, the buyer does not receive a physical ticket and cannot easily transfer these tickets. If your team loses in an earlier round, you would not be able to unload your ticket on a fan whose team advances.

Know the Rules: Some venues limit the number of tickets you can buy. If you’re buying tickets on behalf of friends, make sure you know the maximum number of tickets allotted or your order may be cancelled without notice.

Buy with a Credit Card: Regardless of where you buy tickets, be sure to use a credit card so you can dispute any unfair or unauthorized charges. Before entering your credit card information online, be sure the site has “https://” at the beginning of the website address. This means the site is encrypted and safer for use.

Be prepared to pay additional fees: Unlike airline tickets, which are now required by law to disclose all taxes and additional fees upfront, the ticket price listed at the start of the purchasing process will likely not be your final price.

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies and 11,000 charities, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.

If you need more information, contact the BBB at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501. You can also visit www.bbb.org.  Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/BBB_WesternVA and on Facebook at facebook.com/BBBWesternVA.