Thinking about splurging on tickets to watch the Blackhawks face off against the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals? The Better Business Bureau says buyer beware.
Fans purchasing tickets online should be especially cautious, the BBB warns, noting many sellers in the secondary ticket market are not licensed or bonded.
"Sports fans are often desperate to get tickets to the games which can lead them in the wrong direction when purchasing tickets," said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the BBB in Chicago and Northern Illinois. "The most common way sports fans are getting scammed online is by either paying for counterfeit tickets or tickets that never arrive."
Bernas notes 121 complaints have been filed against ticket sales companies in the past year, and consumer inquiries are up 45 percent.
How to protect yourself? The BBB suggests consumers make sure the broker is licensed as required in Illinois, avoid paying cash for tickets in person from a stranger in case the tickets are counterfeit, never wire funds and only deal with brokers that provide clear details concerning the terms of the transaction.
The latter means making sure you know the amount of the surcharge for each purchase, whether the tickets are guaranteed, how the tickets will be sent to you and the timeframe, as well as policies for refunds, rescheduling and cancellations.
A good rule of thumb is to check if the ticket broker is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers and avoid purchasing non-existent seats or seats with obstructed views by checking the location of the seats on a Hawks seating chart.
For more information, check the Better Business Bureau's website.