As another Texas summer with record-breaking heat ends and the beginning of the fall season approaches, many people will be looking to get out and enjoy themselves at various events across the state. Residents may be planning on watching their favorite sports team compete this season or attending a concert featuring a famous musician. With the prices of tickets to major events increasing and the ever-present threat of con artists capitalizing on marketplace trends, BBB recommends consumers exercise caution when searching for and purchasing tickets to their next event.
While most people know to be careful when purchasing tickets off a third-party website or reseller, recent reports to BBB Scam Tracker show a concerning trend of scammers disguising themselves as reputable ticket sellers when interacting with the victim. These schemes often leverage the credibility of companies such as Ticketmaster to convince victims to provide payment for tickets that are either fake, for the wrong event or priced significantly higher than the going rate. Some may also advertise discounted tickets for high-priced seats or sections, which turns out to be false once the tickets are received, or the purchaser arrives at the venue.
In many worst-case scenarios, a consumer who is provided a fake ticket plans an entire weekend around the event, including travel costs and a hotel room, only to be turned away at the entrance. Victims may also find that the credit or debit card used to pay for the tickets has a series of charges they do not recognize, resulting in them having to cancel the card and dispute those transactions with their bank to varying degrees of success.
To help prevent fraudulent sellers from interrupting your event plans, Better Business Bureau provides the following tips:
Purchase directly from the venue whenever possible. Many consumers automatically go to a secondary resale market to purchase tickets for an upcoming event before first checking with the venue. Going directly to the venue may not only save money, but it also is a way to ensure that a purchase is for a valid ticket. Venues also often include what secondary resale organization they are listing their tickets on, giving consumers an additional layer of protection from purchasing fake tickets.
Consider your source. There is a significant difference between purchasing a ticket from a professional ticket broker and a ticket scalper. While dealing with the latter may result in obtaining valid tickets, the risk of encountering a scammer is significantly greater. Always exercise caution when purchasing from sources that are not members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) or the Better Business Bureau.
Research the seller/broker. Brokers who are members of NATB offer a 200% purchase guarantee on tickets, protecting consumers that use their services. Visit NATB.org to confirm you are interacting with a NATB-member resale company.
Check for website encryption. It is good practice to always check for the lock symbol in the website address, indicating a secured system is enabled on the site. BBB strongly recommends against giving any banking information to websites that are not secured.
Know the refund policy. Only purchase tickets from a ticket reseller that clearly details the purchase terms. Avoid sellers who do not disclose where the seats are located or where purchasers can pick up tickets. If the deal seems “too good to be true,” trust your instincts and thoroughly investigate the seller before purchasing tickets.
Use protected payment options. Debit or gift cards, mobile banking apps and cash transactions are risky due to difficulties recovering money if the tickets are fake. BBB recommends using credit cards for all online purchases due to the additional protections they offer consumers to obtain a refund.
Verify tickets. If you doubt the authenticity of a purchased ticket, present it to the “Will Call” or customer service center of the event venue. They will inform you if it is legitimate or explain how a legitimate ticket for their venue should look.