Got Playoff Fever? Fans Advised to Chill a Few Minutes Before Hitting the “Buy” Button

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The Better Business Bureau says buy tickets from a licensed broker and don't fall for fake team apparel.

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“As soon as the buzzer sounds and their team gets into the playoffs people rush to the computer and buy tickets without thinking,” says Steve McFarland, President & CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Los Angeles & Silicon Valley.

The eyes of the sports world are on the Bay Area as the Warriors and Sharks rip through the postseason like a buzz saw. While fan frenzy is at an all-time high, this is no time to take one's eye off the ball (or puck) when it comes to counterfeit tickets and merchandise. The Better Business Bureau recommends fans buy tickets from a licensed broker and don’t fall for fake team apparel.

“As soon as the buzzer sounds and their team gets into the playoffs people rush to the computer and buy tickets without thinking,” says Steve McFarland, President & CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Los Angeles & Silicon Valley. “A few minutes of research and forethought can save you the misery of losing hundreds, even thousands, and sitting at home wearing a fake jersey.”

Fans looking for tickets to the Stanley Cup semifinals in San Jose and NBA Western Conference Finals in Oakland should take these steps before purchasing:

  •     Check out the seller/broker on bbb.org first to see their history of complaints, customer reviews and any advertising concerns. Check to see if they belong to the National Association of Ticket Brokers. NATB members offer a 200% guarantee on tickets that don’t arrive in time for a game, concert or show.
  •     Know the difference between a ticket broker (a legitimate and accredited reseller) and a ticket scalper (an unregulated and unlicensed ticket seller).
  •     Check the refund policy and buy from a ticket reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction.
  •     Always use a credit card so charges can be disputed. Don’t pay with cash.
  •     Check out the seats ahead of time. Oracle Arena and SAP Center have seating charts.
  •     Immediately report counterfeit tickets to the NATB’s hotline at 630-510-4594 and file a complaint with the BBB.

Fans looking for merchandise should take these precautions:

  •     Be wary of sales or prices that seem too good to be true. In many of these cases, either the items do not exist or they are of poorer quality than officially licensed merchandise.
  •     Make sure the websites are official sites, authorized to sell licensed products. If they don't seem like official merchandise sites, contact the team or the league directly for help.
  •     Read the terms and conditions of sale carefully before placing an order.
  •     Paying by credit card makes it easier dispute the charge.

Many websites look like they’re NBA or NHL sanctioned but sell knock-offs or, even worse, take the money and don't ship any product. Nearly 1,500 China-based sites were shut down for selling counterfeit NFL jerseys, headwear and other products.

About BBB
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org.

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John Novaria
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