With “March Madness” upon us, college basketball fans across the country are looking for tickets to see their team in the Big Dance. However, consumers should to be smart when searching for and purchasing tickets to ensure they are buying from a trustworthy source.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) has teamed up with the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) to raise awareness and educate consumers about the smartest ways to buy tickets on the secondary resale market. The NATB, a BBB National Partner, is an association of more than 200 professional ticket resale companies who abide by a strict Code of Ethics with numerous consumer protection measures such as a 200% money-back guarantee.
When scouting for discount tickets to a big sporting event or trying to snag seats to a sold-out concert, many consumers turn to the secondary ticket resale market, which includes online ticket exchanges and professional resellers (or brokers). Purchasing tickets from the secondary market can be a great deal but, unfortunately, ticket fraud can occur. Be wary when purchasing from someone you do not know, or if a deal sounds too good to be true. Not only could you lose money, you could miss out on a great event.
Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to avoid fraudulent ticket purchasing:
- Purchase from the venue. Whenever possible, use the official ticket sales agent for the venue. Many now offer secondary sales options, as well.
- Consider your source. Know the difference between a professional ticket broker (a legitimate and accredited reseller), a ticket scalper (an unregulated and unlicensed ticket seller), and a scammer selling fraudulent tickets.
- Check out the seller/broker. Look them up on bbb.org to learn what other customers have experienced. Check to see if they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. NATB members offer a 200% purchase guarantee on tickets. Look up the seller on VerifiedTicketSource.com to confirm you are buying from an NATB-member resale company.
- Buy only from trusted vendors. Buy online only from vendors you know and trust. Look for the lock symbol in the web address to indicate a secure purchasing system. Don’t click through from emails or online ads; a common scam trick is to create a web address that is similar to a well-known company.
- Know the refund policy. You should only purchase tickets from a ticket reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction. Sellers should disclose to the purchaser, prior to purchase, the location of the seats represented by the tickets, either orally or by reference to a seating chart; and, if the tickets are not available for immediate access to the purchaser, disclose when the tickets will ship or be available for pick up.
- Use payment methods that come with protection. Always use a credit card so you have some recourse if the tickets are not as promised. Debit cards, wire transfer or cash transactions are risky; if the tickets are fraudulent, you won’t be able to get your money back.
- Be wary of advertisements. When you search the web for online tickets, advertisements for cheap tickets will often appear. Use good judgment; some of these ads are going to be scams, especially if the prices are low.
- If you’re unsure, verify your tickets. Pay a visit to the arena where the event will be held. Present your ticket to “Will Call” (customer service) and they can verify if your ticket is legitimate.