Fans have begun packing stadiums to watch their favorite teams as players take to the field. Whether you’re planning a family outing to see a game or you’ve gathered a group of your closest friends for a rivalry showdown; buying tickets or apparel from a safe and reliable source can make all the difference.
In 2017, Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Scam Tracker received more than 35,000 inquiries nationwide about event ticket sales. Consumers have filed nearly 200 complaints about problems with ticket brokers.
The most common complaints were issues with refunds and exchanges, poor customer service, and guarantees/warranties not being met.
Unfortunately, scammers also target fans buying team apparel, as BBB received almost 900 counterfeit product scam submissions last year alone. So be careful when purchasing your favorite teams gear!
Make sure you get the most of this year’s football season with BBB’s playbook of how to purchase safely:
- Be careful buying tickets:The best way to buy tickets to professional football games is through the National Football League’s (NFL) website and the official websites of NFL teams. For college football tickets, make sure you’re buying from a legitimate company or from the school’s box office itself. If tickets are sold out and you need to go through a re-seller, make sure to look the business up on org to see their BBB rating, complaint history and reviews from past customers. Before buying, read the refund and guarantee policies carefully to see if there are any buyer protections.
- Only buy authentic apparel:It’s best to make purchases through the official NFL shop, an official team shop, or an authorized reseller–that’s where you’ll find authentic licensed merchandise. The same goes for college football gear. Make sure you’re buying from the college’s official team site or a reputable website that’s legally allowed to sell NCAA gear. Authentic apparel will always have the correct fonts, colors and spelling, attached tags will usually have hologram stickers, and there won’t be any loose threads or other signs of poor quality.
- Don’t fall for a prize scam:If you receive an email out of the blue claiming that you won free tickets or a trip to an NFL or NCAA game, don’t get too excited. In 2017, consumers reported more than 2,800 sweepstakes/lottery/prize scams to BBB Scam Tracker. If you get an unsolicited phone call, email or letter saying that you’ve won a big prize, but first have to send a sum of money to pay for processing fees or taxes, it’s probably a scam. Remember, you’ll never have to pay for winning a legitimate sweepstakes, lottery or prize.
- Don’t post ticket photos:Lastly, no matter how excited you are for the upcoming game, do NOT post photos of your tickets on social media sites. Scammers often try to replicate tickets using bar codes that could prevent you from getting into the game in the first place. A scammer could replicate your ticket’s code from a photo online and another fan could have already gotten into the game using their fraudulent ticket.
If you encounter a scam this football season, make sure to report it to BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.