Warmer temperatures and blooming flowers can only mean one thing for North Carolinians: the NCAA Tournament.
March Madness returns to the state this week, with first- and second-round games being held at PNC Arena in Raleigh. The matchups will feature nearby powerhouses the University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia, meaning that demand for tickets should be sky-high. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm can make purchasing tickets a risky endeavor.
According to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, "scammers are experts at using the excitement of big events like March Madness to make a quick buck at your expense. If you're looking for tournament tickets, keep your guard up against scams."
Tickets to first-round games have a face value starting at $50, but resale markets require a much larger investment for individuals looking to make a last-minute purchase. According to online ticket vendor Stubhub, the asking price has jumped to more than $450 for premium seats.
To avoid ticket scams, Cooper suggests that North Carolina consumers:
- Avoid too-good-to-be-true prices. Tickets promised at a discount, face value or a little above may sound like a great deal. But be cautious about buying a ticket via social media, Craigslist and similar sites from someone you don't know, especially if the price is far below the going rate.
- Research ticket sellers. Check out ticket vendors and resellers with the Better Business Bureau and search for consumer reviews online.
- Check ticket details. Before you pay for tickets, ask the seller for details like section, row and seat number. Check the information against the venue's seating chart to ensure that the seats are legitimate.
- Be suspicious if asked to pay cash or by money order or wire transfer. Pay for tickets with a credit card when possible to improve your chances of getting your money back if there is a problem.
- Check refund policies. Read a ticket seller's refund policy before you make a purchase. If you have questions about the policy, ask and get answers in writing.