With the Seattle Seahawks advancing into the first round of the NFL playoffs, the Better Business Bureau is warning the faithful 12th Man to avoid too-good-to-be-true deals on tickets, travel packages and Hawk accessories.
“It’s game on for scammers,” Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington Better Business Bureau CEO Tyler Andrew said. “As fans, we need to do our part in making sure that we’re dealing with trustworthy businesses and ticket brokers. Every year we see people taken for hundreds of dollars. This postseason it is imperative that consumers play it smart before handing over their hard earned cash.”
According to the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau, counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes in modern times, accounting for $600 billion a year. In 2014, Federal agents seized more than $21.6 million in fake NFL merchandise during Operation Team Player.
This postseason avoid the blitz by executing the following before buying tickets and gear.
- Start with trust. Use reputable and verifiable ticket resellers. BBB recommends the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) as they offer a 200% money-back guarantee.
- Read the fine print. Just because a travel package has “NFL Playoffs” in the name doesn’t mean it includes tickets; if game tickets are not explicitly mentioned in ads, do not assume they are included.
- Understand the law. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires sellers to have tickets in-hand before they can advertise inclusive ticket/airfare packages.
- Pass on the fakes. Be watchful for counterfeit merchandise sold at blockbuster prices. Official Seahawks gear can only be sold by authorized retailers.
- Research hotels and locations. Dishonest businesses may advertise that they are close to the stadium or “walking distance” when in fact they are not, requiring extra expenditures for car rentals or taxis.
- Get everything in writing. Before making payments, make sure contracts clearly outline all the terms and conditions of packages, including cancellation policies and related fees.
- Never feel pressured to make immediate decisions; always take time to research travel plans and businesses at bbb.org/search.