With the exciting announcement about Oklahoma’s native son Garth Brooks adding three more dates to The Garth Brooks World Tour at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Better Business Bureau® of Central Oklahoma is reminding the public to stay alert for potential ticket scams.
“This is a perfect example of when someone should shop locally and buy tickets directly from the venue, or venue authorized re-seller, as opposed to looking for a great deal,” said Kitt Letcher, president and CEO of BBB.
In instances of major concerts, sporting events, and other events that may draw a large crowd, many consumers turn to the secondary ticket resale market, which includes online ticket exchanges and professional resellers. While trying to get tickets from a secondary market could yield you a great deal, unfortunately it can also increase your risk of encountering ticket fraud.
“Be wary when purchasing from someone you do not know. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Letcher.
Fraudulent ticket purchases for different sporting and entertainment events are typically the source of hundreds of BBB complaints by consumers nationwide. The opportunity for fans to be tricked by bogus ticket sellers occurs most often when people buy tickets from individuals outside of an arena, on the street, or through online classified ads and bulletin boards.
BBB offers the following advice for fans hoping to get tickets for The Garth Brooks World Tour:
- Purchase from the venue. Whenever possible, use the official ticket sales agent for the venue. Many venues also offer recommended secondary sales options with verified tickets. Be careful buying tickets from someone on the street. When you get to the gate and find out your tickets aren't real, the seller will be long gone.
- Research the seller/broker. Look them up on bbb.org and check to see if they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. If you buy tickets through an online auction site, choose a seller with a long history of satisfied customers. Scammers can hijack old accounts, so make sure the seller has recently sold other tickets.
- Make a secure purchase. Look for the lock symbol in the web address to indicate a secure purchasing system. Ticket buyers should also be wary of sellers who try to lure buyers from a legitimate site to another site for a "private" transaction. Never pay a seller by wire transfer or pre-paid debit card. Always use a credit card so you have some recourse.
- Be wary of online ads. 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. 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.
- Confirm the details. Check the seats out ahead of time. Always ask for section, row and seat number to avoid obstructed seat views or seats that do not exist. Obtain the refund policy and terms of the transaction in writing. Avoid purchasing from someone who does not disclose this information.
Additionally, BBB advises consumers to watch out for these red flags:
- The ticket seller prefers to communicate via email. If the seller doesn’t provide a physical address or phone number as another option to communicate, that’s a red flag. With email, there’s no way to tell where the person is emailing from, or who the person is. Ask questions.
- The ticket seller cannot provide additional photos or information. Request more photos of the property, or ask to be given a virtual tour via webcam. Ask for specific details about the package or tickets you are purchasing. Legitimate owners and/or sellers will be happy to oblige.
- When meeting face-to-face, use smart buying practices. If the seller wants to meet in person and the tickets are a cash only purchase this could be a red flag. Additionally, if you’re finalizing a purchase face-to-face and arranging to pick up your tickets from a seller, buyers and sellers meeting up should make sure it’s in a public place during daylight hours. BBB advises against meeting someone you’ve never met, alone in an isolated place late at night.
“If a ticket broker is legitimate, they should be happy to answer your questions, send a receipt and/or verify their business information,” said Letcher.
To see tips, infographics, as well as a short video on what to be aware of when buying tickets online visit bbb.org/tickets.
If you have issues regarding a ticket purchase, file a complaint with BBB at bbb.org and report potential ticket scams to BBB Scam Tracker.