BBB Tip of the Week: counterfeit items

SUNDAY, FEB. 5, 2012

There are good reasons not to buy counterfeit helmets, jerseys and autographed footballs, including this one: Counterfeit items are stolen goods. Fakers are using the name of the team or players you love to rip people off. And counterfeits are almost always cheaply made, which means they won’t last as long as the real thing.

Recently a post on a site focusing on the 2012 French Open commented that a brick-and-mortar sports memorabilia store in that person’s town had bootleg NFL and Major League Baseball jerseys for sale. But the framed jerseys weren’t even completed – if you bought one and took it out of the frame, you’d find yourself with only the front half of a jersey. If this happened to you with a legitimate business, you could always complain to the BBB and we would try to get it resolved for you.

You could have an even bigger problem if you buy fake sports memorabilia online. Several BBBs around the country have reported websites that don’t have any merchandise to sell you – they just want your credit card number and personal information in order to steal your identity or drain your bank account.

 Tickets for the big game, which can cost thousands of dollars, can be an even bigger rip-off. This year, thousands of Super Bowl tickets were available on Craigslist. Remember that the site offers no guarantees and does not require identification of its listers. Unfortunately, it has gotten easier and easier for scammers to make fake tickets that look real. (Sites such as Stub Hub guarantee your tickets’ authenticity. Ticketmaster handles ticket exchanges for the NFL.)

In general, avoid scams by being cautious about:

• Offers that sound too good to be true

• Pushy sales tactics

• Poor quality of merchandise

• Offers that require wire transfer of funds

And always check out businesses at

Call (509)455-4200 or (800) 356-1007. Or sign up to receive our Scam Alerts at

Holly Doering, BBB editor


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