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Beware of World Series Ticket & Lodging Scams

The BBB is warning sports fans to be alert for scammers selling bogus tickets or hotel reservations.

With the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, we at the Better Business Bureau of Detroit & Eastern Michigan are warning sports fans to be alert for scammers selling bogus tickets or hotel reservations. 

Tiger fever can lead to poor decision making when presented with the possibility of getting into a World Series game and heightens the possibility of being scammed by fake ticket sellers. This occurs most often when people buy tickets from individuals outside the stadium, on the street or through online auctions, classified ads and bulletin boards. Sports fans can be scammed by purchasing counterfeit tickets or paying in advance for tickets that never arrive. In addition, hotel scams may involve invalid reservations or rooms advertised as close to the ballpark that either don’t exist or are nowhere near downtown.

The secondary ticket market has changed the ticket industry significantly as it has grown to be a $15 Billion industry according to Sports Marketing Quarterly. It includes tickets bought and sold by professional brokers as well as those purchased and resold by speculators and season ticket holders. Tickets purchased for sports and entertainment events are the source of hundreds of BBB complaints by consumers nationwide.
 
The BBB’s database of BBB Business Reviews includes reputable, secondary market ticket firms that provide buyer protections, including some that offer money-back guarantees if tickets are fake. On some sites, sellers also must provide credit-card numbers so the site can charge a seller’s card for the cost of replacement tickets if they sell fake tickets.

The Detroit Tigers have their own website (http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/det/ticketing/postseason_info.jsp) for selling tickets held by season ticket holders.

The BBB advises fans to ask lots of questions and be wary of an offer that sounds too good to be true or that requires wiring money. When you send money by wire, it is almost impossible to get it back or to trace the recipient, who may be overseas. 

The following are some BBB tips for buying tickets or finding housing for the World Series or other events:

For ticket purchasing:

  • Read any ads carefully, making sure you understand what is being offered and what the total price will be.
  • Ask the seller where he or she is located and how he or she may be contacted after the sale. If the seller is evasive, don’t pursue the offer.
  • Do your research. Know the price of tickets and be familiar with the seating chart of the arena.
  • Only purchase from reputable sources.
  • Ask to see the seller's original invoice from when the tickets were purchased.
  • Try to meet the seller in person in a public place during the day.
  • If you are purchasing online, use either a credit card or a PayPal account. Both of those options offer some protection if the tickets are fake.
  • Don't send cash or wire money to anyone you don't know.
  • Never be afraid to ask questions or request information.
  • Check to make sure the firm is an NATB member.

For hotel reservations:

  • Ask for the name, address and phone number of the hotel where the room is located, and call the hotel to verify that the room actually exists. Check the hotel’s website or a well-known travel site to be sure that the location is convenient for getting to and from the ballpark.
  • Be wary of ads that pile on incentives to make the package look better. Often the items – such as lanyards, T-shirts or other trinkets – have limited value.
  • Again do your research.  A variety of travel guidebooks and online reviews address services and amenities at hotels and motels.  Check BBB Business Reviews of hotels by going to www.bbb.org.
  • Make sure you get a confirmation number from the business when reserving a room.  Also, make sure you know times of check-in and check-out, and clearly understand  the type of room you are paying for (smoking or nonsmoking, queen or double beds, regular room or suite, etc.)
  • If you have any concern about the quality of a motel or hotel, ask to inspect your room before moving in. You have a better chance to get satisfaction from staff or management if you have not already accepted your room.  If you spot a problem, report it to the front desk immediately.

Before doing business with a company, check its BBB Business Review by going to www.bbb.org or by calling 248.223.9400.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lori T. Williams October 24, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Thanks for posting scam alerts! It's helpful to know in advance what's legit and what isn't. I shared a link to this blog post on twitter and another attorney colleague of mine retweeted it! I was curious about another scam. On a regular basis, I receive what I believe are bogus emails allegedly from BBB in other States about a so called claim. Since I only work with local clients, I just ignore those. In the case of a legitimate complaint would the BBB in the State you do business in reach out to you, or could it come from another State? Also, do they use email, US mail, or phone calls as the method of contact on complaints? This might make another good blog post to advise business owners of email scams by people pretending to be the BBB.
Better Business Bureau October 26, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Thanks Lori - I just came over here to post our alert on this. It is a scam that we've been using a prevention team to deactivate. Please see our next post.

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