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How To Avoid Buying Counterfeit Tickets

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 05:06 PM CDT

With football season underway and Austin City Limits Music Festival and Formula One just around the corner, many fans are eager to get tickets to their favorite events. Better Business Bureau warns that buying a ticket from the wrong person could leave you outside the gates.

During this time of year, scams can typically pop up on online auction sites, classifieds and bulletin boards. The most common ways consumers get burned through these sites is by paying for counterfeit tickets or paying in advance for tickets that never arrive.

Consumers should also be cautious when buying tickets on event day from individuals they don't know. Many times these are cash transactions, which leaves little recourse for the consumer should the tickets turn out to be fake.

BBB offers these tips for those looking to purchase tickets:

  • Do your research. When purchasing tickets through an online broker, look for the BBB seal on their website and check out their BBB Business Review. Assess the company’s policy for customer satisfaction and what happens if tickets purchased through their site are fake or not as advertised.
  • Verify the tickets are real. If buying online, ask to see a picture of the tickets so you can confirm the seats match up with the venue. If your friends already have tickets, you can also compare and make sure they look the same as the ones you want to buy. Search for guidance online about how the tickets should look.
  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. 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 a situation sounds too good to be true, such as someone selling tickets to a popular event for much less than offered elsewhere, it probably is.
  • Pay with a credit card or PayPal account. Consumers should avoid paying by cash, check or wiring money to a seller. Often there is little or no way to get back your money if the tickets do not arrive, which is why scammers often do business this way. Using a credit card or PayPal account provides additional protection and the opportunity for potential reimbursement if the seller is uncooperative or does not follow through with sending tickets.
  • Watch for hidden fees. Some websites include service charges and additional shipping fees with the purchase of tickets. While these charges should be identified on the website and disclosed to you before the transaction is finalized, read the fine print to make sure you know the total cost that will be billed to your account.

By Bettie Cross

How To Avoid Buying Counterfeit Tickets

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