CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Thousands of Carolina Panthers fans who did not get through on Ticketmaster Wednesday have 10 days to find tickets to the January 12 Divisional Playoff game at an affordable price.
As demand grows, the opportunity for fans to get scammed also grows and the Better Business Bureau has a warning for fans to watch out for fake tickets and counterfeit merchandise.
The BBB has tips to help fans get the hottest tickets in town without getting burned.
If you weren't one of the lucky fans who got tickets through Ticketmaster, playoff tickets are on sale through the Official NFL Ticket Exchange with prices ranging from $200 to $10,000 per ticket. These tickets are verified by Ticketmaster as being authentic.
"The best option for fans is to buy playoff game tickets from a reputable online ticket broker that has a money-back guarantee," said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. "Carolina Panthers fans are more likely to be scammed by fake tickets if they buy them on the street before the game or through online classifieds that do not have a money-back guarantee."
The BBB's database includes reputable, secondary market, ticket firms that provide buyer protections including money back guarantees on the legitimacy of tickets. TicketsNow (BBB grade A+) verifies tickets sold online and sends you the tickets via email immediately after you purchase them.
StubHub (BBB grade A+) and RazorGator (BBB grade A+) require sellers to provide credit-card numbers as a protection to buyers. If the seller's tickets are fake, the seller's credit card gets charged for the cost of replacement tickets.
The BBB has four tips for football fans to follow:
1. If you are buying tickets on the street before the game, be very careful. When you get to the gate and find out your tickets aren't real, the seller will be long gone. To minimize the risk, you should find out what a real ticket looks like so you will know if the one you are buying looks real.
2. If you are buying from an online ticket broker, look for the BBB seal so you know that you are dealing with a company that has a good reputation and a secure website for processing your payment. You should conduct the sales transaction through the online site. Don't be lured away by a seller who would prefer to conduct the transaction privately.
3. If you are buying tickets through Craigslist you should never pay the seller by wire transfer or prepaid debit card such as the Green Dot card from Walmart. You will have no way to get your money back if the tickets are counterfeit.
4. If you are buying from a local seller whom you do not know, you should meet the seller in a public place to conduct the transaction.
Not only will scammers look to profit from fake tickets, but they will also be selling counterfeit merchandise that is not licensed by the NFL or the Carolina Panthers. The BBB urges Panthers fans to buy merchandise from the Official Team Store and authorized retailers. The BBB warns that merchandise sold via pop-up stands on street corners and in parking lots is most likely to be counterfeit.