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BBB: How to Avoid Buying Counterfeit Event Tickets

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You’re excited. You’ve found what you think is a “great” deal on a pair of tickets to that big concert, championship tournament, or other big event. You buy the tickets, drive to Austin, San Antonio, Houston, or maybe even make the trek all the way up to Dallas. When you get to the doors of the venue, they scan your tickets. Then, like a cold slap to the face, the ticket-taker informs you that your “bargain” (or not, if you paid scalped rates) tickets are no good. In fact, they’re counterfeit. Phonies. Fakes. You may ask yourself, “How could I have fallen for it, and what do I do now?” Here’s some advice from the Better Business Bureau.

In this media release dated June 3, 2014, the BBB has this advice on how to avoid being a victim of scam artists who sell fake event tickets:

Texas is a hub for entertainment. With the NBA Finals just around the corner, the X Games hitting Austin this weekend and summer concerts in full swing, many fans are eager to get tickets to their favorite event. But, Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin warns consumers to be cautious when buying tickets online and from individuals.

Summer is a hot time for events and with that, the chance for scammers to take advantage of fans. During this time of year, scams typically pop up on online auction sites, classifieds and with ticket dealers. Last year, from May to September alone, BBB received over 800 complaints nationally against event ticket brokers. The most common complaints allege consumers paid for counterfeit tickets or paid in advance for tickets that never arrived.

The National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) is a good place to turn when purchasing event tickets. They work with law enforcement agencies, professional sports teams and other organizations to fight against counterfeit tickets. When purchasing tickets online, it’s important to know you’re working with a reputable seller.

If you are looking to buy special event tickets, BBB advises:

  • Do your research. When purchasing tickets through an online broker, look for the BBB seal on its website and check its BBB Business Review at bbb.org. Assess the company’s policy for customer satisfaction and what happens if tickets purchased through its site are fake or not as advertised.
  • Know the total price.  When buying tickets online, be mindful of convenience or venue fees that can raise the price. Before you make any payments, be sure it includes all charges, shipping, handling, insurance and taxes. Coupons and other discounts should be properly deducted.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The reason tickets are expensive is because they’re hard to get and the chances of you getting lucky and finding a deal are slim. If a situation sounds too good to be true, such as someone selling tickets to a popular event for much less than offered elsewhere, it probably is.
  • Pay with a credit card or PayPal account. Consumers should avoid paying by cash, check or wiring money to a seller. Often there is little or no way to get back your money if the tickets do not arrive, which is why scammers often do business this way. Using a credit card or PayPal account provides additional protection and the opportunity for potential reimbursement if the seller is uncooperative or does not follow through with sending tickets.
  • Keep a record of your purchase. Save any information the seller gives you such as receipts, product description, delivery date, cancellation policy, privacy policy, warranties and order confirmation numbers.
  • Read the fine print. Some websites include service charges and additional shipping fees with the purchase of tickets. Will you get a refund if it is cancelled or rained out? Is it standing room or seats? This information should be identified at the time of purchase or available on the website and disclosed to you before the transaction is finalized.

For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org.

Once again, the old saying rings true: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”

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