All Efren Bojorquez wanted to do was take his dad to the Super Bowl.
Easier said than done. Securing tickets to the big game has become next to impossible, with only a tiny percentage of tickets being sold directly to fans. With such an incredible demand and so few seats available for purchase by the public, the price for tickets has skyrocketed, with a street value at times north of $10,000 per ticket.
Alongside veteran ticket companies like StubHub and TicketNetwork, ticket brokers that appear legitimate have cropped up, making promises they just can’t keep. Now, Bojorquez is embroiled in a lawsuit against one of these operators, and he’s also asked us for a hand in getting a refund.
A few years ago, an enticing new strategy for purchasing tickets emerged, but it was a gamble. It involves buying an option that can be exchanged for the right to buy a face-value Super Bowl ticket if your chosen team makes it to the Super Bowl. If your team doesn’t make the Super Bowl, your option becomes valueless, and you’ve lost your investment. If your team advances to the Super Bowl, you can buy a ticket at a much more reasonable price than you could on the street.
In the fall of 2014, months before last year’s Super Bowl, Bojorquez made the leap, buying options for multiple teams, to the tune of $3,000. He knew the Super Bowl was going to happen in his home state of Arizona, and he wanted the experience of being there with his father.
Bojorquez read about an online travel company called Ludus Tours, which was advertising the speculative purchase arrangement, guaranteeing face value ticket availability for those whose teams made it. He didn’t see any red flags along the way in his dealings with the online company.
“When Forbes magazine writes a feature article about the company, you figure it’s legitimate,” Bojorquez tells us.
The only problem in all of this?
The Thursday before the Super Bowl, Bojorquez received an email from the company saying that the ticket supplier was not going to deliver the tickets.
Bojorquez couldn’t believe it. “Even now, I am sick to my stomach thinking about it,” he tells us. “And I think of all those people who spent money on inflated airfare to Phoenix, with hotel rooms at $800 a night and a four night minimum, and they find out at the last minute that they aren’t getting anything.”
Bojorquez has filed a lawsuit to try to recover the money he spent for his options which were valueless the entire time, because the broker could never deliver the tickets. The entire scheme was an illusion — and an expensive one.
How can you avoid shelling out your hard-earned money only to go home empty handed?
The Better Business Bureau just issued its recommendations to would-be buyers:
Check out the seller/broker. Look them up on bbb.org to see what others have experienced. Check to see if they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. NATB members offer a 200 percent guarantee on tickets that don’t arrive in time for a game, concert or show.
Know the difference between a ticket broker (a legitimate and accredited reseller) and a ticket scalper (an unregulated and unlicensed ticket seller).
Check the ticket broker’s refund policy. Only buy from a ticket reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction.
Always use a credit card so you have some recourse if the tickets are not as promised; do not use cash.
Check out the seats ahead of time. Always ask for section, row and seat number to avoid obstructed-view seats or seats that do not exist. Also, feel free to ask questions to make certain you get all the answers you need to feel comfortable with your ticket purchase.
When the ticket fiasco happened before last year’s Super Bowl, it affected hundreds of football fans. Some reported getting double their money back, in line with NATB guidelines. But some of those customers were reportedly forced to sign agreements that they could not file a lawsuit if they accepted the refund, a questionable tactic at best.
Last year’s experience may have soured football fans to the idea of one day seeing the big game in person. As with other enticing deals, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
And if you’re like me, you’ll be happy to know the commercials are still free.