Be on the lookout for World Series Lodging Scams
World Series baseball fever has taken hold in St. Louis and Dallas, and fans are scrambling to find places to stay in both cities on game nights. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has found several ads for hotel packages that raise suspicions of scams and warns fans to beware of offers that don’t sound quite right.
Several ads for World Series hotel packages may claim to offer tickets along with the hotel stay to lure fans. Some ads are full of misspellings, which also can be a characteristic of fraudulent ads.
“Sports fans may be anxious to get a hotel room near the ballpark, without weighing the cost or the possibility that the advertised room doesn’t exist,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, BBB president and CEO. “Scammers may lure people by advertising low prices – or they may charge a premium by claiming that the hotel is close to the ballpark when it isn’t. Others may offer tickets with the hotel room, but you have little or no way of verifying whether the tickets are real.”
The BBB advises fans to ask lots of questions and be wary of an offer that requires wiring money. When you send money by wire, it is almost impossible to get it back or to trace the recipient, who may be overseas.
The following are some BBB tips for finding housing for the World Series or other special events:
- Read any ads carefully so you have a good understanding of what is being offered and what the total price will be.
- Ask the sellers where they are located and how they may be contacted after the sale. If the seller is evasive, don’t pursue the offer.
- Ask for the name, address and phone number of the hotel where the room is located, and call the hotel to verify that the room actually exists. Check the hotel’s website or a well-known travel site to be sure that the location is convenient for getting to and from the ballpark.
- Be wary of ads that pile on incentives to make the package look better.
- Use a credit card to make your reservation. A credit card company can assist you with obtaining a refund if the offer turns out to be fraudulent or if there are other problems with the accommodation.
- Do your research. Check the BBB Business Review of hotels by going to www.bbb.org or by calling (903) 581-5704.
- Make sure you get a confirmation number from the business when reserving a room. Also, make sure you know times of check-in and check-out, and clearly understand the type of room you are paying for (smoking or nonsmoking, queen or double beds, regular room or suite, etc.)
- If you have concerns about the quality of a motel or hotel, ask to inspect your room before moving in. You have a better chance of getting satisfaction from staff or management if you have not yet accepted your room. Report any problems to the front desk immediately.