If you are planning a trip to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil this month, chances are you already have made arrangements for tickets and accommodations.
But if you tend to put things off until the last minute — the competition runs from June 12 to July 13 — the Federal Trade Commission has some advice to guard against ticket scams.
That’s particularly timely since tickets already are scarce on the official FIFA website. Some 180,000 additional tickets were put up for sale Wednesday at midnight Brazilian time for all 64 matches, but it didn’t take long for many of the best games to sell out.
That means soccer fans may have to turn to ticket resellers, brokers or others if they don’t want to wait another four years to attend a World Cup match.
When they do, the FTC said in an advisory Thursday, soccer enthusiasts would be safer dealing with ticket resellers and brokers than pursuing tickets made available on classified ad websites.
The FTC says reputable resellers will guarantee the tickets are legitimate and will deliver them in time for the contest. They also will explain their refund policy in advance and what to do if an event is rescheduled or canceled.
If you buy tickets from a stranger through an online classified site, the FTC says, you could end up with counterfeit tickets, receive them too late to attend the match or may end up with tickets to a different venue or section than what you had been led to believe — with little or no recourse to make things right.
The FTC advises ticket buyers to:
- Verify the source to make sure it’s legitimate. If in doubt, contact the FIFA ticketing office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pay by credit card, which gives you a chance to dispute the charges should something go wrong.
- Never wire money — once sent, there’s no way to get it back.
- Go online to check the seller’s reputation, including running the company’s name through a search engine with the words “review,” “scam” or “complaint.”
- And stay away from travel packages that “guarantee” tickets, since FIFA did not authorize any tour operators to engage in those kind of deals.
The complete FTC release is available here.