Better Business Bureau offers tips for buying sporting event and concert tickets

Football may be on hiatus, but there's plenty of other sporting events taking place. Spring training games are underway, March Madness is quickly approaching, and several new concert tours have been announced as well — prompting the likelihood you'll be in the market for event tickets soon.

Securing tickets to popular sporting events and concerts can be difficult and competitive. Many stadiums and venues have gone to only accepting digital tickets, which in turn has increased the possibility for ticket scams to occur. In fact, dozens of reports have recently been shared on BBB Scam Tracker from individuals who experienced scams while buying tickets on the secondary resale market for concerts, sporting events, theatre and more.

Thanks to the internet, there are countless ways for consumers to find tickets and connect with online marketplaces, ticket sellers and resellers. While there are legitimate sites, some offers are designed exclusively to steal your money. It can be difficult to determine if tickets being offered are authentic.

The great news is there are steps you can take to help ensure you get to cheer on your favorite teams at a game or sing along live with your favorite musicians. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has teamed up with the National Association of Ticket Brokers to raise awareness about ticket fraud, while educating fans about the smartest ways to buy tickets on the secondary resale market.

Here's tips to help, whether you are looking to buy tickets for a game, concert or any other event:

— Purchase from the venue whenever possible. Many official ticket sales agents now offer secondary sales options, as well.

— Consider your source. Know the difference between a professional ticket broker (a legitimate and accredited reseller), a ticket scalper (an unregulated and unlicensed ticket seller) and a scammer selling scam tickets.

— Check out the seller/broker. Look them up on to learn what other customers have experienced. Check to see if they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. Association members offer a 200% purchase guarantee on tickets. Look up the seller on to confirm you are buying from an association-member resale company.

— Buy only from trusted vendors. Buy online only from vendors you know and trust who also ensure secure transactions. Look for the lock symbol in the web address to indicate a secure purchasing system. Don't click through emails or online ads; a common ticket scam trick is to create a web address that is similar to a well-known company. Carefully type in the authentic website you want to visit to make a purchase to help avoid clicking on an impostor site.

— Know the refund policy. You should only purchase tickets from a ticket reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction. Sellers should disclose to the purchaser, before purchase, the location of the seats represented by the tickets, either orally or by reference to a seating chart; and, if the tickets are not available for immediate access to the purchaser, disclose when the tickets will ship or be available for pick up.

— Use payment methods that come with protection. Always use a credit card so you have some recourse if the tickets are not as promised. Debit cards, wire transfers or cash transactions are risky. If the tickets are fraudulent, you likely won't be able to get your money back.

— Be wary of advertisements. When you search the web for online tickets, advertisements for cheap tickets will often appear. Use good judgment; some ads will be ticket scams, especially if the prices are low. Consider a low price for a very high-in-demand event to be a big red flag.

— If you're unsure, verify your tickets. Pay a visit to the arena where the event will be held. Present your ticket to "Will Call" (customer service), and they can verify if your ticket is legitimate and show you how to tell if it is fake.

Gary Adler, executive director and counsel for the National Association of Ticket Brokers, offers some additional advice. He recommends people download their tickets to a digital wallet before the event. With large crowds outside the stadium or venue, cellphone service may be spotty, making it harder to access your ticket.

He also noted that association members are professional resellers.

"They are in the business of doing things right," Adler said. "Think about it — you are not going to be a professional reseller if you do not deliver what you promise or take care of customers. If in the event there is some issue, if you have bought from a reputable reseller member of our association, you will have some recourse. Always go back to making sure you do your homework and make sure you know who you are buying from."

BBB's sports and leisure HQ offers additional resources and tips related to sporting events.

BBB has two upcoming events to arm our community with more protections from fraud:

March 7: BBB is partnering with experts from the Federal Trade Commission, the Tennessee attorney general's consumer affairs division, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and AARP to provide a fraud summit as part of National Consumer Protection Week. Panelists will share tips on common frauds targeting our area and will also take questions from attendees.

The event will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Family Justice Center at 5705 Uptain Road in Chattanooga. For more information, please call 423-287-5540.

April 13: BBB will be hosting its free biannual shred day event from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. at 2111 W. Shepherd Road in Chattanooga. (Location is near Exit 1A/Airport off Highway 153).

Residents can bring paper documents and hard drives containing personal information to be destroyed. Electronics can also be brought for recycling and outdated or unneeded prescription drugs can be dropped off for safe disposal.

Please limit documents to three large trash bags per person and limit hard drives to four per person. For more information, please visit or call your BBB at 423-266-6144.

photo Staff photo / Chattanooga Better Business Bureau President Michele Mason


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