Football season is finally here! Were you wishing you could be witnessing the touchdowns in person while you watched Sunday’s games on TV? Or maybe you’re feeling so excited about your team’s potential this year that you want to buy some apparel and show off your spirit.
Luckily, you have the whole season in front of you to attend games and buy gear! Unfortunately, however, scammers or unethical businesses may try to take advantage of your excitement.
In 2016, Better Business Bureau (BBB) received nearly 3,000 complaints about ticket brokers and ticket sales companies. The most common complaint was issues with refunds and exchanges, followed by poor customer service. Buying authentic gear to support your favorite team can also be tricky. Consumers reported around 500 counterfeit product scams to BBB Scam Tracker in 2016.
If you’re hoping to score a touchdown when buying football tickets and merchandise, follow these tips from your BBB:
- 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. If tickets are sold out and you need to go through a reseller, make sure to look the business up on org to see their BBB rating, complaint history and reviews from past customers. There, you can also find a number of trustworthy BBB Accredited resellers to choose from. Before buying, read the refund and guarantee policies carefully to see if there are any buyer protections. Anytime you purchase a ticket through the secondary ticket resale market, ticket fraud can occur. Visit bbb.org/tickets for more tips.
- 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 game, don’t get too excited. In 2016, consumers reported more than 2,300 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 small sum of money to pay for processing fees or taxes, it’s probably a scam. Learn more at org/prizescam.
- 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. If you’re unfamiliar with the business or website, look it up at org. Even if a website shows the BBB Accredited Business Seal, click on it to verify that it’s legitimate or search for the business independently on bbb.org. Just as it’s easy for scammers to create a fake website, they can also fake the BBB Seal. 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. More information on avoiding counterfeit products can be found at bbb.org/counterfeitscam.
If you encounter a scam this football season, make sure to report it to BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.