It’s been a long six months, but baseball season is finally back! Whether you’re a fan of the Oakland A’s, the San Francisco Giants, or another team, excitement is in the air. It’s fun to show support either from the stadium or your couch, but be careful! Fans sometimes run in to trouble when buying tickets and gear.
In 2017, consumers nationwide filed nearly 3,900 complaints with BBB against ticket brokers and event ticket sales companies (up from 3,000 in 2016). The leading cause for complaints was problems with refunds and exchanges. Common complaints involve being unable to obtain refunds, poor customer service, and hidden fees.
Buying jerseys, hats, and other gear can also lead to issues. According to the BBB Risk Index, online purchase scams were the riskiest scam to consumers in 2017. Furthermore, clothing purchases were one of the most common online purchase scams. More than 4,600 online purchase scams were reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2017, up from around 2,800 reports in 2016. The majority of online purchase scams occur when a payment is made online in exchange for a good or service, but nothing is delivered.
- Don’t strike out when buying tickets. Stick to trustworthy sources when buying tickets. The best way to buy is through the Major League Baseball (MLB) official website, com. If they’re sold out and you have to purchase from an online ticket exchange or broker, be cautious. Look up every business at bbb.org and check out their BBB Business Profile before making a purchase. For more tips on avoiding fraudulent tickets, visit bbb.org/tickets.
- Only buy authentic gear. Nearly 900 counterfeit product scams were reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2017 – an increase of around 80% from 2016 – and the median loss was $150. Counterfeit goods mimic original merchandise, right down to the trademarked logo, but are typically of inferior quality. The safest way to be sure the hats and jerseys you’re buying are authentic is by shopping at the MLB’s official store, com. You can also buy MLB licensed gear from authorized resellers. Visit bbb.org to find trustworthy BBB Accredited Businesses and look up unfamiliar retailers.
- Be safe shopping online. Whenever you’re making a purchase online, use good judgement. Verify that the website is secure by looking for the “https:”, where the “s” stands for “secure”, and other trust marks. Make sure your computer is running up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware software. It’s best to use a credit card since they offer more protection than debit and prepaid cards. Never pay by wire transfer or gift cards – if a seller insists on an unusual form of payment, consider it a red flag! Make sure to read the terms and conditions of your purchase carefully. Understand the refund and guarantee policies before clicking the “checkout” button, and be on the lookout for hidden fees. You can check out more online shopping tips at org/shoppingonline.