Tickets to Monday’s National Championship game between Clemson and Alabama are vanishing quickly, prices are skyrocketing and fans are lighting up the internet in search of seats in Raymond James Stadium. Unfortunately, Tigers fans in the Upstate and Crimson Tide fans in central and south Alabama could all be easy pickings for online scammers, according to the Better Business Bureau agencies in both areas.
“Scammers won’t care which team you’ll be cheering for,” said Vee Daniel, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of the Upstate. “If you’re willing to spend money, you are a target.”
“Always stop and think: Does this ticket offer make sense?” added David Smitherman, president and CEO of BBB serving central and south Alabama.
The agencies have joined together and smashed the boundaries of intercollegiate football rivalry to offer these tips:
- Purchase from the venue. Whenever possible, use the official ticket sales agent for the venue. Many now offer secondary sales options, as well.
- Check out the seller/broker. Look them up on bbb.org to learn what other customers have experienced. Check to see if they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (natb.org). NATB members offer a 200 percent guarantee on tickets that don’t arrive in time for a game, concert or show.
- Buy only from trusted vendors. Buy online only from vendors you know and trust. Look for the lock symbol in the web address to indicate a secure purchasing system. Don’t click through from emails or online ads; a common scam trick is to create a web address that is similar to a well-known company. If your event host redirects you to a third-party ticket broker, confirm that the ticket broker is selling tickets at a price that is listed clearly and always read the site’s fine print.
- Use a credit card. Regardless of where you buy tickets, always use a credit card so you have some recourse if the tickets are not as promised. Debit cards, wire transfer or cash transactions are risky. If you pay in these ways and the tickets are fraudulent, you won’t be able to get your money back.
- Be prepared to pay additional fees. Unlike airlines, which are now required by law to disclose all taxes and additional fees upfront, the ticket price listed at the start of the purchasing process will likely not be your final price
- Know the refund and guarantee policies. You should only purchase tickets from a ticket reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction. Be aware of policies regarding late arriving tickets or tickets that do not gain you admission to the event so that you can gather any required documentation to support your claim.
- Be wary of advertisements. When you search the web for online tickets, advertisements for cheap tickets will often appear. Use good judgment since some of these ads are going to be scams, especially if the prices are uncommonly low.
“Following these simple guidelines can help football fans have a fantastic National Championship experience in Tampa,” said Smitherman.
Of course, Clemson fans hope their experience in Tampa is a little more fantastic than Alabama’s.