Buffalo, NY—Hockey season is here, and fans are always looking to get a great deal on their favorite players' jersey or other gear from their team. A Buffalo Sabres fan filed a complaint with Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York recently about a website they thought was legitimate, until the product didn’t come and they had no way to contact the owners of the site.
The website, hockeysabresshop.com, passed itself off as “the official online store of the Buffalo Sabres.” Through our complaint process, we reached out to the owners of the website several times asking for more information about the company. A BBB investigation revealed the domain name hockeysabresshop.com is overseas and was using the BBB logo fraudulently.
This is what the website looked like before it was shut down
From the complaint: “Website looks professional until I realized payment was made through a 3rd party, there is no contact telephone number nor any physical address, the language in some of the descriptions is not proper English (poor grammar and punctuation).”
You can view the BBB Business Profile here.
BBB worked with the NHL and the Buffalo Sabres to shut the website down, through a Federal court order.
To avoid purchasing counterfeit products, BBB has the following advice:
- Shop in established stores and on reputable websites. Try to shop at the team’s own store or website or at an authorized retailer. If you are not familiar with a website or business, make sure to look it up at bbb.org first to see its rating, complaint history, and reviews from past customers.
- Ensure that any website where you’re shopping is legitimate: Hover over links, check that the spelling and grammar are professional, and double check the URL and logo. It’s easy for scammers to create a fake website imitating a brand in an attempt to phish consumers.
- Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. If you see an ad for an expensive item at a low price, be careful. It probably means it’s counterfeit. Don’t click on ads you see online, on social media or that come in an unsolicited email. Even if the email or ad is from a brand you’ve heard of, look up the URL independently because it may be phishing.
- Buy sports merchandise that’s officially licensed. You can find authentic licensed merchandise and official retailers and resellers on the official website of your favorite team or league. Authentic apparel will always have the correct fonts, colors, and spelling, attached tags will usually have hologram stickers, and there won’t be any loose threads or other signs of poor quality.
The bottom line: trust your instincts. If you aren’t comfortable with any aspect of your purchasing experience, it’s better to just walk away. If you stumble upon a counterfeit website, let us know! Report the info to the brand owner, the authorities, and BBB Scam Tracker.
For real-time scam information, check out BBB’s Scam Tracker. For consumer tips and other information you can trust, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.