BBB Warns Inaugural Ticket Buyers

Before you buy a ticket to the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama, be warned.

Monday, Dec 15, 2008  |  Updated 10:15 AM PDT
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Before you buy a ticket to the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama, be warned.

The San Diego Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants you to know there are con artists peddling phony tickets to the historic event.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies is responsible for divvying out roughly 240,000 tickets to members of Congress, who then provide the tickets to constituents, typically via a lottery system or a first-come, first-served basis, and there is no requirement to disclose a list of recipients.

The tickets are free, and it's a violation of ethics rules for Congressional staff members to sell the tickets. But, that has not stopped scalpers from trying to sell tickets they don't even have and may never get, according to the BBB.

If you find a ticket on Ebay, that doesn’t mean you’ll have a seat. Online brokers may be unable to fulfill orders due to a limited supply of tickets that are expected to be available only a few days before the ceremonies on Jan. 20.

If you’re still a trusting individual, the BBB suggests you at least follow this advice:

  • Do business with a ticket reseller who is a BBB Accredited Business, many of whom are offering a money-back guarantee if they cannot secure tickets. Look for the BBBOnLine seal, which signifies the company has a good reputation for satisfying customers and a secure website for processing payments.
  • Do not pay with a cashier's check or wire money to a seller, since there would be no legal protection for a refund if the tickets do not arrive.

Before buying decisions are made, consumers are encouraged to phone the BBB's free 24 hour Consumer Helpline at (858) 496 2131 or (800) 600 7050, or visit the website to obtain free information and a list of BBB accredited businesses in a particular type of industry.

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