A Word of Caution about World Cup Ticket Scams
There are only 7 days to go until the opening match of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and World Cup fever is in the air! In just a few days, soccer fans from around the world will descend on Brazil to watch their squad take the pitch to play “el jogo bonito” – the beautiful game.
Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who already scored tickets. But if you’re still looking to buy tickets to see your team play in Brazil, you might feel like it’s the 90th minute and you're down a goal. If you’re in the market for World Cup tickets, the Federal Trade Commission has some words of caution for you about ticket scams.
If you want to go straight to the source, FIFA.com is the official online source for World Cup tickets. FIFA also has various locations in Brazil where you can buy tickets in person. Learn more at FIFA.com/tickets.
Ticket resellers or ticket brokers also sell tickets to sporting events like the World Cup. A legitimate reseller will provide you a safe and secure way to buy tickets online. Reputable resellers:
- Offer guarantees that the tickets they sell are authentic and that they will deliver the correct tickets in time for the event.
- Should clearly explain on their website how they handle refunds if events are rescheduled or canceled
- Will tell you the location of the seats, and when the tickets will be available for pick up or when they will ship.
What about online classified ads offering tickets for sale? If something goes wrong with the sale, most websites don’t get involved and won’t help you resolve a problem with the person who posted the ad online. Scammers may try to take advantage of that. If you’re thinking about buying tickets from an online classified ad, know the risks.
- You might receive counterfeit tickets or tickets that are not valid. For example, Category 4 World Cup tickets are only valid for Brazilians. If you’re not Brazilian, you’ll be stuck at the gate.
- You might not receive your tickets or receive your tickets too late to attend the match.
- You might get tickets for a different venue or for a different section of the stadium than what you purchased.
If you decide to buy World Cup tickets online, the FTC and the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) encourage you to take these precautions to avoid a foul:
- Verify the source. If you have doubts about whether a source of World Cup tickets is legitimate, contact the FIFA Ticketing Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pay by credit card. Credit cards give you protections that other methods of payment may not. If there’s a problem, you have the right to dispute charges and temporarily withhold payment while your dispute is investigated.
- Never wire money to buy tickets. If something goes wrong with the transaction, you’ll have no way to get your money back. Once you wire money, it’s gone forever.
- Check out the seller’s reputation. Read reviews to see what people are saying about the individual selling the tickets or the website. Do a search using the seller’s name or website with terms like “reviews,” “scam” or “complaint.”
- Steer clear of travel packages offering “guaranteed” tickets. Travel websites may use logos and trademarks to make them look legitimate or even claim they are an official World Cup partner. A package deal might seem like the way to punch your ticket to Brazil, but don’t go for the fake. There is no official tour operator that is authorized by FIFA to sell packages that include tickets.
If you lost money to a bogus ticket broker, file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.