(KTVI) - The Consumer Fraud Task Force advises music and sports fans to be extremely cautious about buying tickets to events on the secondary market. Chris Thetford, from the Better Business Bureau, stopped by to explain this sitution with Elliot Weiler.
The warning comes on the heels of several recent reports from consumers who said they paid for tickets they never received or which turned out to be counterfeit.
In some cases, ticket buyers said they lost hundreds of dollars. Many said they have been unable to get refunds.
The Task Force warns that as prices rise for high-demand events, the lure to potential thieves becomes increasingly tempting. Thieves may be particularly active in September and October in the St. Louis area as the baseball Cardinals enter the final weeks of the season and, potentially, the playoffs.
Recent cases involving area ticket sellers or events include:
- The sale of about two dozen “very poorly done” counterfeit tickets to the May 23 English Premier League soccer game between Manchester City and Chelsea at Busch Stadium.
- The arrest of a St. Ann woman following media reports that she used Craigslist ads to sell several duplicate copies of tickets to the Bruno Mars concert at Scottrade Center.
- Concert goers in several states who complained that they paid a ticket broker from western Illinois hundreds of dollars each for tickets they never received.
Nationally, ticket scammers have been arrested in recent months for selling fake tickets to California’s Disneyland, this year’s Super Bowl and a One Direction concert in Philadelphia. In June, a federal grand jury charged two Pittsburgh brothers with stealing more than $70,000 from more than 250 people in a Craigslist ticket scam.
Rob Fasoldt, director of ticket sales and services for the Cardinals, said the baseball club tallied about 300 bogus tickets for the final two games of the 2011 World Series.
Fasoldt said the only way to assure that tickets are legitimate is to buy directly through the Cardinals or through the team’s authorized ticket dealer, StubHub.
The Task Force offers the following tips for avoiding disappointment when purchasing tickets:
- Try to buy tickets directly from the venue, promoter or authorized ticket sellers, either online or at the box office.
- If you need to buy on the secondary market, try to buy from a reseller authorized by the original ticket seller, the venue or the promoter. If that isn’t possible, buy from a business or individual you know and trust.
- Be especially cautious of buying from strangers on online sites or outside the venue prior to an event.
- Pay with a credit card whenever possible in case you need to challenge the charge in the future.
- Never wire money or use pre-loaded cards to purchase tickets. Sellers who demand those payment methods usually are trying to steal your money.
- Examine your tickets closely before the event. Look for signs the tickets have been copied or otherwise faked.
- Contact the BBB for a Business Review of the company. Information on companies may be obtained by going to www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
The Task Force is a coalition of local, state and federal government agencies and nonprofit business and consumer groups in Missouri and Illinois that work together to protect consumer and donor rights and guard against fraud.
The Task Force has issued prior alerts on a wide variety of questionable business practices including payday loan offers, tax scams, timeshare reselling fraud, credit repair, bogus sweepstakes, Internet sweetheart scams, home remodeling and others.
To obtain information, or to report a scam, you may contact members of the Task Force:
Illinois Attorney General – (800) 243-0618; www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.
Missouri Attorney General – (800) 392-8222; www.ago.mo.gov.
U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri – (314) 539-2200; www.usdoj.gov/usao/moe.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service – (877) 876-2455; postalinspectors.uspis.gov.
U.S. Secret Service – (314) 539-2238; www.secretservice.gov.
Better Business Bureau in Greater Kansas City – (816) 421-7800; www.bbb.org.