The Better Business Bureau of Central, Northern and Western Arizona issued a warning to consumers to beware when shopping for expensive and hard-to-find Fiesta Bowl tickets (or Super Bowl tickets, or BCS Championship tickets or tickets to other high profile sporting events) online or from scalpers.
Tickets sold in the secondary market is a multi-billion dollar industry, and not all of it is legitimate. A secondary market means any ticket broker or seller who didn't actually have the authority to issue the ticket; they acquired it from the team or the venue and are re-selling it. For instance, a season ticket holder who has tickets to the Fiesta Bowl and decides to sell them at a ticket exchange or on Ebay is a secondary ticket seller. Likewise, legitimate ticket brokers are secondary ticket sellers.
Because it is common for Fiesta Bowl or other special sporting event tickets to be very scarce, the only way that an average fan can get tickets is in the secondary market. But here are the risks:
- Once you pay for tickets purchased online, you have no way of knowing if they will ever show up.
- Your tickets may be rotten, including obstructed view seats, seats that aren't together, or otherwise not what you thought they were.
- You don't know if the tickets you are purchasing at an online exchange or from a scalper or unauthorized ticket broker are real or not. Your tickets may be counterfeit. You'll show up at the game, sometimes at considerable time and expense, and be turned away.
- Only the event, the venue and the event’s authorized ticketing company can guarantee the ticket you purchase online will be valid to attend the event.
- When buying from a merchant, always look for the BBBOnLine seal. The logo will tell you that you’re dealing with a company that has a good reputation for satisfying customers and a secure Web site for processing your payment.
- When buying from an individual through an online exchange don’t be lured away from the Web site by the seller. Even if you met the seller on the exchange Web site, the company may not guarantee any lost money if a transaction occurs outside their domain.
- If you buy tickets through an online auction, choose a seller with a long, continuous history of satisfied customers. Scammers can hijack old accounts, so make sure they have recently bought or sold other items.
- Pay with a credit card or through PayPal, which offer some protection and potential reimbursement. Never pay with a cashier’s check or wire money to a seller; you’ll have no way to get your money back if the tickets do not arrive.
- Many sellers will include pictures of the tickets with their posts on auction sites or bulletin boards. Scalpers near the venue will have the tickets themselves. Scrutinize the tickets closely for any inaccuracies or alterations, and cross-check the seat assignment with the map on the venue’s Web site before you buy.