Baseball season is here! Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Coastal California offers advice for buying baseball tickets and gear
Bay Area baseball fans, rejoice! Opening day for the Oakland A’s is April 3, and the San Francisco Giants’ first home game is April 10. Want to attend a game? It’s important to be safe when purchasing tickets so that you don’t get turned away at the gate.
In 2016, consumers nationwide filed around 3,000 complaints on ticket brokers and event ticket sellers with BBB. The leading cause for complaints was problems with refunds and exchanges. Consumers allege being unable to get refunds (even if shows were cancelled or postponed), being charged hidden fees and receiving fraudulent tickets.
It can be fun to wear team gear to the game, but only if it’s authentic! Consumers nationwide reported nearly 500 counterfeit product scams to BBB Scam Tracker in 2016, and 53% involved a monetary loss. Buying gear online is especially tricky. In 2016, consumers reported around 2,800 online purchase scams to BBB Scam Tracker. These scams often involve purchasing an item from an unknown website and never receiving it.
- Watch out for ticket fraud. Stick to trustworthy sources when buying tickets. The best way to buy is through the Major League Baseball (MLB) official website, mlb.com. If they’re sold out and you have to purchase from an online ticket exchange or broker, be careful. Unfortunately, ticket fraud can occur when you purchase tickets from the secondary market. Look up every business at bbb.org and check out their BBB Business Profile before making a purchase. For more tips on avoiding fraudulent tickets, visit bbb.org/tickets.
- When buying gear, watch out for counterfeits. The best way to be sure the hats and jerseys you’re buying are authentic is by shopping at the MLB’s official store, mlbshop.com. You can also find MLB licensed gear from authorized resellers. If you’re unfamiliar with the business or website, make sure to look it up at bbb.org first to avoid an online purchase scam. Know the signs that an item is counterfeit: it’s much less expensive than items from official shops, the website has spelling or grammatical errors, or logos and colors on the merchandise aren’t right.
- Be smart when making a purchase. Whenever you’re making a purchase online, protect yourself. Verify that the website is secure by looking for the “https:”, where the “s” stands for “secure”, and other trust marks. Make sure your computer is running up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware software. Always try to use a credit card, as they offer more protection than debit and prepaid cards, and never pay by wire transfer or gift cards. Additionally, always read the purchase terms and conditions carefully! Understand the refund and guarantee policies before making a purchase, and be on the lookout for hidden fees.
- Don’t show up empty handed. Don’t plan on buying tickets or gear outside the venue. Tickets sold by scalpers are often either overpriced or fake, and gear sold outside the gates is also likely to be overpriced or counterfeit. Avoid stress by showing up to the game with a ticket in hand!
- Look up your seats beforehand. When purchasing a ticket, make sure you know the section, row and seat number. Look up the seat location before buying the ticket to ensure the seats exist, they’re in a location you like and the view isn’t obscured. Know what you’re buying to avoid possible disappointment when you arrive.
If you encounter fraudulent tickets or counterfeit goods, let BBB know! You can file a complaint on a business here, and report a scam to BBB Scam Tracker here.