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While it may not feel like it, opening day for the Boston Red Sox is just around the corner, and the TD Garden is preparing to host games for the NCAA March Madness tournament. But before gearing up for this busy sports season with tickets and new apparel, make sure you are using reliable retailers to avoid getting scammed.

While official team sites or venues are the most reliable ticket retailer, the secondary resale market offers a variety of options for fans looking for tickets. If you decide to look for resale tickets, look for secure sites that have an authenticity guarantee and read the Service or User agreements. The Better Business Bureau recommends some secondary resellers that ensure secure transactions. It’s also recommend that consumers read reviews of their services to see if other consumers had any issues with getting their tickets.

If you are shopping for apparel anywhere other than on the official team website, you have to be careful about which websites you visit. Research individual online companies before selecting one to buy from. Look for reviews of the company to make sure other consumers received official apparel for the price they paid. Some red flags of an unreliable retailer are if they have no phone number to contact them publicized on their website or if they advertise unbelievably low prices. While it is smart to look for good deals, don’t get sucked into a scam just because the price is attractive.  Be sure to also check the retailer’s website so that you fully understand their return/refund policy.

Some sporting events mark the sign of spring but it’s important your excitement for warmer days doesn’t cloud your judgement.  Taking a few extra minutes to know who you are buying from and what recourse you have should something go wrong can help ensure you’re getting what you pay for. And remember, use a credit card when possible. Credit cards provide some protections should you need to dispute the charge. This is made more difficult with money transferring apps, checks, money orders, wire transfers, or cash.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws and Arbitration Program, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

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