Excitement is in the air as the New England Patriots head to Super Bowl LI on February 5th. As Massachusetts residents look to travel to Houston, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is warning about ticket and travel scams.
“Events that have high ticket demand and low availability drive the ticket re-sale market,” warns Consumer Affairs Undersecretary John Chapman. “Unfortunately, fans hoping to buy tickets to one of the most coveted games of the year often fall victim to scams, losing not only their chance to view the game, but also losing thousands of dollars.”
Advice to Consumers
- Attempt first to buy tickets straight from the venue or an authorized vendor. If that is not an option, consumers should only buy from third party resellers that have an authenticity guarantee.
- Avoid purchasing tickets or travel packages from sites such as Craigslist or eBay.
- Check reviews from multiple sources and Read the Service or User Agreements.
- Read the policies regarding cancellations and returns for all ticket, hotel, and travel purchases.
- Use a credit card to pay for tickets or travel purchases. Credit cards provide some protections should you need to dispute the charge. This is made more difficult with checks, money orders, wire transfers, or cash.
- Consumers renting property from an online site should confirm the property site and destination, and that the rental is legitimately available.
- If game tickets are advertised as a part of a travel package, the consumer must be shown either the actual tickets or a written confirmation of how the tickets will be delivered.
- Federal “Truth in Ticketing” rules also provide for a full refund of the entire package price if your deal was supposed to include a game ticket and you did not receive one.
- Consumers may cancel a tour package without penalty if the operator increases the price by more than 10 percent of the originally quoted price.
The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the State’s lemon laws, data breach reporting, and home improvement contractor programs, and the State’s Do Not Call Registry. Follow the office at its blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter @Mass Consumer.