MONROE (KNOE 8 NEWS) - Thousands of people will be heading from Louisiana next week down to Miami for the Super Bowl.
Local travel agencies are swamped with people who want to take advantage of Super Bowl travel packages. That's air fare, hotel and of course the ticket to the big game.
However, the federal government and the Better Business Bureau stressed to Saints fans this week to make sure they are getting what they paid for.
"Our contacts in New Orleans appraised us that a number of people who thought they had legitimate tickets were turned away from their seats, and found that they had fake tickets," Northeast Louisiana Better Business Bureau president, Jo Ann Deal, said of the NFC Championship game Sunday night.
Garrett Hartley's field goal that punched the Saints ticket to Miami is an image imbedded in the minds of the black and gold faithful forever, but some fans who thought they had a ticket to witness that special moment found out that were left out of the game.
Now that the Saints are "bowl bound," business watchdogs in New Orleans and the Department of Transportation are warning fans to beware. Travel agencies are offering up tickets in to the big game in Miami in special package deals. However, what you pay for may not be what you get.
"Travel agencies should certify that the tickets that they are advertising are legitimate, or, if they had contracted with another group, that all the advertising has been verified and that the tickets actually exist," Deal said.
Scammers go as far as posting adds on eBay and Craig's List, offering tickets for dirt cheap, sold to the highest bidder. Many times the bidder is the travel agency, who then sells you those phantom tickets.
"We would encourage all the travel agents to contact the NFL Ticket Master group and make sure the tickets that are advertised in the packages exist," Deal said.
A travel agent must either have the game tickets in hand, or have a written contract to obtain the tickets before the agent can make the offer. If a ticket is offered, but never provided, you may be entitled to a full refund of the entire package price.
"I think the whole idea is to go and root for the Saints and see the game in person rather than get a refund after the fact," Deal said.
Super Bowl tickets usually range from $600 to more than $2000. Buyers are encouraged to verify the serial number on the tickets before they buy.
If you have complaints about a travel agency or other provider offering these fake packages, visit the Air Consumer Protection Division Web site. Click here or call (202) 66-2220.
Click here for more information about Super Bowl scams to watch out for.