CT BBB: Buyer Beware When Purchasing Summer Event Tickets

Nationally, between May to September last year, BBB received more than 800 complaints against event ticket brokers.

Prevent ticket event fraud.
Prevent ticket event fraud.
By Howard Schwartz

Don’t Get Cheated By Counterfeit Ticket Sellers

Connecticut Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be cautious when buying tickets online or from individuals. Scammers know that event tickets are hot items and often hard to obtain, and that   there is a great deal of money to be made selling counterfeit tickets.

Ticket scams typically pop up on online auction and classified ad sites, and through disreputable ticket dealers.  Nationally, between May to September last year, BBB received more than 800 complaints against event ticket brokers. 

The most common complaints allege consumers paid for what ended up as counterfeit tickets or they paid in advance for tickets that never arrived. In other cases, they ended up with tickets that were in different sections than what the consumers ordered.

The National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) is a good place to turn when purchasing event tickets.  The NATB works with law enforcement agencies, professional sports teams and other organizations to fight counterfeit ticket sales.  

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

Know who you are dealing with - When purchasing tickets online, it’s important to know you’re working with a reputable seller.  Check their Business Review to look for any pattern of complaints at www.bbb.org.  Check sellers’ customer feedback if you are buying through an online auction site.

Be careful with classified ads – Online classified ad sites are a popular source for tickets, however, they’re also popular with criminals who are trying to sell counterfeits.  Unfortunately, any transactions between buyer and seller are private and do not offer the same protection as bona fide ticket sellers. 

Select a secure payment method – Getting a refund is difficult if not impossible if you pay by check or wire transfer and the tickets never arrive or are counterfeit.  Credit cards and secure online payment systems such as PayPal offer substantial protection against fraud.

Verify the total price - When buying tickets online, look out for “convenience” or “venue” fees that can raise the price.  Before you pay, be sure your invoice lists all charges, including shipping, handling, insurance and taxes.  Coupons and other discounts also should be properly deducted.

Watch out for cut rate prices - 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 someone is selling tickets to a popular event for much less than they are offered elsewhere, buy from someone else.  Some phony ticket sellers will use a hard luck story such as military deployment or moving as the reason they have to sell tickets suddenly and at bargain basement prices.

Read the fine print - 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.

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.

Howard Schwartz is Executive Communications Director, Connecticut Better Business Bureau

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This article previously was published as a post in the Connecticut Better Business Bureau News blog on Patch.


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