Beware of sports ticket purchase pitfalls


"There are three seats available for $1,725," said Laurie Terranova.

The Giants still hadn't won the game that sent them to the National League Championships, but Laurie Terranova wasn't waiting for the final out.

"When this game is over, I guarantee you these prices are going to go up," said Terranova.

She was already checking prices for Championship game tickets. She had learned the hard way -- buying tickets to big games like these is a big game in itself.

"It was torture to try to purchase tickets and think that I'm going to a game," said Terranova.

She got burned the last time the Giants made it to the championships. She bought tickets from an online broker, but on game day the broker said, "Sorry, you don't have the tickets after all."

"I lost the opportunity to see a game that I wanted to go to," said Terranova.

"Buying re-sold tickets is always going to involve some kind of risk," Joe Ridout of Consumer Action. He says it is a gamble, online or out on the street.

Street scalpers get big money from desperate fans and yes, it's legal.

"As long as they're not on event grounds themselves, it actually is legal to be selling tickets for greater than face value," said Ridout.

Cities like San Francisco do require a seller's permit, but that's rarely enforced.

"You've still paid cash, probably a lot of money for those tickets, and when you get to the turnstile, there's a good chance you won't get in the game," said San Francisco Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak.

Police say some scalpers are selling stolen tickets that won't get you in the gate. One woman we met took a chance and it paid off; she got into the Giants game. However, one man we met wasn't so lucky. He bought concert tickets on Craigslist and found out they were counterfeit.

Downloaded tickets invite another scam. Con artists print many copies of one ticket and sell them all, so only one buyer gets in.

"You've got to stand up for yourself and make sure what you're getting is really what you're getting," said Terranova.

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